“I kind of consider myself a video consultant,” Pearson said. “One of our customers had a great loss in her family and for a month straight, she would come in every single night and rent a movie. She’d tell me what mood she was in that day and what kind of movie she wanted to watch, and I’d tell her which one was good. Never failed her.”
Both Pearson and Herman pointed out the community connections created by the Express Video as one of the greatest casualties of the store’s closing.
“There are a lot of people who are quite devastated,” Pearson said. “We have a lot of people who have become more like extended family than customers. It’s a horrible ending, too, seeing all the regulars come in and be devastated.”
Longtime customers were especially hard hit by the change. Gail Elias, who has rented regularly for many years, was unsure of what to do without Express Video.
“To be honest, I don’t have a computer. I can’t afford all that stuff,” Elias said, referring to streaming content over the Web. “I just have my Comcast cable and these movies.”
She said she would likely be forced to move to an “‘on demand” service. According to Pearson, many customers are uncomfortable with such services, as they are worried about the possibility of their credit card information being stolen.
Herman said although customers often trend toward the older generation that is unused to streaming movies and unwilling to abandon the old model, younger children still frequent the Express Video.
Ralph Woekel, 14, stopped in on Sunday to purchase a movie and bid the store goodbye. He’s come to the store nearly every week for two years to rent comedies and action movies.
“I’m kind of sad because it has, like, every movie possible,” Woekel said of Express Video. “I do use Netflix, but this has more movies. If Netflix didn’t have the movie I wanted, I’d just come here.”