This is a melancholy anniversary. This is six years since my last day with TLA Video as they decided to start phasing out the physical brick and mortar stores that I was so proud of and worked so hard to keep relevant and powerful (and succeeded for many years). This marked the end of 27 years in the home video industry that is such a proud time and memory for me.
At the time, it was a sad moment, but because of that break in activity, I decided to finally take the time to get my knees replaced. It was that decision that led to x-rays that showed my interstitial lung disease. In a perverse way, TLA closing the stores led to the diagnosis of a condition and the cancer that followed that might have killed me if left undiscovered.
From a small store in Ardrmore (Video Wonderland) across the street from 23 East Cabaret, the mecca of great Philly music, I wound up accomplishing a hell of a lot in an exciting industry. Through Movie World, Borders, West Coast Video and finally TLA Video, I met plenty of stars, discovered so many great films including wonderful indie films, and learned so much from my fellow employees and the best video retailers spread across the country.
I was proud to serve on two national boards of video retailers (Video Software Dealers Association and Independent Dealers of Entertainment Association) with the heads of Hollywood studios, other big chains like Blockbuster, Amazon, and Netflix, and to help spearhead the creation of a national trade group focused specifically on the needs of independent video retailers.
I was most proud to see salespeople and others that I started out with and was friends with from 1983 on rise to become heads of studios, distributors, and influential top executives in the future of entertainment. I declined job offers with some distributors and labels because I strongly felt I had made a commitment to my then current employers to continue what they hired me to do. I felt moving on was abandoning my promise to them. I did begin a writing phase in my career and spent a few years authoring a children’s video column for an industry trade publication called Video Insider.
I had a great 27 years and to forget humility for a moment, I did a fucking great job alongside of many fucking great people. When I was hired by TLA in 2001, I felt like my mission then was to possibly close a store. A wonderful store that just needed someone new to care about the store and the staff. It thrived for 8 more years, thanks to the support for my ideas from a couple of people at the main office. It became a renewed and important part of TLA Video partially because of me but mainly because of a great staff there.
So it is six years and I miss the ability to go to work and deal with issues and talk with co-workers and be part of a team and to accomplish and to learn from failing to accomplish and to bitch about going to work.
But six years out, I am still here with a ton of new friends and still many from the past, though some drifted away once I wasn’t relevant to their needs.
Plus, besides a ton of new friends who share common interests, I’ve also been able to renew my passion for the singular music of Philadelphia as well as find new filmmakers making exciting films.
Still fighting to survive and thrive. Still working to remain relevant, one person at a time.
A melancholy anniversary, most definitely, but one that forced me to find that new way of life that has brought me many joys.
Fading away is not an option for me.
Thanks to all of you forever.
Now back to my usual social media frivolity.