Family Video closures leave central Ohio without rental stores

Patrick Cooley
ThisWeek group

What appear to be the last remaining video stores in central Ohio are closing their doors for good.

Family Video announced Jan. 6 that its remaining 250 stores, including locations in Columbus, Galloway and Newark, will sell their inventory and shutter permanently once their stock and store fixtures are gone.

The nationwide chain rents movies and video games, venturing into CBD products in recent years.

The Galloway store is on Sullivant Avenue at Norton Road, and the north Columbus store is at 2760 East Dublin-Granville Road. Those buildings will become available for lease or purchase. 

Family Video is closing its remaining locations in central Ohio, including the store at 2760 East Dublin-Granville Road in north Columbus. Store manager Demetra Fotis bags a customer's purchase from behind a plexiglass barrier Jan. 6.

The closures follow those of a Family Video store in Worthington in 2019 and a Video Central on Bethel Road that closed in 2018

Video stores struggled mightily in the streaming era, with customers flocking to the likes of Netflix and Hulu, where they can watch movies and TV shows without leaving home.

Family Video was the last holdout from the days of home video rental, outlasting iconic brands like Hollywood Video, Blockbuster and Movie Gallery, all three of which declared bankruptcy in 2010.

In an email, Family Video district manager Scott Jaynes cited the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic as the final nail in the coffin for the chain.

“While we have faced digital competition from Netflix and others for years, nothing has been as devastating to our business as COVID-19,” he said.

The pandemic accelerated adoption of streaming video services as consumers stayed home to avoid infection. Streaming pioneer Netflix, for example, added nearly 26 million subscribers in the first six months of 2020, the largest spike in company history, the company reported.

Andrew Raymond of Dublin checks a list on his phone for movie titles to add to his extensive collection at home, which, he said, was in the thousands.

Although growth has slowed since then, the service continues to add subscribers at a steady clip, even in the face of growing competition from Apple TV, Hulu, Amazon Prime and Disney +, which debuted this year and boast a catalog of movies from the highly successful Star Wars and Marvel film franchises.

It seems the days of running down the street to shop for the evening's flicks – flipping through racks of titles organized by genre, hoping someone else didn't already snag the movie you want – is a relic of the past.

"We are very thankful to have been able to provide entertainment for many family movie nights and want to thank the people of Columbus and our incredible staff for the many years of support and service," Keith Hoogland, CEO of Family Video parent company Highland Ventures, said in a news release.

pcooley@dispatch.com

@PatrickACooley