Photo by Max Efrein.
Originally Published: July 17, 2016 6 a.m.
I found Randy Rodgers watching a foreign film called C’etait un Rendezvous in his video rental store, Show Business Video Library.
“I just bought this one on Amazon,” Rodgers said. “I’ve been looking for it about 15 years.”
The nine-minute film simply consists of a Ferrari GT driving through Paris one early morning in the mid-1970s. It’s currently going for $99.98 on Amazon.
“I know at least 15 people who will want to watch this,” Rodgers said.
This is how Rodgers, who is about to turn 80 years old, operates his business.
“I always have somebody in mind when I buy a movie,” he said. “I never just say it looks good. I say ‘this guy will like it, or she’ll like it or somebody’s been looking for this.’”
Rather than sign a corporate contract to receive 15 copies of the industry’s newest releases and have a committee decide what inventory he holds, Rodgers hand-selects every movie in his store and typically only carries one copy of each.
After 32 years of running his business, it’s an understatement to say his collection is vast.
“I probably have just shy of 40,000 movies,” Rodgers said.
“He’s got a great selection,” said Janet Duke, a regular patron of the store.
Though consistent patrons like Duke are what Rodgers depends on to get by, he has started to receive some customers who don’t know where else to turn to get their desired viewing entertainment.
“He’s the only game in town,” said Gary Thorn, whose only been frequenting Show Business the last couple of weeks.
Last month, Hastings, a retail chain company that sells and rents out both new and old movies, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Though the stores remain open for the time being, they have suspended many of their programs — including movie and game rentals — while the company undergoes a selling-off process.
It has yet to be determined what the exact fate for the company’s sole Prescott location is, but Rodgers will likely continue to absorb at least a portion of the store’s clientele if it completely shutters and another store of similar caliber doesn’t take its place.
Other former Hastings customers may turn more to Redbox, the movie rental company with kiosks located in areas of high foot traffic, despite its limited selection.
And some might even consider seeing what is offered at the public library, which maintains a large collection of newer and older movies available for free to anyone with a library card.
No matter what happens, though, Rodgers plans to just keep doing what he’s always done.
“I just enjoy the social aspect of it,” Rodgers said. “People will say I have good taste in movies because of my selection, but that’s wrong. My customers do. Whatever my customers have to say about what they’re watching, I hear it. So, my store becomes what my customers like.”