Carlos Martín-Peñasco

“I thought it would last a year.” 2004. Born in Madrid, Patty, the daughter of a publicist, graduated in Journalism and a film lover, kept a money-losing video store in Plaza de Castilla. “It was when Blockbuster stores were beginning to close down and Internet downloads had already begun, but it was my dream since I was little”.

Ten years later, this small and charming short-haired girl is still running a business that in other places is almost extinct. In addition to films, Patty also loves coffee. Last year, she decided to face new challenges and made a reform to open a cafe in the video store. “We are in the Third Wave of Coffee. In Australia, the US and the UK baristas and quality coffee are much more valued. In Madrid there’re only 15 3G cafes. This is all about guaranteeing good raw material and using good machinery, being properly trained and serving freshly ground, slow-brewing coffee with filtered water and fresh milk. “Patty gets the coffee from the Right Side Coffee, a Catalan and a Basque who buy seasonal produce to sell it freshly roasted. Another must here is the Super8, a homemade carrot cake.

Third generation coffee, specializing film and Patty, the soul of Super 8, are the claims of this nice hidden corner in Plaza de Castilla

Like so many other mornings, Inma, a girl in her thirties who works nearby, comes in to have coffee with her friend Max. They catch up with Patty. “We’re going to the corner to gossip,” says Max pointing to a wooden table by the window for us to resume the enquiry. Patty tells me about her loyal and diverse clientele. I notice it when she greets Consuelo, an elderly lady who comes to drop The Draughtsman’s Contract. Consuelo asks if there is some new film, La Isla Mínima, for example. It’s out in two weeks, Patty answers, accompanying her to the shelves to find an alternative. It strikes me that before recommending a movie Patty asks “how are you?”

“There are people who return to the neighborhood after many years and tell me that they used to come here to rent films when they were little, so we’re recovering old customers and also making new ones”. With a catalogue of 7,500 titles, Super8 specializes in arthouse and independent films but also has successful commercial ones like Transformers. “Every time I say I run a video store I have to give more explanations than the Pope. It could have been civil engineer or a windmill technician, but this is what it is. Now say I run a cafe,” says Patty shrugging her shoulders and smiling.

“It’s an almost heroic act, but when you love something, you fight for it. I resist, although I know there won’t be more video stores in Madrid. At least, I want mine to be the last one.”