By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN
BG Independent News
The credits are rolling for the last movie rental store in Bowling Green.
That means the end of a tradition for those in the community who still prefer scanning the store shelves for a golden classic or a new action flick.
Like the generation raised on dime matinees at theaters, there was also a generation raised on weekly trips to the movie rental stores.
“When I was a kid, Friday and Saturday nights, places like this were packed,” Ivan Kovacevic said as he reminisced with his son about the end to the movie rental stores.
On Monday, Kovacevic and his son were getting some deals buying a couple movies at Family Video.
“It’s the changing times,” he said. “Businesses like this have more options” and much more competition.
The closure, with the last day open to the public on Friday, has some frequent customers feeling blue, Family Video Manager Kait Nelson said.
“A lot of our regulars are sad. They don’t have the streaming services,” Nelson said as she staffed the front counter on Monday. “They are our friends. They are our family. It’s become a routine for them.”
Sure, there are Red Box movie rentals – but those aren’t the same as video rental stores, she said.
Red Box rentals offer no human interaction.
“You get a friendly face,” at the movie store, Nelson said. “Employees can offer suggestions.”
But it’s more than that, she added. Try renting a movie classic at a Red Box.
“Red Box is all about new stuff,” Nelson said. “We have a lot of classics.”
And if you want more than one night to watch a movie – better get ready to pay a fine with Red Box. Family Video rentals last five days.
Bowling Green has been home to many movie rental stores – Video Spectrum, Video Connection and Movie Gallery to name a few.
The Family Video store, at 816 S. Main St., was a latecomer to the city. Nationally these stores focused on smaller cities and more rural areas, since Blockbuster movie stores had a secure hold on the movie rental business in larger cities.
But the end to Blockbuster stores in 2013 left Family Video as the only video rental chain left standing in the U.S.
Now, with the ease of streaming movies making it possible for people to get movies without getting off the couch, many of those Family Video stores are closing up as well.
Nelson knows as well as anyone that video stores have a tough time competing against streaming services.
“It’s easier to stream. It’s convenient,” she said.
It’s that competition from streaming at home, and picking up a new movie from Red Box rentals at local grocery stores or Walmart, that led to the Family Video closing. That combined with a rent increase by the landlord at the strip mall on South Main Street, according to Family Video employee Jared Freeman.
Despite the convenience of streaming, some people still prefer perusing the shelves for movie selections.
“When I want to rent movies, it’s the only place left,” said Jaime Myers, who previously lived in Bowling Green and now lives in Rossford. She estimated she made visits at least once a month to Family Video.
“I still like my DVDs. I’m old school,” she said, holding a stack of movies that she planned to purchase.
The closing sale also attracted Tim Heer, from Waterville.
“Where else can you get 10 movies for $10,” Heer said. And best of all, he found a movie starring Elvis Presley, called “Change of Habit,” to add to his movie collection.
“I’m trying to collect Elvis movies. I’ve been hunting them for awhile,” Heer said.
Heer also hit the jackpot at the closing sale at Family Video in Napoleon recently, where he found another Elvis movie, “Loving You.”
The last day for the public to buy any of the remaining movie stock at Family Video is Friday.