By Dave Schwab
The former Kensington Video is returning as a hybrid store that’s equal parts film school, library, juiceria and old-style retail rentals with newfangled technology.
Much effort and care has gone into reconstituting the new Vidajuice and Ken Video at 4067 Adams Ave.
“We want to do it [re-opening] right,” said Guy Hanford, who, along with mom and dad Winnie and Rich, now in their 80s, and sister Pam Sisneros, ran a mom-and-pop video store there for nearly 50 years.
“So we’re having a soft opening, probably Saturday, Dec. 12. And in early January, we’ll have our grand re-opening to welcome back all our old customers, and to have new customers come in and see what’s happening and get a preview of coming attractions.”
The new business model can be found in a downsized space with state-of-the-art equipment: a 65-inch diagonal 3-D ultra high-def LED Samsung side TV and a 5000 lumen projector received by a 133-inch diagonal Da-Lite with a Tensioned Contour Electrol 16:9 aspect screen. The sound system is a Sonos bar on the side TV. The sound system for the lounge and projection screen is a 9.1 channel Bowers and Wilkins sound system.
The new Ken Video has a long counter with a juice bar in back and tables.
“There isn’t anything like this in San Diego, the closest thing like it is in Long Beach,” promised Guy whose mom, Winifred “Winnie” Hanford, let him convert a small portion of their existing gift shop for movie rentals to realize his dream of turning his hobby into a profitable business.
Thirty years later, the quartet made a collective decision to retire in March 2015. It lasted all of three months, before Guy announced plans to resurrect the video shop with a new concept.
“That entire wall will be filled with videos with display cases in front organized by different genres, musicals, Winnie’s picks (best of), etc.,” said Guy, adding, “We’ll have iPads on the counters where you’ll be able to search for films by title, country, director, genre, etc.”
Guy intends to invite film directors to come in and speak, as well as host film classes screening students’ films.
Patrons will be able to access Ken Video’s film directory electronically via their smartphones, Guy said, though they’ll still have to physically come in to be checked out.
“Down the road, they may actually be able to check films out electronically and have films shipped out or delivered to them,” Guy said, noting the details to accomplish that still need to be worked out.
“We will start off with a moderate amount of titles, 10,000 to 20,000, and expand to around 60,000-plus titles by March,” Hanford said. “We will do rentals and sales. We will have vintage VHS titles for rent and sale that have never appeared on DVD or Blu-ray.
“It could be everything, it seems limitless what it could be,” Pam Sisneros said of their reincarnated video store’s possibilities.
“We can have parties, this space will be rentable,” Guy said.
Guy and Pam believe now is the time to introduce a new cutting-edge concept for movie viewing.
“I seriously think people will catch on to the fact that what you get online does not satisfy everyone,” Pam said. “That it’s a lot more fun having a smaller version (store) that has a big variety of what people want to see.”
Guy said patrons will come to the new-and-improved video store to get what’s not available elsewhere: personalized service.
“This won’t be a place where you pick it off the shelf, check it out and go,” he said. “We have that personal touch with a passion for films and can make recommendations.”
Guy added his website is also undergoing a makeover. “Once it gets launched in a couple of weeks, it’s going to be the best website in the world,” he boasted.
But the centerpiece of the newly reconstituted Ken Video will be Vidajuice, owned and operated by Guy Hanford’s nephew, Mark Sisneros.
“It’s going to be Hispanic-inspired,” Mark said of his traditional juiceria. “It’s going to do all kinds of juices and agua frescas including horchata, jamaica and pineapple water that Spanish cultures do.”
Vidajuice will provide smoothies and juices along with homemade Mexican agua frescas and tapas. Smoothies will feature bananas, pineapple, kiwi, papaya and berries — all with no sugar added. Healthy, “green” options like spinach, kale, cucumber, carrots, beets and more will be offered.
Guests can try a healthy acai bowl or light tapas like pico de gallo, spicy guacamole or caprese kabobs.
“We don’t want people to come here and be glued to their phones or their laptops or whatever,” he said. “We want people to know who their neighbors are, come and see each other face to face.”
Sisneros wants to educate customer’s palates.
“We want to expose people to different stuff other than your typical American cheeseburgers and fries,” he said. “I want to inspire and open up people’s eyes as to the food and drink available in Spanish culture.”
“That ‘home feel,’ that’s what we’re shooting for here,” Sisneros concluded. “You don’t get that in any of the other restaurants around here. It’s very exciting.”
— Dave Schwab can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.