By Ashley Gibbard
Holt Journal staff reporter
In this new media age, everything is at our fingertips. Any game we want to play, any show or movie we want to watch we can probably find online through some service or another and have it instantly without ever having to leave our homes.
So, how in the era of Netflix and Hulu has a Holt video store open since 1988 managed to survive, when the likes of Blockbuster and Hollywood video closed most of their stores by 2012? Why does the small town of Holt prefer this way of renting movies as opposed to the new technology?
“I think it’s a common misconception that video stores can’t do well in a market where streaming movies and games has become such a popular thing,” said Brian Adams, district manager of Family Video, including Holt’s location at 2073 N. Aurelius Road. “The reason all other video stores went under when Netflix and Redbox launched was because they had a lot of debt and made bad management choices. We put our main focus on customer service and the atmosphere our store presents,” Adams said.
“Anyone that walks in here we have a conversation with, whether it be about movies or the football game this weekend,” he said. “Especially in a small town like Holt, we get to know many of the customers and they know each other as well.”
Family Video is thriving in all of their 780 locations countrywide. They compete with online streaming services by having new video releases the day they are available as opposed to a few months later, also all of their stores offer two movies for $1 for five days, according to Adams.
University of Florida new media and digital culture expert Dr. Terry Harpold, shares that while he doesn’t think these video stores will be operating in another 10 years, he admires the fact that they are still operating.
“I admire their persistence,” Harpold said. “But trends definitely are working against them. Rental from stores and purchasing DVDs and Blu-ray are on the decline. As the older generations become more technologically savvy and the younger generations are exposed only to online streaming and instant access, these chains will be out of business within the next decade.”
While this is a franchised business, the Holt community enjoys having a video store that they walk in and see people they know and the employees know them by name.
“We come here almost every Friday night,” said Steven Dawdy, a Holt resident. “The employees know us by name. It’s nice to be able to read up on the movies and see what the staff thinks as well.”
“We see people we know and like to talk with,” he said. “It’s a very comfortable and friendly atmosphere.”
There are also people in Holt that enjoy the convenience of Netflix but also use video stores for new movie releases because they are so quick.
“We use both,” Holt resident Hannah Aimesbury said. “While the convenience of Netflix is nice, video stores are nice when you want to watch a new movie right away or an old movie that Netflix doesn’t have.”
Some residents do think that video stores are completely outdated.
“We have one of those; nothing like that should still exist,” local resident David Jones said. “We are in the 21st Century; we have instant access to movies. Why would I leave my house to get them?”