Family Video is shutting down all of its 248 video-rental locations across the U.S., with the 42-year-old chain citing the COVID pandemic as the final blow to a business already decimated by the rise of streaming.
The company, which at its peak operated some 800 locations, on Tuesday announced the decision to shut down. The last day for movie rentals at Family Video stores is Wednesday, Jan. 6, but they will remain open until they sell all their inventory — which includes DVDs, Blu-ray discs, popcorn, gumball machines, shelves “and everything else.”
“While we have faced digital competition from Netflix and others for years, nothing has been as devastating to our business as COVID-19,” Keith Hoogland, CEO of Highland Ventures, the real estate company that owns Family Video, said in a statement. “The impact of COVID-19, not only in foot traffic but also in the lack of movie releases, pushed us to the end of an era.”
Family Video outlasted three other national video-rental chains — Blockbuster Video, Movie Gallery and Hollywood Video — and was “the last man standing in our industry,” Hoogland noted.
The erstwhile rental powerhouse Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy in 2010. Its assets were acquired for $320 million the following year by Dish Network, which gradually shut down Blockbuster locations. By March 2019 only one store was left — the Blockbuster in Bend, Ore., which gained renewed attention last year after its promotion through Airbnb to let fans spend a night in the store went viral.
While the video-rental chains are gone, Redbox still operates its network of about 41,000 DVD rental kiosks across the country. But Redbox, too, has suffered declining rental business and has been trying to diversify into streaming video.
Family Video’s remaining stores are located in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas Tennessee and Wisconsin.
Pictured above: The Family Video store in Arlington Heights, Ill., which closed its doors last fall.