GOSHEN — Bare walls and just a handful of boxes containing a fraction of the former inventory are all that is left of Goshen’s Blockbuster video store.
After nearly two decades in business, the store on Pike Street has just a few days left before it shuts down operations completely.
Opened in 1996, the Goshen Blockbuster was told early last month to prepare to close the store. That has meant cleaning up and a clearance sale of all the movies, TV shows and video games in stock.
C.J. Irelan, a customer service representative at the Goshen location, said the local store was simply not performing up to expectations leading up to the notification from the corporate office to shut down.
Blockbuster’s last day in Goshen is Friday, Oct. 25. So how are other local video and game stores doing in a landscape where online streaming and digital piracy are stark realities?
John DiPiro, owner of Video Visions just down the street from Blockbuster, said his business is doing just fine and has actually seen a boost from former Blockbuster customers.
“Business has definitely picked up,” he said. “With (Blockbuster) closing down, there’s more customers coming to us.”
Despite competition from traditional sources such as large chains, streaming services and piracy, as well as competition from local events, athletics, fall TV season and even simply good weather, DiPiro said Video Visions is still doing well.
He believes there are several factors that are allowing a smaller business like his to continue to thrive.
DiPiro cited a focus on customer service, lower rates, longer rental periods and having new releases on hand weeks before they appear at chains like Red Box as several reasons that people continue to patronize his store.
“(Customers) are finding out we’re a very good alternative,” he said. Even though business has increased recently, however, DiPiro sees no need to expand.
“Sometimes bigger isn’t better,” he said before theorizing that part of Blockbuster’s demise could be attributed to the large buildings they rent.
DiPiro disagrees with the assessment that video rental stores are in decline.
“People have been talking about the death of (the business) for years, but there’s still a niche for it,” he explained.