Final act for lone Sarnia video store

Family Video on London Road in Sarnia. September 2019. (BlackburnNews photo by Colin Gowdy)

The last video store in Sarnia has closed its doors.

After nearly seven years in operation, Family Video on London Road said goodbye to the community on September 15.

District Manager Beth Kerry said despite what some people may think, the store isn’t closing because a lack of customers.

“We rent movies two for $1, so when the landlords come to us with increased rents and increased leases and longer or shorter leases, sometimes it’s not in the best interest of a small mom and pop shop like us to continue operations,” she said. “The store is actually doing well. The business isn’t down like people think it is, we’re a thriving, popular place to come still, believe it or not. Just in the month of August, we signed up 50 new customers, we had over 1,400 active customer accounts (an account used within the past month), and we rented out 6,000 movies and games.”

Kerry said many people in Sarnia still like the personal feel of physically renting a movie or video game.

“A lot of people think the digital age killed us, but I don’t feel that sense being in the stores. I’ve worked for the company for 12 years, so I’ve been here since the booming time when Blockbuster and Hollywood Video and all those guys closed and we got really busy because there was nobody else to go to,” she said. “Have Netflix and other streaming services and digital codes impacted us? Yes, but I use them just as much as I use [hard copy] movies, just as I feel my customers do too.”

Family Video opened its Sarnia location in February of 2013.

Kerry said it will be hard saying goodbye.

“We’re involved in all kinds of stuff. We do donations to local fundraisers, we do free rentals for kids once they get their final report cards — if they get good grades, they get free rentals for the summer. We always do turkeys or hams around the holidays for families in need, so I know customers appreciate us just as much as we appreciate them coming in to get movies and games.”

Kerry said they’re currently having a store closing sale, with movies going for as cheap as 50 cents.

Family Video is an American video rental chain with roughly 550 stores across North America.