WHILE most video stores across the country are facing closure, Invercargill is bucking the trend with its two remaining video stores continuing to operate strongly.
United Video still has two stores in the city, one in Windsor and one in South City, and both of the stores owners agree they would struggle to survive without the other still operating.
South City store owner Daryle Blackler said having two stores at opposite ends of the city was complimentary to each other.
“It keeps the leisure activity of watching movies in people’s minds up front a little more than it would be by doing it by yourself. They cover one end of town and I cover this end. Put it this way, if Rory closed down I wouldn’t expect hardly any increase in turnover.”
Windsor store owners Roy and Melinda Barnsdale agreed the stores were complimentary to each other, with each store offering a different selection of movies to target residents in each of the different areas.
“Certain movies there will go better than what they do here,” Mr Barnsdale said.
“We’re more drama and they’re probably more action and horror… Daryle has got a great store down there and has gone into a lot of the second-hand stuff. (He’s) tried some of the other things which haven’t worked in some other centres but he’s gone out and bought choc loads of stuff and is making it work down there which is good.”
New members were still being signed up weekly according to both, with Mr Blackler saying they had even had to hire an extra staff member to cope with demand at his South City store.
When asked why Invercargill was able to maintain two stores, Mr Blackler said it was because he and Mr and Mrs Barnsdale “did it well. We stock our stores with a lot of product, whereas probably in other towns they are wee small stores often and they weren’t going to survive. Rory’s store is a big store. Mine is the biggest store in New Zealand in size and footage. ”
And while both stores admit turnover had dropped in the last five years, they were still both able to operate well enough to survive and neither had any plans on closing.
“At the end of the day we are what we are: a video store,” Mrs Barnsdale said.