NEWBURYPORT — Express Video, Newburyport’s last remaining video rental store, has announced that it will close its doors permanently within two months. The store will spend its final months selling its stock of DVDs, Blu-ray videos and video games to customers.
The announcement was made to employees on Feb. 10, with the liquidation sale beginning the next day, according to employee Rebeccah Pearson. The store’s lease will end on April 30. Any movies and games still on the shelves will likely be sold to a wholesaler.
The store was one of the few remaining movie rental outlets in the entire North Shore area.
Express Video’s woes are nothing new. With the advent of online streaming services like Netflix in the mid-2000s, the brick-and-mortar rental model has become increasingly vulnerable, according to store owner Peter Herman. Herman has owned Express Video since 1999.
“Once Netflix, Video On Demand, Comcast, all the streaming services came to be, more and more people used them.” Herman said. “Every year, business would slowly decline. I certainly knew this day was coming many, many years ago.”
Herman had contemplated closing the business as early as 2009, when the store vacated its location at the Pond Street shopping plaza in order to make way for the expansion of CVS, said Pearson.
“He was planning on closing then, then a lot of us customers and all his employees said, ‘Hang in there; we can do this!’” Pearson, a customer at the time, said. “And that’s when he found this place here with David Hall in the Tannery.”
Now, after 29 years of business, beginning as a tiny extension of a Pleasant Street card shop and eventually outliving rental giant Blockbuster, Express Video has finally succumbed.
Pearson mourned the loss of the video rental store as a business model. As an employee, she appreciates the ability to interact personally with customers and make recommendations based on their individual needs.