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Madison institution is asking for help from the community to stay in business.

Four Star Video Heaven
has been renting movies downtown for decades. The store's current owner wants
to move on, and now five employees have banded together to try to buy the

The group has started
an IndieGoGo campaign to raise $50,000 by the end of April, when
the lease on the State Street building must be renegotiated.

For employees familiar
with movies, they realize their plight could be the plot of a film itself.

"'Empire Records'
is almost the exact situation we're in," said Lewis Peterson, one of the
five trying to buy the business. "Doom is coming down from the sky, and
you have to get some amount of money somehow."

The store boasts more
than 23,000 DVD titles of everything from hits to obscure foreign films, and
that's why employees say they're committed to keeping the doors open.

"Basically the
same reason that we work here," said Andy Fox, an employee at the store
for two years. "As customers we kind of fell in love with the place and
the amazing collection of films that you just can't find anywhere else."

The group says the
store is profitable for that reason, despite popular video streaming services.
Customers seem to agree.

"I like to have a
brick and mortar store, a place I can come actually pick up the cases and look
at them," said Jessie Hanz, who was shopping for movies Saturday.
"You can't do that online."

If the money isn't
raised, the DVD collection will likely be liquidated. But don't count out a
Hollywood ending.

"It's looking
like we will probably be able to do it," Fox said. "We're just trying
to gather as much support as possible so we can keep this place open."

Employees raise money to buy popular video store Sunday, March 23 2014, 05:19 PM CDT

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