Blockbuster busts: Score one for the little guys
Struggling movie rental business Blockbuster Inc. will close all three of its Charlottesville stores as of January 3, according to a clerk at the Barracks Road Shopping Center location. That means more business, at least in the near term, for the indies that remain.
"Last night was one of my favorite nights," says Sneak Reviews Video owner Mark Tramontin, who learned not only of the end of Blockbuster but of an impending snowstorm, which is always good for business. "We've been going crazy all day."
Clerks at the other three indies–- C'ville Video, Video Etc., and Universal Video–- report a brisk business Friday in the runup to what the National Weather Service sees as a 12-20" snowfall. But after the snow melts, challenges remain.
"There are a lot of new technologies out there," says Tramontin, who oversees 26,000 titles–- one of the biggest inventories in the state–- in his two-level store in the West End Shops on Ivy Road. Long known for carrying exotic imports, Tramontin hopes that the Blu-Ray discs he stocks for big-screen owners plus a few VHS tapes for older customers continue to make a video store a compelling business.
"Hopefully," says Tramontin, "this will keep us going for a few more years."