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Austin-Based Vulcan Video Uses Crowdfunding in a Last-Ditch Attempt at Survival

Established in 1986, Vulcan Video in Austin, Texas, is a video store mainstay and a nostalgic destination. But now, it’s struggling under the weight of a location change and cultural changes to boot.

The famous video store and local icon has launched a GoFundMe campaign to help staff make it through the current lease–and, just maybe, to allow the store to survive long-term. Read on to learn more about Vulcan Video’s financial struggles and the reasons behind its new crowdfunding campaign.

Vulcan Video’s Legacy

Austin’s city motto is “Keep Austin Weird,” and Vulcan Video is a local legend that holds true to that motto. Since the ‘80s, the famous video rental store has attracted artists and indie movie lovers.

There’s a large collection of sci-fi and cult films at the store, and it’s a favorite among area arts lovers. The store is a quintessential example of what has always made Austin so great and creative–but now, it’s changing, much like the rest of the city.

The Austin Icon’s Financial Struggles

Several factors have contributed to Vulcan Video’s current economic decline. Austin’s overall gentrification certainly contributes, as the city’s population surges and there’s an influx of new businesses that push rent prices up.

In 2016, Vulcan Video moved from Congress on Elizabeth Street to South Austin’s Russell Drive. Since then, the store has struggled, pulling in just hundreds of dollars per day (or less) instead of the prior average of hundreds of thousands per week.

Over 75% of the previous customers have been lost due to the necessary relocation, meaning that the store is struggling to drum up new business and retain prior fans as well.

The GoFundMe Campaign

Vulcan Video’s crowdfunding campaign is aimed at paying staff, restocking lost inventory, and most importantly, getting the store through the next 15 months of its lease.

The GoFundMe campaign has set a goal of $35,000, and it raised almost $5,000 in just 18 hours. After 24 hours, over $12,500 had been raised to put towards the store’s future.

Vulcan Video staff also hope that the campaign will revive interest in the store and draw attention once again to the nostalgic local destination.

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