Featured News, Siskiyou, South County

After 18 Years, One of the Last of the Independent Movie Rentals is Closing its Door.

By Shareen Strauss

SNN Correspondent

Couch Critics, which advertises on the front of its building at 316 Chestnut in Mount Shasta, "movies and games 'critical til the end,'" will be closing down for good at the end of the month.

Frances Bortalin and Jerry Neilson hug Couch Critics owner James Cannon. The movie rental store will be closing its doors at the end of the month after 18 years.

They are now selling everything at the same prices it was to rent DVD's, Blue Ray's, comic books, LP's, or VHS videos.

The owner of the business, James Cannon, said that in the last 5 or 6 years the store has been only at 30% rentals. "The change with Blockbusters with no more late charges changed the psyche, pulling the rug out from under us. The last couple years of streaming services put the nail in the coffin for us. People like the nostalgia of our movie rentals, but it is no longer viable."

A lot of elderly, or because of slow internet connections, or nostalgic people stayed faithful through the years coming to Couch Critics.

"There are no algorithms, or big brother. People tell us what they were going through and we would show them helpful things to watch. Cinema therapy," says Cannon, who already does a lot of community services and side jobs like mowing lawns, making dump runs for people, and helping cook tacos for Handsome John's Speakeasy which is an eatery that shares the building with Couch Critics.

Now at 48, Cannon's first job was a clerk at a video store in 1994. He has always had a couple employees like Elijah Sullivan who Cannon calls "the heart and soul" at Couch Critics. They met while both working at a video store called Debut where Cannon bribed Sullivan into coming with him when he opened Couch Critics.

James Cannon would give movie credit to other merchants for trade, let people pay later or pay with fresh eggs or other homemade items in trade for movie rentals. He sponsored students during the skiing season.

James Cannon, owner of Couch Critics, stands with Jerry Neilson whose son was sponsored by the store during the skiing season. Neilson says, "Thank you James for making us happy all these years."

He was very involved in the community.

"I encourage people to support local business as much as possible because when it is gone, it's gone forever and that infrastructure will collapse," says Cannon.

Behind the counter at Couch Critics, owner James Cannon with his faithful dog, Crash, announces that he is closing his store permanently at the end of the month.

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