Meet the Two Dudes Behind the Excellent 'Have you seen...' Movie Rental Store

Paul Pfeiffer and Howard Gibbs didn't know quite what they were getting into when they came up with the idea to open a movie rental store. Their friends said the concept would be an "effort in futility," and yet 8 1/2 years later Have you Seen... remains the best place to find a rental flick in the Patch.
Childhood friends, Pfeiffer and Gibbs attended Trent University and then moved to Toronto. One night, walking back from renting some movies, Pfeiffer wondered what Peterborough had in terms of rental stores and selection. The two both felt that the Patch was the perfect city combining both urban and rural, so they moved back and opened Have you Seen... on George Street.
Four and a half years later, they found themselves running out of room and were finding that parking space was at a premium on George. So they moved to their current location at 321 Aylmer Street North, which offered their own parking and ample room inside.

Both of them agree that Have you Seen... is a great social environment. People come in and just want to talk movies. Many of the other staff members are film buffs as well, which is a huge help when it comes to answering customer questions or making recommendations.

As for the movie rental biz itself right now and how Pfeiffer and Gibbs feel about the current move to online viewing such as iTunes and Netflix (and the talk of Blockbuster filing for bankruptcy), they ultimately don't know how much it will impact their business, but say people are still coming in. They explain that they offer a different selection of movies than the norm and feel that the personal touch they offer—the customer service and film expertise—is what keeps people coming back.

Gibbs thinks that the staff's recommendations will always trump the mathematical algorithms that online stores offer. "Larger box stores such as Tower Records and Sams are gone," he says. "Casual movie viewers go online, but if you are really into movies, you still go to a shop."

"There is still something about the physical aspect of flipping through the cases, picking them up and reading the descriptions that people will always enjoy," adds Pfeiffer.


The amount of titles they carry recently passed 10,000


Who is your favourite director?

Pfeiffer: Fritz Lang. For me, it is all about the cinematography and subject matter.

Gibbs: Andrea Arnold. Fish Tank just came in. And check out Wasp, which won the 2005 Oscar for Best Live Action Short film.

What is your favourite "guilty pleasure" film?

Pfeiffer: Any Don Knotts film, such as The Incredible Mr. Limpet or The Ghost and Mr. Chicken.

Gibbs: Rainbow Bridge, which was billed as a Jimi Hendrix film but is actually about the Rainbow Bridge Rehabilitation Clinic (with a guest appearance with Jimi Hendrix at the end).


Have you Seen...'s Howard Gibbs and Paul Pfeiffer

[Have you Seen... is open 11 to 11, 7 days a week, and can be reached at 750-0770. All films for rent are $5 (tax included). Three movie rentals are $12. To learn more about Have you Seen..., visit their blog and follow them on Twitter.]

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