Low sales and increased competition from multiple sources has forced the Blockbuster on 911 E. Pickard St. to close its doors on Oct. 20.
The store has been open in Mount Pleasant since 1997, but has not been making enough money in recent years to stay afloat. Manager Jessica Weston said Blockbuster has been losing customers for a long time and cannot pay for its corporate licensing agreement.
“I remember when there used to be three computers on at once and a line out the door,” Weston said.
The Blockbuster manager mentioned there has been a noticeable decrease in accounts since 2010 and 2011. This drop in rentals was due in part to the launch of Netflix, Weston said.
In addition to Netflix, other cinematic advancements – like Redbox and online movie streaming – have had a major impact on Blockbuster’s success.
“It’s a more digital world now and we just couldn’t keep up,” Weston said. ”There are 16 stores that are closing the same day we do.”
According to Blockbuster’s website, there were only 900 stores left in the county at this time last year, which is a fraction of the thousands that were once open in the ’90s.
Although Blockbuster has felt these effects from the new technology, Family Video shift leader Chelsea Ouderkirk said the business has been flourishing because of their attention to the customer.
“I set up five new accounts today actually,” Ouderkirk said. “We try to give incentives for the customer to come back in.”
Some of these incentives include free kid’s movies, buy-one-get-one-free and discounted video game rentals.
“Our sign outside is always changing and it seems to get people in the store,” Ouderkirk said.
Grand Ledge freshman Daniel Latty said the Blockbuster in his hometown had already been bought out and that he preferred Family Video because of its location in relation to campus.
“I’m really not surprised that it’s closing down,” Latty said. “People get all their movies online now.”
Blockbuster employee Cassie Young said the biggest competition they have faced throughout the years has always been Family Video, in part because of their proximity to Central Michigan University’s campus.
For Commerce Township senior Ashley Miller, she goes to Family Video because of its convenience and because of the deals they offer.
“They always have cheap older movies and still have the new releases,” Miller said. “I don’t use Netflix and I still went to Blockbuster, but because of its location, I don’t go there any more.”