Video rental stores have taken another big step towards complete extinction, as the video rental chain Family Video has announced the closure of all of its remaining stores. The news follows a previous closure of 200 stores last fall due to the pandemic heavily affecting business, and in a new press release, Family Video has now confirmed that they'll next be shuttering the 250+ remaining stores after clearing their stock with mass liquidation sales.
"While we have faced digital competition from Netflix and others for years, nothing has been as devastating to our business as Covid-19," the press release reads.
Kieth Hoogland, Highland Ventures CEO, added, "We are very thankful to have been able to provide entertainment for many family movie nights, and want to thank the people of Toledo and our incredible staff for the many years of support and service."
Headquartered in Illinois, Family Video is primarily based in the Midwest, though at its peak the video rental chain consisted of hundreds of locations across the United States and Canada. Because Blockbuster was so prominent in larger cities, most Family Video locations were established in rural areas and smaller or midsize cities. Although the prevalence of streaming services has demolished the video rental industry, Family Video was one of the very few establishments still hanging on.
Family Video was features in Stranger Things Season 3, which ended with Steve and Robin seeking jobs at the video store in the final episode. It appears that Family Video will return in Season 4, as Mia Hawk has been spotted filming in her Family Video vest. The official Family Video website currently sells that same exact vest, and they also have a Family Video T-shirt that is Hawkins themed. It isn't clear how much longer these items will be available. But Stranger Things will keep the name alive in spirit.
Meanwhile, Blockbuster has not completely gone away, although it's come very close. After a series of closures in 2019, the company is now down to just one remaining Blockbuster location open in Bend, Oregon. That's quite a drop from when the company once hosted over 9,000 stores in the United States and abroad. As the last remaining Blockbuster in the world, the Oregon store has become a bit of a tourist attraction which has helped keep its doors open during these uncertain times. Last August, it was listed as an Airbnb rental for a 90s-style sleepover that included a night of movies, snacks, and video games.
Although its focus is more on video games as opposed to movies, GameStop has also faced heavy losses over the past year. The company has closed 462 stores last year, following the closure of several hundred more stores in the year before. There are still no plans as of now to pull the plug on GameStop as the company is banking on the release of the Xbox Series X and the PlayStation 5 to help turn sales around heading into the new year. Of course, it probably doesn't help that the limited stock with these consoles has kept them unavailable in most stores.
For better or for worse, streaming has all but taken over the home video business, and it's not exactly a big surprise to see another big name rental chain bite the dust. Still, there will always be people out there who prefer physical media, so maybe classic video rental stores can return someday after things get back to normal. In any case, you can check out the liquidation sales at Family Video while you still can and see if there's a location near you at the official website.