Moving pictures 

Relax, Missoula movie fans—Crystal Video is still in business, but they’ve moved three doors down on Higgins into the space formerly occupied by Biotope Research (also still in business in a brand-new space on South Ave.). Former Crystal owner Anita Maddux survived a bout with cancer this year, and the ordeal left her emotionally as well as financially exhausted.

“We were struggling to pay the rent as it was already,” Maddux says. “I was in this place where I didn’t know what to do. I felt all these opposing forces—people I owed money to, the community wanted it to stay in business, the banker was just telling me to close it and sell it off. So that’s when I went to Alaska for a month, where nobody could serve me papers, to think about it.”

She hit on the idea of selling the business—for one dollar—to part-time Crystal Video employee Tim Huffman, who in buying the video store would take on some of the debt still owed to the owner who preceded Maddux.

“That way, I figured, [the business] could continue to exist, and most people would be content. Then Tim found a different location that was dramatically cheaper, and that was it.”

“I think it’s good for people to know why the sale happened,” Maddux continues. “Tim and I tried to come up with an arrangement that would keep it in the community. He laid out a bunch of his own money to move the location and I took a huge financial hit. People said Crystal Video was really important to them.”

Apparently: According to an informal survey mounted by new owner Huffman, most of Crystal Video’s rentals are to customers living in “easy biking or walking” range—he figures about a mile radius. Huffman says he’s committed to expanding the selection, replacing lost and damaged titles, and, in his own words:

“I still want the Crystal to be the place that has that one obscure movie you can’t get anywhere else in town.”

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