With Dec. 4 set as the last rental date at Rogers Video, Penticton movie and game renters will have little choice left.
The impending closure has left many customers upset, compounded by the closure of Blockbuster just a few months ago.
“Absolutely,” agrees Rogers Video store manager Aaron Baisarowicz. “Lots of customers have said they are dismayed because where are they going to rent movies from or pay their bills? We have regular customers that come in here and people with special needs that come here every Tuesday and have done that forever. This definitely will impact people’s lives.”
Not only for the customers. Baisarowicz said there are eight people who will now lose their jobs, including one employee who has worked at the store for 15 years.
“I suspect this closure was put into motion at the beginning of last year when they closed 51 stores in Western Canada. I think it was also put into play quite a long before Blockbuster announced they were closing,” said Baisarowicz.
Leigh-Ann Popek, spokesperson for Rogers, said they are seeing customer demand changing and a growth of their online video on demand.
“We know that customers want the anytime, anywhere content and that’s what we are looking to give them,” said Popek, adding that from Dec. 5 to Jan. 15 Rogers will be having a liquidation sale.
For Phil Carson, owner of Replay Games located on 288 Westminster Ave. W., the news of the closure most likely means more rental business for him.
The local entrepreneur opened his store in 2010 and has seen his customer base grow steadily since. He repairs systems, resurfaces discs and buys, sells, trades and rents games from the most recent titles to retro games on all different platforms.
“Being the only place that will be renting video games of any kind is almost surreal. I was up against Blockbuster and Rogers and now neither one of them will be here and I’m still standing. That’s awesome,” said Carson.
The entrepreneur said a lot of people still want hard copies rather than download them onto a computer or stream them to a television. Especially when it comes to his specialty, video games. Carson pointed out not everyone can afford to purchase the newest games, or can track down the classic games that are in playable condition.
“Also, the people who come here aren’t asking about games to a movie store clerk. When you walk into a game store, everyone who works here knows about games. That is what we do,” said Carson.
Also keeping Replay Games relevant to consumers is the gaming area Carson has created. For $5 customers can get 60 minutes of gaming in on a big screen television on 10 different systems. Carson said he can also special order anything from anywhere in the world.
“Anything to do with gaming I can do it or can find it. I am the gaming guru,” chuckled Carson. “Every time I have someone new come into the store they see something and say ‘Oh my God, that totally takes me back.’ I don’t want people to think this is just another game store, I want them to think this is the best game store they have ever seen. I’ve got stuff that people have almost forgot about but they still work and still bring joy and that is what gaming is all about.”