The Complete History of Acorn Video

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Acorn Video Doddington

It’s been a staple of the Doddington community for over 25 years, and has introduced many Doddington youngsters to the world of movies.
So the Doings took an opportunity to speak with Acorn Video owner Dawn Dack, who talks about the great memories that she and partner Phil have had since setting up the business in August 1987.
Dawn used to own a bakery at Acorn Video’s original location at 26 High Street, close to the newsagent, but had to close the bakery business because “the building needed a lot of work and it was difficult keeping up with the strict hygiene rules”.
A rethink was needed, and one of Doddington’s most loved residents was on hand with an idea that would make village history.
“We were thinking about what we could do as a new business, and Doreen Costall said ‘why not videos?’, so its all down to her,” Dawn recalls.
Acorn Video Doddington 2“The name ‘Acorn Video’ comes from the old saying ‘from little acorns mighty oaks grow’, and after 27 years it seems to be true!”
Dawn remembers many moments from when Acorn Video was in its original location.
“There was the dog who loved to come into the shop so much he decided he would come alone while his owner was out shopping,” she reminisces. “So after jumping a wall crossing the busy road, he sat outside crying until I let him in – and he stayed for 2 hours until I could contact his owners.”
“We also had videos travel to Spain!” Dawn exclaimed. “After being packed in a removal lorry and being unpacked at the other end in Spain, we had a phone call telling us it was on its way back. It duly arrived with the money to cover all lost rental and a postcard from Spain – that’s how lovely our customers are.”
The early days were “very busy”, says Dawn, and people had to book newly released movies and sometimes had to wait up to four days to rent them.
Replacements were sometimes needed for movies too.  One tape “that got so worn it would not play” was Patrick Swayze classic Dirty Dancing, which was “certainly the most rented video” of all-time at Acorn Video, Dawn says.
Acorn Video Doddington 4
In 1994, Acorn Video moved down the road to its current location at 3A High Street (pictured) and another change took place a few years later – VHS videos slowly phased out and shiny new DVDs took their place on the shelves.
“Lots of people hated the change to DVDs, saying ‘oh it will never take off, I’m not buying one of those DVD machines’, but oh how wrong they were!” Dawn said.
Acorn Video Doddington 3A further change was adding video games to the shop, which lasted for about ten years – the growing movie market meant more shelf room was needed.
As expected, there have been many challenges over the years, the biggest being the opening of Blockbuster in March.
“When we started there were four video stores in March, but they all closed with the opening of Blockbuster,” Dawn explained. “We had great customers who stayed with us, so we were able to keep going.”
One of the best things about owning Acorn Video all these years, Dawn says, is seeing the generational change of Doddington residents.
“Being so near the school means the children love to see all the new posters going up for the new films, and lots call in after school to say hello,” she says.
“It’s lovely to see the customers who started coming in as young children with their parents to get a film, then coming in by themselves to rent a ’15’ movie, and then being all grown-up and renting ’18’ films, and now coming back in with their children to get films.”
With competition from the internet, things are “much quieter” these days, Dawn says, and opening times have been reduced to Monday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
She adds: “We have enjoyed many happy years in the shop and many, many great customers as well too.”

For more information about Acorn Video, including contact details, head to the Shops page on this website.

– Tim Lince

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One thought on “The Complete History of Acorn Video

    Scott Forest said:
    June 30, 2014 at 10:16 am

    This is a fantastic! A great article and a great reason to celebrate one of Doddington’s finest little gem’s who has beaten the inevitable and continues to fight despite the pressures.

    There can’t be many video shops left in the world that have survived not only the mass-destruction of Blockbuster Video but also the power of the internet streaming and video on demand services so the owners of Acorn Video deserve every right to hold their heads high and be proud of still being able to open their doors day in, day out, what a fantastic example of beating the system!

    As residents we should also be proud to have such a service, and should celebrate that we have the honour of still being able to appreciate such a dying service to the industry. I mean come on, how many people can honestly say that they have a video shop in their town or village these days? Not many, and of those who do, who has one that doesn’t have to charge the earth just to survive?

    This is just another of those fine examples of what makes Doddington so unique!

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