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12:41 AM Mon, Nov. 19th

Curtain closes on Hollywood Video

Jason Soifer/The Daily Courier<br>
Prescott Valley resident Kristen Stegeman bought three movies from the Hollywood Video store in town this week as the store is in the midst of a liquidation sale. The store is closing this summer.

Jason Soifer/The Daily Courier<br> Prescott Valley resident Kristen Stegeman bought three movies from the Hollywood Video store in town this week as the store is in the midst of a liquidation sale. The store is closing this summer.

The credits are rolling on another national movie rental chain.

Hollywood Video is liquidating its selection of video games, videos and everything else under the roof at all its stores, including its store in Prescott Valley.

Steve Millard, a shift supervisor at the store, said most customers these days are asking him where they can now go to rent movies.

Millard wants to find investors to drum up the roughly $200,000 he said it would cost to buy up the store's contents and the customer database.

"We have a bigger selection; we are easier to get movies from," he said.

It was early May when Movie Gallery Inc., operator of the video rental chain, announced plans to close its remaining stores and sell off its inventory.

The company was planning to close one-third of its nearly 2,500 stores nationwide, but made the move to shutter the entire chain after triggering a default provision under one of its loans, according to a Reuters story.

For now, Millard's vision is a dream, and if it doesn't take flight, it makes Derek Barnes' shop the only video rental option in town.

Barnes, owner of Video Outpost at 6170 E. Highway 69, Suite 103, began renting movies in Prescott Valley in the days when VHS tapes ruled.

More than a decade later, Barnes said business is good, all things considered, and he attributes some of his business longevity to loyal customers and giving people what they can't find at the big rental chains.

"I've got over 17,000 titles on DVD in this little tiny store here - they're packed in," he said. "I've got a lot of stuff that you just can't find. You could probably get it on Netflix but you're going to wait for it, and I've got it here."

And that brings up another wrinkle in the world of movie rentals.

Today, people have lots of different ways to watch flicks, ranging from Redbox to Neflix to On Demand options and beyond.

On one side of the disc are people like Ted Bunch, who like the interaction they get at the rental store.

"I want to be able to bring my kids in here," he said. "I don't like to shop online so much because I like to see what I'm buying and talk to actual human beings."

On the flip side are people like Brooke King, who uses the Redbox machine at the new Maverik station on Glassford Hill Road.

King likes the quickness and price Netflix and Redbox offer.

"It's easier that way," she said. "It's too expensive, (and video stores) don't have a good selection of movies."

It seems to come down to a choice between technology and people, at least as Barnes sees it. "They've got your credit card and they don't care; they're a machine," he said. "You could bring it in five minutes late to the Redbox and it's another dollar. You can call me up and say you're finishing up the movie and I'd let you slide on it."