MC Film has been a gay Tampa landmark for nearly 25 years. Since opening near the University of Tampa back in 1989, and surviving two moves, first to St. Petersburg’s Suncoast Resort United States…
Small Business Spotlight: MC Film
by: Mike Halterman
MC Film has been a gay Tampa landmark for nearly 25 years. Since opening near the University of Tampa back in 1989, and surviving two moves, first to St. Petersburg’s Suncoast Resort and then to its current location on the corner of 8th and 15th in Ybor City’s GaYBOR District, owners Mark Bias and Carrie West have ensured that the store only grows even more fabulous with each new incarnation. So fabulous, in fact, that I was informed that MC Film is the biggest pride apparel store in the United States.
Mark and Carrie moved their shop to Ybor City in July 2007 and became community leaders when they started the GaYBOR Coalition. The Coalition is made up of gay-friendly businesses, mostly in Ybor City, and MC Film has earned its reputation as its “de facto” capital.
When you enter the shop, you will notice colorful merchandise everywhere. MC Film sells items that make it unique not just in Ybor City but in the whole of Tampa as well. Among the things you can pick up are rainbow pride trees for your house or desk, rainbow flags, stickers, and pins, as well as various brands of underwear and swimwear such as Joe Snyder, Unico, Go SoftWear and Andrew Christian. Recently MC Film has stocked “Love Conquers Hate” T-shirts from the Human Rights Campaign, in addition to other pro-LGBT and pro-equality clothing. Finally, since Mark and Carrie are pet lovers and Ybor City is very pet-friendly, they sell various pet gifts ranging from leashes for your dog to pet-lover memorabilia for your home. Of course this is all in addition to convenience store products like aspirin, soft drinks, snacks and cigarettes.
Well-known for their extensive stock of LGBT-themed and cult favorite videos, including adult videos, MC Film is now in the process of selling their entire collection. Slowly but surely they are going, but you can still buy some of your favorite titles while they last for $4.99 each.
I got to talk to Mark for a short time about the direction MC Film is taking.
Why are you selling off your video collection?
We’re keeping up with the times. We started out with VHS, and then we moved to DVD, and now everything is all online, so we’re just selling the stock to keep up with the times today.
What kinds of new products should people expect to see in the store soon?
We have new fashions coming in, new LGBT artwork, and very creative LGBT jewelry. The new fashions are going to be coming in from the Las Vegas Trade Show and we already have some samples in the store right now. The artwork and the jewelry comes to us from various LGBT artists across America.
What is your favorite item that you sell, and why?
I really like the leather harnesses, because the harnesses are part of the clothing for a niche that needs to be filled in the LGBT community right now.