Frustrated and bored during the pandemic, a Midwestern dad brings his nostalgia for weekend movie rentals to life. Just don’t forget to rewind.

Some planted a garden during the pandemic, others decluttered their closets. Brian Hogan, a father of two in suburban Des Moines, Iowa, built a video store in his basement. It was an act of pure whimsy, undertaken “out of necessity and boredom,” Mr. Hogan said.

Last fall, Mr. Hogan was fairly miserable. He’d had some health problems over the summer. The pandemic all but obliterated business at his barbershop. To top it off, his favorite local video store, Video Warehouse, where he had spent countless hours growing up, announced it was going out of business after 34 years.

It was during this personal rough patch that Mr. Hogan, 38, snapped, in a Midwestern dad sort of way, and came up with a home-improvement project “to keep my sanity,” he said.

“All these stores were closing and I was getting fed up with my own hoarding issue with film and not being able to find things,” he said, referring to his collection of around 5,000 DVDs, 1,500 VHS tapes and 400 Laser discs. They had long been piled on the kitchen counter, in his car, on mismatched media shelving. “You had to try and remember, ‘Where did I see that last?’”


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