BOARDMAN, Ohio (WYTV) – As video streaming services like Netflix and Hulu continue to grow in popularity, it is hard to see the traditional video rental store thriving in the digital age. Stores like Blockbuster and Hollywood Video failed to remain relevant in the changing industry, shutting their doors years ago.
But one video rental chain continues to expand, with almost 800 stores across the country and Canada.
WYTV wanted to know what was drawing customers to the store and keeping them from just turning to streaming services.
Customers at the Family Video store in Boardman all said the same thing — selection is key.
Family Video customer Lucretia Bleahu said she watches Netflix, but she also recognizes that there are advantages to traditional video stores.
“On the weekends with my kids, I get movies that we can’t find on Netflix. Like um, I got ‘The Parent Trap,’ the original one, which is so awesome,” she said.
Delphine Dawson said there is a wide variety of videos, and she lives nearby the store.
“Unfortunately, I am not computer savvy. I don’t have computer instruments and things at home, so this is just an another alternative to see the latest movies,” she said.
Corey Hile, a local Family Video manager, said his customers aren’t restricted to one generation. He said people of all ages come into the stores.
“People love hard copies, and we have movies that you can get for five nights that are much cheaper than you can get digitally,” he said.
Franchise management said they use low prices and forgiving late-return policies to build a loyal base of customers who live within three miles of a store.
In the early 1980s, the company began buying old gas stations and turning them into video stores.
Hile said not owning the stores is one of the ways the other chains went wrong.
“After the first five years we’re making money off of all of our businesses we’re no longer paying rent or anything like that,” he said.
As streaming services gain access to more titles, it will put more pressure on video rental and brick and mortar stores. Until that happens, Hile said Family Video customers are staying loyal.
The Boardman store has more than 1,000 members. And even though some customers have streaming services, they still continue to come.