Liberty Hall Video to close, shift rentals to new model; candy store to take over the space

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Unable to rewind to a pre-streaming era, Liberty Hall Video is embracing the future. On Sunday, the store will close the physical space that currently houses its hundreds of DVD cases. The space at the corner of Seventh and Massachusetts streets will be taken over by a new candy store.

Liberty Hall Video is the last video rental store in Lawrence. Though it is changing the way its store operates, it will still rent movies. 

“The video store is just a room full of cases,” said Kalie McAlexander, Liberty Hall’s marketing manager. “We’ll put all of that in our basement, but the actual movies are often … in the (Liberty Hall) box office, so they’ll stay where they are. It will really function pretty much the same, except the way you find movies will be different.”

Liberty Hall Video opened in 1986 and has been renting videos from the storefront for 37 years. 

“We’ve seen countless first dates and family movie night preparations, made thousands of recommendations, and have loved every second of it,” a Facebook announcement about the store’s closing reads. 

Beginning Tuesday, June 27, patrons can go to the video library window next to the box office to rent a movie. In time, the store’s inventory will also be available online, so people can pick titles from home, reserve them online, and fetch them from the theater box office. 

Molly Adams / Lawrence Times

“Friendly film nerds will be waiting at the window, same as always, to recommend things, help you come up with a watchlist, or simply let you peruse our inventory in peace,” according to the announcement. 

The new tenant for the corner store will be a candy shop called Squishingtons, operated by Rachel and Jhami Guffey, who have leased the space. 

“We are honored to be the next stewards of the space,” Jhami said. “We were originally going to open the candy store on 6 E. Seventh, but when the owner offered us the Liberty video space, we knew we had to do it.” 

Molly Adams / Lawrence Times

Instead, the Guffeys recently moved Jungle House, their plant shop, to 6 E. Seventh St. from East Lawrence. They expect to open the candy store this fall. 

Sunday is the last day to browse and hold the physical video cases at Liberty Hall. But McAlexander and Jon Fitzgerald, the store’s manager, will still be available to recommend offbeat movies, McAlexander said. 

“We’re still going to be here every day talking to people about movies,” she said. 

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Note: A misspelled name has been corrected in this post.

Chansi Long (she/her) reported for The Lawrence Times from July 2022 through August 2023. Read more of her work for the Times here.

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