The end of an era: Civic Video closing the doors

The end: Civic Video owner Dave Gianotti said he wanted to thank you the community for all of their support over the last 30 years. Photo: Emily Sharp.
The end: Civic Video owner Dave Gianotti said he wanted to thank you the community for all of their support over the last 30 years. Photo: Emily Sharp.

The once-cherished pastime of heading down to the video store to grab movies and snacks will soon be a thing of the past, with Bunbury’s last store – Civic Video - announcing yesterday it is closing down.   

For the past 30 years, the South Bunbury store has provided entertainment, joy and mouth-watering confectionery to the Bunbury community. 

Owner Dave Gianotti said it had not been an easy decision but the economics and rise of streaming services including Netflix and Stan had disrupted the industry beyond repair. 

“It took me over a month-and-a-half to make the decision, more than half my life has been involved in this store,” he said. 

“The technological leap is a disruptive one, so it’s something where bricks and mortar places don’t exist, it’s a digital setting now. 

“The damage that has been done is irreversible, I think by June this year there will only be three or four stores left in Australia.”

Mr Gianotti built the business from scratch with his brother Michael, earning the store the number one spot in Australia for more than 20 years. He set up stores in Mandurah and at Bunbury’s Park Centre.    

“It was very much a whirlwind, you get caught up in what you’re doing, I used to love getting up for work because it was such a vibrant magnificent industry,” he said. 

“The industry in its hay-day was fascinating – it was dynamic, to survive, it had to evolve over time, as it progressed from VHS, to DVD, to Blueray.

“The movie companies did a lot of advertising, a lot of promotions, they had a lot of functions, which gave you an insight into Hollywood as to how it operated.

"That glitz and glamour of Hollywood that existed in the 80s, 90s, 00s, that’s all gone by the wayside."

Mr Gianotti said he thought there would be a lot of mixed emotions next Friday when he closes the doors for the last time. 

“Even when we first made the announcement, the number of people that have actually come in, who have been customers for many years – it’s mixed emotions,” he said. 

“I’m sad that we’ve had to make the decision in the end and I know for a lot of people it will be sad and a little bit of heartache for some. 

“I had one customer who pleaded with me to keep the doors open."

Looking back, Mr Gianotti said he had seen many regular customers grow up before his eyes. 

“We used to have a kid named Johnny and his mum Kathy used to bring him in when he was three years old and he used to sit on the counter and check out his own movies – he’s in his thirties now,” he said. 

“It was also a fantastic meeting place for people, they would come in and see someone they knew and would be there for 20 minutes having a conversation.

“Bonding with the family – you jump in the car, head down, make a few selections of movies, grab your snacks and head off home to be entertained.”

“For families it was one of those odd occasions where everyone could get together and enjoy.”

Mr Gianotti said he was not sure what was next after devoting so much of his life to the store but was looking forward to getting through the sale and taking time out. 

“It’s the case of unburdening myself from what I’m doing so there will probably be a liberating element to that,” he said. 

“I’ve never planned things in life, so we’ll see. 

“To the people of Bunbury throughout the generations who have really embraced what we tried to achieve here and became part of it I’ve got to sincerely thank you.

“If you want to grab a little piece of memorabilia that was part of your life, we’ll be here until January 18, pop in and say hello, goodbye, it will be much appreciated but thank you to everybody for a fantastic journey.”

The closing down sale starts tomorrow at 9am.