Independent video rental stores across the U.S. and Canada are banding together for a common cause: to promote a Video Store Day Oct. 15. The goal of this special day is to show the public that there are still alternatives to rental kiosks like Redbox and from Blockbuster, and streaming entertainment services such as Netflix and Hulu. Clearly local video rental stores have taken a savage beating at the hands of those juggernauts. The promotion includes ads in various distributor newsletters to consumers as well as in-store signs, and special offers to customers like a free movie rental to visitors at participating video stores.
The idea for a day is to provide national recognition for the traditional mom and pop video store and is based on a similar effort by the independent music store scene launched a few years ago - according to Stacey Mooney, owner of Moondog Matinee in Flora, Indiana. Mooney said that online chatter among indie stores throughout the years seemed to indicated a groundswell of support for such a day, but has seen little momentum... until now.
"I basically took the reins and just ran with it," she said, adding that the online forum was moved to Facebook and YouTube. "Nobody was doing anything about it so I just started sending out letters."
Other stores involved in getting the word out include Video Quest in Joliet, Ill.; The Video Strip in Chicago; Video-n-Game Gallery in Elkhorn, Wis.; Double Features in Vineland, N.J.; King Tut Video in Kentucky; Eyesore Cinema in Ontario, Canada; and Orbit DVD/TV Eye Video Emporium in Ashville, N.C., among others.
Mooney also sent letters to distributors Ingram, VPD, Rentrak and the Entertainment Merchants Association, in addition to some entertainment studios, looking for support.
“Actually, it’s done really well,” she said. "It’s a day to remind customers that their local brick-and-mortar independent video stores are here to serve them, from finding catalog titles to repairing discs. It’s not a day to bash Netflix. It’s not a day to bash Redbox, Blockbuster or even Family Video. It’s a day to celebrate the art of movies,” Mooney added.
Ted Engen, founder of the Video Buyers Group, a consortium of more than 1,500 independent video stores, said he jumped at the chance to participate.
"I talked to a few guys and next thing I know this thing is spreading just like wildfire," Engen said.