Redondo Beach video store that outlived Blockbuster to close after 25 year.
Soo Han hurriedly processed transactions behind a turquoise-and-white Formica board counter top, single-handedly working down a long line of customers carrying stacks of DVDs.
The patrons weren’t impatient, passing the time chit-chatting, reading a marquee above them with the week’s new video releases and tapping their toes to The Smashing Pumpkins’ “1979” playing over the speaker system.
You’d think it was a scene out of the late 1990s.
“I see you’ve been a customer since 1995,” Han told a woman, after punching in her phone number.
“Yes, but I haven’t been in for a while,” she replied, walking around the counter through a gate to pick up her movies on the other side.
The rentals are due in five days, but after July 25, there will be no more, Han explained, as a look of sadness — and perhaps a twinge of guilt — crossed the woman’s face.
Just over a week ago, a yellow banner went up outside breaking the news to Redondo Beach residents: Premiere Video, one of the last video stores in the South Bay, is closing after 25 years on the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Knob Hill Avenue — a casualty to digital streaming, a new urgent care facility and overdue retirement.
Han and her husband, Ki “Peter” Han, will host a 6 p.m. goodbye party Aug. 2 before closing up one last time to thank the many seniors, film buffs, and nostalgic patrons who helped Premiere outlive even the monster competitors of its heyday.
“People are very sad,” Peter Han said, noting that he has watched customers grow up over the years, including teens who used to come in for VHS tapes and now bring in their kids for Blu-ray discs. “The high school guys are 40 now.”
The Hans will clear out to make room for a new Providence Health & Services urgent care facility, which will be operated by Exer.
Construction is expected to begin in October in order for the facility to open by the end of the year, spokeswoman Patricia Aidem confirmed. It will be conveniently close to a future Kensington assisted-living facility that will be built across the street.
The Hans said they have known about the plans for about two years, and, with business down and rents climbing, they simply decided to retire. Peter Han is 75; Soo is 67. Their daughter also had wanted them to slow down.
When the Hans opened Premiere Video in 1991, they paid an interior designer $30,000 to give the store the most “in” look of the era, complete with pink-and-turquoise accent colors and glass panels with bright, squiggly shapes (think “Saved by the Bell”). They never changed it.