Last remaining video rental chain is taking on competition

By Beau Ebenezer

March 26, 2013 Updated Mar 26, 2013 at 10:44 PM CDT

CENTRAL ILLINOIS -- Less than five years ago, a trip to the video store was a common occurrence for families looking for cinematic entertainment.

Now, with the emergence of Red Box, Netflix, and many other streaming options, a stroll down the isle of the romantic comedy section, is old news for many.

"Well, it's only a buck or buck-fifty to rent a movie, and you can return them anywhere," said Peoria resident, Ryan Winkle. "It's 24/7 and a lot more convenient than going to a rental store."

Red Box customers can choose from more than 200 different movies just by quickly browsing and swiping their debit or credit card at the kiosk.

Other programs allowing you to digitally rent movies on devices such as an XBox or an Iphone have also caused a negative impact to video stores.

The most recent impact was Peoria's last standing Blockbuster video store which closed down this month after the company filed for bankruptcy in 2010.

While many rental stores across the country are struggling, one local store is continuing to grow.

"There's always going to be a market and niche for customers who want to shop and get out of the house," said Family Video Regional Manager, Justin Bryant. "They want to walk, they want to view selection, and they want to interact with people. I think that, right there, is going to keep us around for a long time."

Family Video currently has 800 stores throughout the U.S. And Canada, with 30 stores right here in Central Illinois.

Company representatives said their personal connection is what keeps people coming back.

"With Red Box, all you really got is the machine thing," said Pekin resident, Patricia Finley. "This is in Pekin, so it is a lot closer. I would just rather come where there is an actual store rather than a box."

It's $2.80 for a new release at Family Video compared to Red Box's $1.20.

However, Family Video gets new releases right when they come out, whereas, you will see a 28-day delay at Red Box.

While both options have different advantages, it seems customers will still have the choice for some time to come.

To submit a comment on this article, your email address is required. We respect your privacy and your email will not be visible to others nor will it be added to any email lists.