Longtime local video shop closing

Longtime local video shop closing

CHAMPAIGN — That's Rentertainment, a locally owned and operated video store that has been in business for 30 years, plans to close in mid-August.

Owner Geoff Merritt said the store at Sixth and John streets in Campustown will continue renting films through the end of July, but will start selling off inventory June 15.

Merritt said he tried to hang in as long as he could, but concluded that video rental stores are no longer viable.

"We had a couple ideas on how to salvage things, but in the end, the era of the video store is behind us," he said. "We're not going to have a revival like record stores."

Merritt said there are so many other ways that people can get entertainment — through Hulu, Amazon and Netflix, for example. People are generally satisfied enough with what's available there that they're less willing to make the trip to campus, he said.

That's Rentertainment will continue to get virtually all new releases through June and some major releases in July, he said.

The store's inventory includes 46,000 discs — about 5,200 of them Blu-ray discs. Prices during the sell-off will decrease as weeks pass by.

"Rather than price each film individually, we'll set a price (which will lower regularly) and sell everything at that price," Merritt said in a posting on the store's website. "A few box sets will be pulled and priced individually."

The store was known for its selection of international, independent, classic American and art house films.

That's Rentertainment, which opened in 1985, occupied three locations in Johnstowne Centre at Fifth and John streets before moving down the street to its current location at 516 E. John St., C, in 1994. Merritt leases about 1,300 square feet there and said he didn't know how the space would be used after he vacates it.

About a half-dozen people work at the store, he said, and his best memories of the store involve the employees. At one time, as many as 30 to 40 people worked there, he said.

After the store closes, Merritt said he will continue to devote time to putting out CDs through the Parasol Label Group. He's also planning to rehabilitate the Parasol warehouse and to continue to operate the Itty Bitty Bike Shop inside that building.

Merritt said the impending closure at That's Rentertainment reflects what's going on at some of the larger independent video stores around the nation. Many have tried different models, but "in the last six months or so, so many other great video stores have shut down," he said, citing examples on the West Coast and in Louisville, Ky.

Topics (1):Film

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ERE wrote on June 02, 2015 at 8:06 am
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So sad! I remember a great year in 1982-3 when That's Rentertainment could rent LPs...still listen to many albums from that era-Aztec Camera, Tommy Keane, etc-that I never would have found if it were not for That's Rentertainment. Bought many more albums that year when I could preview them by renting them first. Of course the myopic record labels shut that practice down. 

Truly a great loss to the web sucker of Netflix, you'd never find the selection of That's Rentertainment on Netflix. RIP great video stores! What a cultural loss. 

 

 

99characters wrote on June 02, 2015 at 8:06 am

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danrice56 wrote on June 03, 2015 at 2:06 pm

1982-83? The article states That's Rentertainment didn't open until 1985.

DenaS wrote on June 03, 2015 at 11:06 pm

That's Rentertainment has been an amazing resource for most of my life. Now that it's not possible to make a profit on physical video anymore, let's keep this rare collection available to the community through the University library's preservation group.

(I inquired with Rentertainent, the public library system, and the University library system. The public libraries said that they needed to focus their limited space on popular videos, similar to Amazon and Netflix, and they referred me to the University library's preservation department. The preservation department is most interested in the material that's not available elsewhere.)

If you'd like to help, please consider contributing to the GoFundMe campaign at http://gofundme.com/w7hr9e6 .

Note: None of the funds will go to me. The money'll go straight to Rentertainment to buy videos that aren't available through the library, Netflix, or Amazon.

 

ERE wrote on June 04, 2015 at 7:06 pm
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danrice56 you are correct, my bad-I meant 1986-1987

aantulov wrote on June 05, 2015 at 9:06 am

Its a shame this is closing. Like the record store, the barber shop, the diner, the many local shops that had community substance and function, it will be missed. Hence maybe the appeal of the tatoo shops. Being able to sample a wide variety of movies, documentaries, film shorts, at random not computer suggested was priceless. The choices of foreign films WELL surpassed the college ofcommunications offerings. Its too bad that young graduates or current students with means don't see the value of a locally owned and curated business of any sort. The owner of the grocery store on University Ave, " World Harvest" has a PhD., maybe he knows something they don't.

Is it the debt of school, fear of failure, a non perception of success making a living being one's own boss, embarrassment of explaining leaving the pack mentality, the inability to learn beyond the test, the inability to have relationships of commitment with business partners, or an imagination limited to the choice of the next tatoo? 

Is this the same stock that claims to be the descendants of pioneers? 

Before you can break the chain that bind us you have to see them. Three cheers for the stickers on Za' s on Springfields at Country Fair Drive (pizza place) door. 

Exactly which local bank is offering is offer a local investment fund for local business investment?  Hey Busey, where is THAT investment fund!

 

aantulov wrote on June 05, 2015 at 9:06 am

Its a shame this is closing. Like the record store, the barber shop, the diner, the many local shops that had community substance and function, it will be missed. Hence maybe the appeal of the tatoo shops. Being able to sample a wide variety of movies, documentaries, film shorts, at random not computer suggested was priceless. The choices of foreign films WELL surpassed the college ofcommunications offerings. Its too bad that young graduates or current students with means don't see the value of a locally owned and curated business of any sort. The owner of the grocery store on University Ave, " World Harvest" has a PhD., maybe he knows something they don't.

Is it the debt of school, fear of failure, a non perception of success making a living being one's own boss, embarrassment of explaining leaving the pack mentality, the inability to learn beyond the test, the inability to have relationships of commitment with business partners, or an imagination limited to the choice of the next tatoo? 

Is this the same stock that claims to be the descendants of pioneers? 

Before you can break the chain that bind us you have to see them. Three cheers for the stickers on Za' s on Springfields at Country Fair Drive (pizza place) door. 

Exactly which local bank is offering is offer a local investment fund for local business investment?  Hey Busey, where is THAT investment fund!

 

aantulov wrote on June 05, 2015 at 9:06 am

Its a shame this is closing. Like the record store, the barber shop, the diner, the many local shops that had community substance and function, it will be missed. Hence maybe the appeal of the tatoo shops. Being able to sample a wide variety of movies, documentaries, film shorts, at random not computer suggested was priceless. The choices of foreign films WELL surpassed the college ofcommunications offerings. Its too bad that young graduates or current students with means don't see the value of a locally owned and curated business of any sort. The owner of the grocery store on University Ave, " World Harvest" has a PhD., maybe he knows something they don't.

Is it the debt of school, fear of failure, a non perception of success making a living being one's own boss, embarrassment of explaining leaving the pack mentality, the inability to learn beyond the test, the inability to have relationships of commitment with business partners, or an imagination limited to the choice of the next tatoo? 

Is this the same stock that claims to be the descendants of pioneers? 

Before you can break the chain that bind us you have to see them. Three cheers for the stickers on Za' s on Springfields at Country Fair Drive (pizza place) door. 

Exactly which local bank is offering is offer a local investment fund for local business investment?  Hey Busey, where is THAT investment fund!

 

Trailmom wrote on June 05, 2015 at 10:06 am

I shop and dine locally as often as I can.  My husband is a local business owner.

That being said, let's not yell at those kids to get off our lawn. 

Instead, let's celebrate that we can also be a global society and enrich our lives with the many things the digital world offers.   How many more indie films get exposure now with global access?

Lamenting a loss is fine; everyone likes to remember the "good old days" and some things are worth preserving.

At the same time, you can embrace change (which is inevitable) and still see the good in making our world a little smaller.