By Tim Gardner
A much-loved Newland video rental business closed for good this month as Flick Video shut down its store on Pineola Street after 29 years in business.
By catering to both the older and younger market with old-fashioned customer service, as well as competitive pricing, Newland Flick Video maintained its place in an age of streaming for as long as possible.
Gen Xers in particular grew up with video stores, spending an inordinate amount of time contorting themselves to connect their VCRs and later their DVD players to the back of the television set. But there are now cheaper and easier ways to watch movies at home. Also, sporting events and other related television shows can be accessed via the Internet.
But the store’s closing shouldn’t be a surprise, according to Luther Stamey of Stamey Enterprises in Spruce Pine, NC, which owned Newland Flick Video.
Movie and other television show streaming services online from Netflix, Hulu and Amazon as well as pay-per-view offerings that battle for non-customers’ business finally made Flick’s rentals income fizzle. That became a continuing trend that saw sales dip year after year. And the painful, but necessary decision to close the Newland store was made.
Additionally, drawing customers to a single video or DVD rental store can always be a challenge, Stamey noted. Video stores tend to do best close to, or in, grocery stores and similar businesses.
After Blockbuster Video filed for bankruptcy in 2010, many video rental stores followed suit. Some believed there would become no need to rent DVDs any longer. While it would be difficult to find a video rental store in a larger town or big city, many stores in rural communities such as Newland remained prominent. However, they are slowly, but surely becoming a thing of the past.
Stamey declared the relationship of local video rental stores with its customer base as a reason that the stores continued to remain relevant in their communities for as long as they have. The following quote from a satisfied customer via the Internet about Flick Video proved Stamey prophetic: “Fantastic video store! Huge selection of movies new and old. Was passing through town on my way home to VA and couldn’t believe my eyes… an honest to goodness video rental location. The staff was friendly and even gave me free posters to take home. The only problem is that I don’t live closer. If you’re local, check them out. You won’t be disappointed.”
Stamey’s Enterprises which also owns a convenience store and car wash in Spruce Pine, plans to open a convenience store at the old Flick location in Newland. Luther Stamey said more details about that new store will be announced in the near future.