2010-01-14 / News

Local business owner donates 4,000 DVDs to library

By Erin Tiernan

Jamestown Philomenian Library Director Judy Bell was “delighted” to receive a donation of approximately 4,000 DVDs recently from Jamestown Wine & Spirits owner Ilesh Patel. Patel made the donation after deciding to close his other business, Video Showcase. Photo by Jeff McDonough Jamestown Philomenian Library Director Judy Bell was “delighted” to receive a donation of approximately 4,000 DVDs recently from Jamestown Wine & Spirits owner Ilesh Patel. Patel made the donation after deciding to close his other business, Video Showcase. Photo by Jeff McDonough The Jamestown Philomenian Library’s DVD and video collection just got a whole lot bigger, thanks to a donation from island business owner Ilesh Patel.

Jamestown Wine and Spirits, which took over Video Showcase, is giving its collection of DVDs to the library.

When Video Showcase, the island’s only movie rental store, closed its doors this month, Patel decided to donate his DVD inventory to the library.

“I wanted to donate to the community library because this community gives me business, so I want to give back,” he said. “We appreciate the business to the liquor store.”

Patel, who also owns Jamestown Wine & Spirits – which is adjacent to the video store – bought the business in 2008. He said he knew it was only a matter of time before decreasing revenues would force him to close the video store.

Competition from online and delivery movie services like Netflix and Cox on Demand has meant declining numbers of customers who frequent local video stores, he said.

But Patel also explained the high costs associated with running a movie rental business.

Every week, he said, he needed to buy newly released movies in order to stay up to date with the current flicks. The previous owner had had trouble covering rent, utilities and other expenses, and Patel said he knew it would only be a matter of time before he was forced to close Video Showcase forever.

Initially, the decision to purchase the video store made sense to Patel because he thought it would keep traffic coming into the plaza that also houses his liquor store.

This past summer, Patel donated about 5,000 VHS videotapes to the library and this week, he donated the rest of his video inventory, roughly 4,000 more DVDs – a combined donation that Patel estimates to be equal to about $20,000.

Although the donation far exceeds the space that the library has available for movies, Library Director Judy Bell has it all planned out.

Before Patel’s donation, the library collection included approximately 1,200 VHS and DVD movies, she said, adding that the library will buy a new case to hold an additional 450 movies in the library. As for the rest of the movies, some will be offered to other area libraries, she said, and the rest will be sold, with the money raised used for library necessities.

“We are delighted at his generosity and we will absolutely make use of them,” Bell said.

As for the new extra space in his building, Patel, a Jamestown resident who lives on Southwest Avenue with his wife and three children, said he plans to expand the liquor store and make it more convenient for patrons.

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