IT was a Friday night rite of passage growing up in the ‘80s and ‘90s.
Heading down to the local video store , strolling the aisles and picking up the latest hit film release.
Back to the Future. Ghostbusters. Stand By Me. The Breakfast Club. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Forrest Gump.
Now movie lovers are reeling with the news that the rise of streaming services has claimed yet another victim with Midland Video Ezy, one of the biggest stores in Australia, announcing it will close its doors for good at the end of the month.
After nearly three decades in the business, owners John and Colleen Lebrasse said the video rental industry was dying with the advent of illegal downloading and the increasing world domination of streaming services.
Mr Lebrasse said when he first bought the business in 1990 he had around 3000 regular customers but that had now dropped to 300 a week.
“When Netflix first came on the scene three years ago we started to see a decline in video rentals about six months later,” he said.
“The number of people renting videos continued to decline over the years and unfortunately now there is no longer enough customers to make the business viable.
“I believe it’s only a matter of time before the last few remaining video stores shut down.”
Mr Lebrasse said loyal customers were devastated by the closure.
“Some of them were crying when they heard the news,” he said.
“For these customers they don’t like streaming Netflix or Stan or picking up a DVD at a kiosk.
“They love coming in and browsing the aisles for DVDs, taking them home, watching them and then getting another lot.
“That was their entertainment.”
Mr Lebrasse is now in the process of selling the store’s titanic stash of discs which total more than 60,000 titles.
“Before we close on March 31 we are having a massive sale and people can pick up 10 weekly DVDs for just $20 or 10 blu ray discs for $30,” he said.
“Colleen and I would like to take the time to thank all our existing and past customers for supporting us over the years.”