FAIRBORN — Store franchise Family Video announced on Tuesday that it would be closing down all remaining locations across the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 42-year old video store chain that outlived both Blockbuster and Hollywood Video will shut down all remaining 250 stores, including the one located on Maple Avenue in Fairborn.
“The impact of COVID-19, not only in foot traffic but in the lack of movie releases, pushed us to the end of an era,” said Keith Hoogland, CEO of Highland Ventures, LLC, which owns the franchise.
The first Family Video opened in 1996 in Toledo, and eventually grew to 800 stores nationwide. As the growth of streaming services toppled giants like Blockbuster, Family Video was able to survive 10 years longer than similar video store chains.
Anna McGraw, the current store manager on Maple Avenue, said the closure of the Fairborn Family Video is a blow to the people who rely on them for entertainment, primarily older adults.
“We have so many customers where this is their only form of entertainment,” she said.
McGraw said that people have already been coming to express their feelings over the closure. She expects that that feedback will increase as the store gets closer to shutting its doors.
“Being at the end of an era, it’s overwhelming. People have been telling us what Family Video meant to them,” she said.
For many people, they were part of the community.
“It feels like a mom and pop shop,” McGraw said. “It’s like the manager is the bartender, they come in and talk and you end up getting to know everybody.”
Family Video’s presence in rural communities and its savvy management of its brick-and-mortar properties bolstered its business over the past decade. However, the COVID-19 pandemic and the rapid digitization of movies and TV meant that once they reopened, business was extremely slow.
“If we had managed to stay open, I think we would have boomed,” McGraw said. “Not saying we should have been essential, but media is essential. Just not in the way that people think.”
All stores will hold liquidation sales until everything is gone, including movies, video games, CBD products and store fixtures, the company said Tuesday. McGraw said she anticipates the Fairborn store will shut down by the end of February, but she and others are grateful for the support from the community.
”Everyone here loves their jobs,” she said. “The community treats us like we’re the local coffee shop, just another stop along the way but you stop nonetheless.
Reach London Bishop at 937-502-4532 or follow @LBishopFDH on Twitter