Hollywood Video in Dawson Creek is the latest movie rental store to succumb to the digital era.
Less than a year after it opened its doors in late July 2014, the store closed down last Monday, citing a lack of customers and a falling interest in video rentals, despite the relative success of its location in Fort St. John.
"There is just not enough business in Dawson Creek for rentals," said store manager Katie Degrace. "We tried everything. We spent $1,000 making flyers and having them delivered. We put out 12,000 coupons with them, and we only got five back."
Degrace said she thought the store would receive a boost in new customers when Redbox pulled its video vending machines out of Canada to focus on the U.S. market — but that didn’t happen.
Four employees at the Dawson Creek store have known since the beginning of February that they will be losing their jobs. None will be absorbed into the Fort St. John location.
Since 2012, Canadians have been without a national movie rental chain. That year, Rogers exited the movie rental business after revenues from that unit fell 43 per cent in 2011.
Blockbuster Video suffered a similar fate, shuttering roughly 400 stores after plummeting profits.
They were harbingers of a digital revolution, calling out to smaller video rental stores that the so-last-decade DVD is on the way out.
Hollywood Video Regional Manager Michelle Bliss believes the Fort St. John store's loyal customers will keep it open for the foreseeable future.
"I must be old school or something, but I've always loved coming into video stores and seeing what's there," she said.
Bliss estimates the Fort St. John location has about 25,000 to 30,000 movies, and about 10,000 rental members, compared to the roughly 600 members at the (now former) Dawson Creek store.
"We weren't finding in Dawson Creek that we were getting the [business] that we should have," Bliss said. "My Fort St. John location, we do quite well. But the Dawson Creek one, we had quite a few people telling us that our prices were a little high compared to the Redboxes. We figured [when Redbox pulled out] that would help out with the sales, but it didn't."
Work is well under way on cleaning out the entire store, a process that the parent company, CMV Enterprises — who couldn’t be reached for comment — hopes will be finished by April 8.
"It was such a great place," Degrace lamented. "It was fun. You got to meet so many new people and you had your regular customers. They're all very disappointed that we are closing. But it's not from lack of effort."