Business

This may be Boise’s last video-rental store. It won’t stay open much longer.

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Video Memories had already been in business for three years on the Boise Bench when Blockbuster Video came to town in 1986.

Founded the year before, Blockbuster wasn’t yet the behemoth that boasted 9,094 stores at its peak in 2004. But it already had its sights set high.

“Blockbuster came in and told me they were going to put me out of business,” Video Memories owner Jerry Anderson said Thursday in a phone interview. “It didn’t happen by them, anyway.”

Instead, increased competition from Internet streaming services will cause Video Memories to shut its doors permanently on Wednesday, June 12 — the 36th anniversary of the store’s opening in 1983.

It may be the Boise area’s only remaining video-rental store. Anderson thinks it is.

He started with 330 movies in an 800-square-foot shop at Overland Road and Latah Street.

“I needed a job, and I’m not too good at working for other people,” Anderson said.

Three years later, he moved to his current location at 4504 W. Overland Road, across the parking lot from the Country Club Reel Theatre. The shop has 20,000 titles and 30,000 movies altogether, from current films to Hollywood classics.

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Gerry McClure has worked at Video Memories since 1991. “I love movies,” he said. “This was the perfect place for me.”

At one time, Boise boasted more than 20 video rental stores, from Blockbuster — which has only one store left, in Bend, Oregon — to Hollywood Video, from Hastings to several locally owned shops such as Video Memories. One by one, the rest closed.

“As far as video rental places, we’re the last in the area,” Anderson said.

After June 12, movie fans will have to rely on streaming services or Redbox kiosks. The Flicks Theatre, 646 Fulton St., also has a small selection of rental movies.

Anderson, 67, would have liked to stay in business longer. He said business was still good as recently as three years ago. Since then, streaming has cut into the store’s rentals. Sales this year are off 25 percent from a year ago, and that persuaded Anderson to hasten his retirement.

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Store clerk Gerry McClure checks in movies while a sign on a computer terminal advertises movies for sale ahead of Video Memories’ June 12 closing. John Sowell jsowell@idahostatesman.com

Ken Koeberlein has been a customer for more than two decades. He remembers going to the store in 1998 after he bought a DVD player and rented a disc from the “Minds Eye” series of four 1990s videos that featured computer-generated video images with electronic soundtracks.

“It lacked the sleek look and feel of Blockbuster, but what it did have was a warm, inviting and hometown feel that had a much broader ranges of movie choices,” Koberlein wrote to the Statesman on Facebook Messenger.

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John Sowell jsowell@idahostatesman.com

He compares its offerings to the movies shown at The Flicks, an art-house theater that shows many foreign and obscure films.

A post Wednesday morning that announced the closure on the Boise Bench Dwellers Facebook page got 105 shares and 135 comments by mid-afternoon.

Boise resident Pete Wadams said the store seemed busy the last couple of times he was there.

“I thought they were surviving because of the niche thing,” he wrote on Facebook. “I grew up with them, and they were a part of making me me.”

Jennifer Morrow lamented the loss and praised the employees for their love of movies and willingness to talk about films and make recommendations.

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Video Memories has a selection of 20,000 titles and 30,000 movies altogether. The shop will close June 12, after 36 years in business. John Sowell jsowell@idahostatesman.com

“Streaming may be easy and the limited big-budget movies at Redbox might be convenient, but they don’t compare to having a shop right in the neighborhood with a fantastic selection,” Morrow said on Facebook.

The store is selling off many of its movies. Newer films are priced from $5 to $7 each, and older titles $3. Anderson is reserving a large selection in case someone is interested in buying the store.

“It would be a tough job, but I’m open to entertaining offers,” he said.

Michael Mecredy

Good morning Bench Dwellers! As a strong supporter of box shops in the valley, this hits close to home for us. Jerry and his team are amazing people who are now effected by redbox and streaming...

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Reporter John Sowell has worked for the Statesman since 2013. He covers business and growth issues. He grew up in Emmett and graduated from the University of Oregon.

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