In a world dominated by streaming services and digital content, a small oasis exists in the town of Wapato, where physical media still holds its ground. Saint Jack’s Video Store, owned by Adam “Rice” Decker, is a beloved fixture in the Yakima community, offering a nostalgic experience and a treasure trove of movies and games. With its rich history, loyal customer base, and commitment to preserving the magic of movie nights, Saint Jack’s continues to thrive in an era of digital dominance.
Saint Jack’s Early Years of Operation and Adam’s Introduction to DVD Rental Life
The quaint little movie store first opened its doors in December of 1999 at its current location on West 1st Street, but its story began two decades earlier. The previous owner, Jack Galland, purchased the Liberty Theatre from Clyde Dunn on January 1, 1975. Both men had a strong influence in shaping the city’s world of video.
“People still talk and ask about Mr. Dunn to this day,” shared Adam as he told the story of the store’s early roots.
After operating as a traditional theatre for a number of years, it eventually evolved into a video rental store featuring a full-service snack bar and even a little arcade area. “I used to rent movies there myself when I was younger,” reminisces Adam.
Eventually, Jack purchased the current location and renamed the store to what it is now. The better site helped increase business, ensuring it continued to thrive for years to come, even well past Jack’s retirement in December of 2020, after more than 53 years in the movie business. It was also at the new location that Adam transitioned from customer to employee.
“I started working for Jack when I was 17 years old in December of 2005,” tells Adam, who explains that when he began looking for a job, he specifically pursued one at the local Friday night hotspot. “I had asked Jack a couple of different times for a position, seeing how I was a patron since I was a kid and enjoyed the scene.”
Adam’s Transition to Manager with the Retirement of Jack at Saint Jack’s Video
Adam continued to work at Saint Jack’s Video for the remainder of his senior year in high school, through college, then ended up sticking around. “I was originally going to pursue a career in music education, but I could never quite commit to the idea,” admits Adam.
Looking around the store and watching Adam hard at work, there’s no hiding his passion and commitment to his current title as owner of the locally owned business, a ladder he had most certainly worked his way up.
“I became assistant manager, to manager, to eventually many conversations that ended up with me being the owner of the business,” he shares. Jack was ready to retire, and he personally wanted to know if he wanted to know if Adam, or Rice as he had nicknamed him, would continue forward with the business of DVD rentals if the keys were turned over to him.
They talked, and Adam gave the offer a lot of thought, although, in his heart, Adam knew he thought too much of the still-hopping video hotspot to let it go. “At this point, this video store had become a major part of my life – not only that, but I thought of it as a major part of the community,” reflects Adam.
The stores’ repeat regulars would agree, as would the Yakima community who knows Wapato and Saint Jack’s go together.
Adam’s parents, Ed and Debbi Decker, always proudly supported their son’s endeavors no matter what, as did his amazing wife, Breanna Carlson-Decker, to whom he’s been married five years come October. With them in his corner, along with Jack himself, Adam stepped proudly into his new role as owner of Saint Jack’s Video.
Heartwarming Relationships and Great Customer Service are Always Found at Saint Jack’s Video
“It seems almost crazy to me now that I’ve been doing this job for almost 18 years,” shares Adam. “It’s really cool and amazing to grow with these people over the years.”
In that time, he has saw customers come and go, watched their families grow, and found himself in a unique position that allowed him to share these experiences with them as they frequented the store.
Even with those customers who haven’t been in for quite some time, Adam still finds their eyes light up at the sight of him as recognition dawns while delightfully exclaiming, “Hey, I remember you from when I was a kid!”
Adam’s found himself developing close relationships with many of the patrons who have wandered Saint Jack’s aisles, and as life has trudged on, there’s a sadness left by those who can no longer visit.
“Inevitably, someone takes the next step of their journey, and it can be very tough sometimes,” shares a solemn Adam, “I think about and miss many of the people who are now gone. They were – and continue to be – an important part of my life.”
The Continued Success of Saint Jack’s Video in an Era of Instant Streaming
Though these occasional heartaches emerged along the journey, Adam wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world. “I can’t say this enough – we have been very fortunate,” he shares. “If not for our very loyal and faithful customers, we would not be here today.”
There’s no doubt customers’ loyalty has helped the store endure, living long past the age of Blockbuster and defying the odds in an era of instant streaming. Adam attributes most of this to the goodwill Jack built with customers, a critical sentiment passed along to Adam while Jack showed him the ropes. “The great snacks and low prices are also key components too,” Adam adds.
For some customers, however, it’s still all about the nostalgia of it all at Saint Jack’s Video Store.
“It’s not uncommon for people to stop by and marvel at what many would consider a blast from the past,” shares Adam. “People will just come in, walk around, and stare in wondrous awe that this is even a real thing.”
Often these patrons are newcomers who take the scene in surprise, treating the situation as if it’s surreal. “Am I really in one of the last standing video rental stores?” they ask themselves.
Saint Jack’s Video Offers a Nostalgic Movie Rental Experience
Whether you’re a regular or just stepping foot into the store for the first time, the feeling of stepping back in time is always the same. Saint Jack’s Video continues to offer services from the good old days one might expect to make their Friday night movie rental experience complete. After all, what’s a movie marathon without snacks? Especially popcorn!
“Out of all our snacks, we’re probably most known for our movie theatre popcorn, nachos, and ice cream,” says Adam.
There are other snacks, too, such as pickles, hot dogs, and candy bars, and customers swear by the fountain Pepsi saying it’s the best in town. The low movie price rentals also help, bringing more realism to the nostalgia behind the experience.
Two-day rentals on new movies are only $4.49 each, the movies being due back to the store at 1 p.m. the second day. Naturally, tardiness incurs a late fee, as it always has, but early returns come with perks at Saint Jack’s. Movies returned the following day after renting by 1 p.m. will receive a 50-cent credit.
Older movies are only $2.49 to rent, with almost all being week rentals except for a few special small sections. In total, the store currently has nearly 25,000 unique titles on DVD & Blu-Ray to choose from. Video games are also available for rent, most for older gaming systems that further heighten the sense of nostalgia.
Flash sales are also occasionally held in addition to prize drawings, a tradition that Jack started and Adam continued. During these drawings, find giveaways for things like TVs, barbecue grills, game systems, cash, and gift cards. More information is located on the Facebook page.
The culmination of this unforgettable movie rental experience is one unlike any other. The fact that the store has managed to survive the times of streaming has become a testament to what it means to not just Adam but also the community.
“It’s difficult for me to imagine the area without it. Moreover, how often does one see a video store anymore? Almost never,” says Adam. “The movie rental industry may be defunct, but we’re still holding on, and I will continue to do so as long as possible.”
Those looking to experience nostalgia for themselves can visit any day of the week, with the store opening every day at 1 and closing at 9:30 p.m., except for movie nights (Friday and Saturday) when they stay open until 11 p.m.
Saint Jack’s Video
614 W 1st Street, Wapato