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The Over 30 Club

TapeLenders

T

apeLenders motto could now be, “Everything but tapes.” Do you even know what a tape is? It’s how we used to watch movies before DVD and streaming. But the name has persisted, even if the formats have evolved. The oldest retail establishment on Cedar Springs, TapeLenders opened in 1982. Ricky Stillwell helped his partner, Steve Freeman, open it, specializing in renting Beta tapes. Dallas was one of two markets — the other was Kansas City — where Beta was the dominant video format. After Ricky died in 1983, Steve and Dave Richardson began dating, and Dave began working full-time at the store. When more people began asking for VHS format, TapeLenders ran out of room stocking both formats, so when VVV Records — the last store with straight ownership in the ’80s — closed, Dave and Steve knocked down a wall and doubled the store’s space — as well as its business. In 1989, the store was damaged by the fire that also destroyed the DGLA office and the Round-Up Saloon, but they cleaned up and reopened within days. The store was so well loved that customers, who stopped by to return tapes, stayed and helped clean up the mess. After Steve died in 1992, Dave began dating Todd Seaton and brought him into the business. They moved the store down the street to a larger space previously occupied by the original Half Price Books. In 1995, Steve and Dave opened a TapeLenders in Austin on the University of Texas campus. The next year, they opened OutLines on Cedar Springs Road and, in 2001, Skivvies. In 2009, Dave semi-retired, so he and Todd sold TapeLenders to Chris Lynch and Mark Milburn. Throughout its life, the store has been innovative; today, while it still carries movies (mostly of the adult variety), it also specializes in leather, gifts and magazines. After Union Jack closed earlier this year, Chris and Mark picked up the Andrew Christian line of underwear (one of Union Jack’s most profitable brands), and the addition has already been a hit. Because there are no longer any tapes to be found at TapeLenders, Chris and Mark discussed changing the name. But TapeLenders has become iconic, so they decided to keep the name of the 30year-old store, even if some of the customers who come in wonder, “What’s a tape?” Maybe if they wanted to keep with the theme, they could add a line of tapes — you know, more of the duct, Scotch and masking sort of products. — David Taffet

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