Video store rewrites script
The weekly ritual of renting a movie might be following a night at the drive-ins into the realm of nostalgia and memory, but the last video store in Albany continues to defy the odds.
In 23 years in the game, Albany Mega Movies owner Brett Mosel has seen the landscape of his industry change with every shift in home-viewing habits.
From VHS to the emergence of DVDs, Albany was once home to five video stores, all cashing in on an endless appetite for entertainment.
Now, there is just one.
The rise of online streaming services such as Netflix and Stan has seen the credits start to roll for stores across Australia and the world — and Albany has been no different.
Gone are the days when video outlets were spread across Albany with two Video Ezy stores, Blockbuster, Civic Video and Video Rebel on Albany Highway.
At one stage 15 years ago, Lockyer Avenue alone was home to three stores.
Last year, Movie HQ — formerly Civic Video — closed its doors after 35 years, blaming the proliferation of downloads and streaming for its downfall.
When the Australian Blockbuster franchises were forced to either rebrand or close their doors, Albany’s Blockbuster rebranded independently to Albany Mega Movies.
Blockbuster in Morley was the last Blockbuster in Australia and the second last store in the world.
When it opted to shut up shop this month, the story made international headlines.
Albany Mega Movies is the third chapter for Mr Mosel, after the store which started as Movieland Albany switched to Blockbuster in 2000.
“Since owning this store, we have have had many changes and competitors coming and going, competing in our industry,” Mr Mosel said this week.
“Each time, we have been told it is the end of the video store, each time we have survived and adapted to meet the challenges put to us.
“However, with the introduction of NBN being seen to ramp up in Albany over the past 18 months, we have seen a dramatic decrease in business as the town has come online.
“We have known this was coming for some time and have expected the change.”
Determined to continue serving his loyal customer base, Mr Mosel said he was proud that he was able to keep his rental prices down.
He was grateful for the unerring support of his regulars.
“Our last price change for individual and package deals was back in 2000,” he said.
“We have been able to maintain this even after business costs have grown over the years and will continue to remain the same due to the increased amount of streaming companies coming into the market.
“But it is what it is and things change, which we accept, and we still provide good service and range of product. We continue to have a strong loyal customer base and we still have a wide range of movies ... both new and old.”
Mr Mosel questioned whether some Albany residents were truly embracing the “shop local” movement.
“It’s funny how there is a major push from local businesses to shop local, however with the increased amount of online buying and the amount of couriers delivering products every day around town and surrounding districts, are we really taking this seriously,” he said.
“Online buying and streaming is now greatly affecting not only our store but other long-term businesses in this city, as seen by the growing number of shops closing over the past 18 months.
“Customers think they are cheaper to stream (legally) online, but if they look at how much digital technology is actually costing them on a month by month basis, they might be surprised in the actual cost they are now spending on digital streaming.”
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