Bowling Green will soon lose half its remaining video rental stores.
Family Video, a subsidiary of Glenview, Ill.-based Highland Ventures Ltd., will close its store at 560 U.S. 31-W By-Pass later this month, leaving the Family Video at 1870 Westen St. as the last video store standing.
Matt Hill, Family Video district manager, said the 6,000-square-foot building next to a Cricket Wireless store on the bypass is being sold and will close Feb. 25.
“Bowling Green was one of the last cities where we still had two stores,” Hill said. “The business is not what it once was, so we thought we needed to close one.”
Hill wouldn’t reveal the buyer, but he said the sale doesn’t affect the Westen Street store that is near Campbell Lane.
But that Family Video, part of a 550-store chain that operates in 20 U.S. states and Canada, bears little resemblance to the Blockbuster Video and Movie Gallery stores that have fallen victim to the rise of Netflix, Hulu and other video streaming services.
Bowling Green’s last remaining Family Video shares space in its 7,000-square-foot building with a Marco’s Pizza and is also one of several spots in town where you can pick up cannabidiol (CBD) products that are promoted as natural remedies for various ailments.
“Pizza and a movie go well together,” Hill said. “The video business is declining, but you can often make more money per square foot with another business.”
Which helps explain why Family Video has survived while other big video rental chains have gone the way of the manual typewriter. Blockbuster, for example, declared bankruptcy in 2010 and closed its final 300 company-owned stores in 2014. As of January, the only remaining physical Blockbuster store in the world was a privately owned franchise in Oregon.
Family Video, founded in 1978 as Video Movie Club, has avoided the fate of other video rental chains through a strategy of owning the real estate where its stores are located.
“Our parent company owns the property,” Hill said. “That’s one of the big reasons why we have been able to survive.”
That, and a diversification strategy. Privately owned Family Video has branched out into real estate, developing more than 600 retail strip centers, and also has its hand in fitness centers, cellphones and cable television.
Hill said the company isn’t ready to abandon its video-rental roots.
“We’re not looking to close all our video stores,” he said. “We still have quite a few people who rent DVDs and Blu-ray discs, and our video game offerings continue to be strong.”
The inclusion of Marco’s Pizza – another Highland Ventures subsidiary – at the Westen Street store is part of a companywide trend for Family Video. Hill said more than 100 Family Video stores are paired with the pizza chain.
The CBD products, introduced to Family Video stores in 2018, have been a hit, according to Hill.
“They’re really popular and have helped a lot of people,” he said. “They’ve helped increase traffic in our stores.”
Hill hopes to liquidate all or most of the movies and games being sold at discounted prices at the bypass store by Feb. 25.
As for the Westen Street store, He says: “We have no plans to change anything at that store. We hope customers from the bypass store will visit the other store.”