South Broad Street’s hybrid cafe/movie rental store is calling it fin after nearly five years in business. Cinemug, which opened near Broad and Tasker in early 2015, had its last day on Sunday.
Owner Dan Creskoff launched the business as a space to bring Philly’s film lovers together — and provide a coffee stop for the neighborhood. “We definitely tried to be there for the community as much as we could,” he told Billy Penn. “That will be the saddest thing, not seeing those people every day.”
Creskoff said the closure had been a long time coming. Business had slowed as other coffee shops proliferated in the area. He announced the shutdown in a Facebook post this week.
“The friends we’ve made and the memories of all the amazing events we’ve had will always be treasured,” his post reads, in part. “You have truly made this not just a place to work, but a community space that brought people and ideas together.”
Opening a movie rental spot in the age of Netflix wasn’t just about making money for Creskoff — a good thing, since both DVD rentals and sales have declined by over 80% in the last decade as digital subscriptions boom.
A Temple grad who previously managed a few outposts of the now-disappeared TLA Video, Creskoff intended Cinemug to be a space for conversation about movies and moviemaking, the way people used to wander into video stores just to chat and browse the titles with fellow cinephiles.
There was ReAnimator coffee and Dottie’s Donuts on offer, but the film collection was the central component. The rental selection — over 1,600 titles when it first opened — leaned toward arthouse, horror, cult and foreign films, plus new releases from a span of genres.
Cinemug was also a good evening outpost. When it opened in 2015, the cafe stayed open regularly until 9 p.m. on the weekends — an increasingly rare option for late-ish night coffee drinkers in Philadelphia. The cafe eventually scaled back its closing time to 6 p.m., according to Facebook.
That is, unless the South Broad storefront was hosting live music or one of its semi-regular BYOB movie screenings. Creskoff would advertise the movie of the week on social media accounts, and there were plenty of regulars at the 8 p.m. showings.
Comments left on Cinemug’s closing post on Facebook came from dozens who were saddened by the loss of the neighborhood hub.
“Thanks for running an easy, tasty, and fun place in our neighborhood. I hope you can wind the shop down with minimal fuss, and move on to whatever’s next,” one commenter wrote.
“Cinemug was where my life restarted and will be forever grateful for all the wonderful people I met there,” wrote another.
Packing up the shop has been bittersweet, Creskoff said. He may sell off some of the film inventory, but he’s holding onto the bulk of it — as he isn’t ruling out recreating the concept somewhere else down the line.