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Spokane restaurant Ruins finds creative way to stay afloat during pandemic

All businesses have adapted to the pandemic differently. Instead of fast-forwarding through a difficult time, Ruins chose to rewind.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Ruins Restaurant and Bar is known for its burritos but now the restaurant owner is trying new things to stay afloat in the pandemic.

The shop doesn't just sell burritos anymore. People can now buy vintage clothes and rent out VHS tapes. The owner says the idea was born out of his nostalgia for video stores.

"I have a particular affinity for old, weird horror, sci-fi movies," co-owner Jon Brown said. "I just love those things. I miss going to the video store. They just don't make them like they used to."

He's right. Most video stores are gone. One of the most popular video store chains, Blockbuster, shut down in 2010. Now, people can only relive the experience at an Airbnb of the famous chain in Bend, Ore.

"We were just trying to figure out what to do in here without being able to have customers," Brown said. They settled on adding something a little extra. Brown said it gives customers a little something extra for people to look around while they wait for their food.

It is $3.00 for the a video rental and customers can get two for $5.00 and three for $7.00. If customers don't have a VHS player anyone, they can also rent one from the restaurant.

Though there are not many takers for video rentals, Brown said the vintage shop has actually done pretty well.

"We are just trying to have fun with it," Brown said. "It's just a good environment to work in, too. I'm not even going to say it's not profitable because if we make $10.00 it's profitable."

Brown said he's ready to keep the new ventures going until the restaurant makes it through the pandemic. At the moment, under Phase 3, indoor spaces, such as restaurants and movie theaters, can have 50% occupancy.

Ruins Restaurant and Bar is located near the courthouse at 825 N. Monroe St. in Spokane.

RELATED: 'Amazing reaction': Spokane community supports Ruins, Lucky You Lounge after emotional posts