Portland's Movie Madness will take you back in time. The walls are lined with movie memorabilia — everything from the actual dress Julie Andrews wore to sing "Do-Re-Mi" in "The Sound of Music" to the knife from "Scream" and the soap from "Fight Club." The labyrinth of aisles arranges some 84,000 films by countries, directors, actors, and genres, which get as specific as Rampaging Teenagers, Childhood Icons Gone Terribly Wrong, and Problems with Rodents.
Owner Mike Clark started Movie Madness in 1991 with 2,000 VHS tapes, after working in the industry himself in Hollywood. He grew the store year after year until 2010, when he says he grossed more than $1 million, thanks in part to the closing of his biggest competition: Blockbuster and Hollywood Video. Along the way, he became a regular at major memorabilia auctions, building a small museum-worth of items.
"When I first opened up on April 12, 1991," he recalls, "there were 50 video stores within a 5-mile radius."
Now, Clark knows of just one. He says Movie Madness itself is breaking even, although its business is half what it was at the peak.