About Us

Scarecrow Video is one of the largest independent video stores in the country, located at 5030 Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105. It is open Sunday-Thursday from 11am-10pm and Friday-Saturday from 11am-11pm. They can be reached at (206) 524-8554 or at scarecrow@scarecrow.com.

The story of Scarecrow Video starts in 1983 when Rebecca and George Latsios moved from Allentown, PA. to Seattle, WA. George always had a fondness for movies and played with the idea of starting his own video store. Try as they might, the lack of capital made the initial creation of a store impossible.

In 1986, George rented out about 200 of his own personal tapes in the back of Backtrack Records and Video. In 1988, while working as a general manager for Kamon of Lake Union Restaurant, George became frustrated with making money for other people — so he quit. He convinced Rebecca that the time was right to open a video store of their own, and on December 8, 1988 (promptly at noon) Scarecrow Video was born. Containing a huge inventory of 600 titles, the Latona store was but a ripple in the lake that would become Scarecrow. Five customers signed up that day (four of whom we’re pleased to still have with us), and the store’s first $36 was made.

Rebecca continued to work two jobs to help fund George’s project and spent her free time building the shelves for the new store. By 1990, the store had continued to morph, adding computer kiosks to help customers find videos, all the while increasing the number of titles available. Scarecrow even created a store for the sole purpose of renting Laserdiscs, and while Scarecrow Laser was closed down in 1995, it was an indication of Scarecrow’s desire to keep growing in new directions of cinema.

In 1992, Scarecrow encountered the first of what would become a recurring theme for the store: It ran out of space. They rented the adjoining retail space, and Scarecrow nearly doubled in size from 1,000 to 1,900 square feet. At this time, the first PAL tapes entered the store — letting people see things from far-away places or movies that were simply never released in the U.S.

It only took a year before that space just wasn’t enough. On November 19, 1993, Scarecrow moved down the street to its current location at 5030 Roosevelt Way. With 8,600 square feet, there was plenty of room for the 18,000 titles that came along. There was enough space that in 1995 Scarecrow opened the Sanctuary Cinema on the second floor; with only 18 seats it was one of Seattle’s smaller movie houses, but it had a loyal following (besides, how cool was it to have a theater inside a video store!).

In 1997, Scarecrow become one of the first video stores in Seattle to add a major DVD section. However, in this rosy world of Scarecrow, bad things were catching up with the store. George loved movies, but he was the first to admit that he was a movie guy, not a businessman. In a series of bad news events (that are too much of a bummer to put here), the foundation of Scarecrow began to crack.

In 1998, Carl Tostevin and John Dauphiny found out about Scarecrow’s problems. Being movie lovers themselves, they couldn’t bear the thought of the Seattle institution closing down. There were many long conversations with the Latsioses and employees about Scarecrow’s mission, and in the end Scarecrow changed hands and the next chapter began. While the ownership changed, the fundamental mission has remained the same. Tragically, George has since passed away, but the mission he and Rebecca set forth lives on.

Over the next ten years, Scarecrow grew and grew. DVD and Blu-ray became the norm, and nearly 200,000 films are now housed in these walls. Space continues to be an issue — the sheer volume of movies pushes the store into new shapes – and the Sanctuary Cinema closed in 1998, though if you look carefully you will find pieces of it in some of the rooms. John has since left the company, but Carl, his wife Mickey, and the staff continue to pursue Scarecrow’s mission – uniting people with film.

The internet, video-on-demand, and high-definition formats have changed the landscape, offering greater access to all forms of entertainment. Our focus is to complement those changes in ways only we can by providing access to not only what is available from mainstream sources, but to rare, out-of-print, foreign and independent films, many available nowhere else. We bring film talent and experiences for the community to share, often in partnership with local organizations and filmmakers. In short, we continue to work with you, our customers, to bring local, independent access to the richest array of film possible, and we thank you for joining us on that continuing journey.

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