Goodbye Blockbuster, hello Northills
It’s a story of David beating Goliath you might see in a movie.
In less than a year, two big movie-rental chains have shut their doors in Kamloops, and that has local independent stores claiming victory in the market.
“Those stores were always trying to run out the local independent business owner, so I’m happy to see them go,” said Denis Walsh, owner of Moviemart Home Video downtown.
Though the demise of Blockbuster Video and, more recently, Rogers Plus, might signal the end of the movie-rental era, local operators in town are expecting a boon.
Walsh suggested there was too much supply for the demand and, with the two chains leaving, the market will be balanced.
The former city councillor is so confident in the movie-rental market, he’s opening a second store in the Northills Shopping Centre — in the old Blockbuster location.
The new store, which Walsh noted will be half the size of the former chain at 2,500 square feet, opens before Christmas.
The store will offer Blu-Rays, video games and possibly, at some point, CDs.
“There’s a certain amount of people who choose for various reasons to go out of their house to shop, and that will always be,” Walsh said.
In September, Blockbuster closed its Notre Dame Drive and Tranquille Road locations after filing for bankruptcy.
Blockbuster Canada was placed into receivership in May in the face of $70 million (US) in claims from various movie distributors, including Hollywood studios that provide its DVDs, and other suppliers.
Rogers Plus is closing on Thursday, Dec. 15.
Calls to the Rogers location were redirected to a number based in Ontario.
There is no word on how many employees will be out of work in Kamloops.
Derek Hicks, owner and manager of the Valleyview and Brock Shopping Centre Video Mart, said his two stores continue to sign new people up for memberships.
He also noted customers from Aberdeen and Sahali, where two of the three rental chains were located, are making the drive to his stores to rent movies.
“We’re not planning on going anywhere,” Hicks told KTW.
The small-business owner explained Blu-ray movies remain popular and his stores are among the few in town offering titles in the format.
Hicks also surmised people aren’t buying movies as much as in past years because of the economy.
He is also not surprised both Rogers and Blockbuster closed their stores, suggesting the two companies want to push their online rental business.
For now, Hicks is happy to own one of the few video stores left in town.