The closure of the Dickson Blockbuster leaves just one DVD rental store in Canberra. (ABC News: Greg Nelson)
Canberra’s only remaining Blockbuster video store will officially close its doors this weekend after 17 years in operation.
Its closure leaves just one DVD rental store in operation in Canberra — Charnwood’s Network Video.
Blockbuster in Dickson first opened in 2007 following a merge with the video and DVD chain Video Ezy.
The Dickson store’s owner Paul Davis said the introduction of free-to-air channels had the most dramatic impact on his business.
“The biggest notable decline was in 2010 when the free-to-air stations released all the new stations. That was the single biggest impact that happened overnight,” Mr Davis said.
Thousands of DVDs will be sold off when the Dickson Blockbuster closes down the rental business. (ABC Radio Canberra: Mourish Condie)
He also attributed the decline of business to the introduction of streaming services.
“People’s habits have changed,” he said.
“The new generation of people, they’re using social media more, they’re not consuming movies in the traditional form that they used to.”
To keep business flowing, Mr Davis said they incorporated an ice creamery, which helped for a time.
While it introduced new customer and revenue stream, it was not enough to keep the business going.
“The decline has crossed over now and is well beyond being viable,” he said.
“We battled on with it basically and whilst we weren’t making money like we were making, we were prepared to keep pushing it until we couldn’t push any harder.”
Treasured work experience
Kenrich Beuth’s passion for film made his part-time job in the Dickson DVD store a lot of fun. (ABC Radio Canberra: Mourish Condrie)
Over the years, Mr Davis has employed hundreds of people, mostly university students and teenagers looking for their first job.
The closure will leave 14 employees in search of a new job.
Nineteen-year-old Kenrick Beuth, a casual employee of Blockbuster, told ABC Radio Canberra he enjoyed the friendliness of customers.
“It’s so easy because I enjoy movies and everyone who comes in has a passion for movies as well — it’s very easy to get along with everyone that comes in,” Mr Beuth said.
Mr Beuth said he had acquired a unique skill set from working in a video store.
“You could probably get similar experiences at Sanity, or CD stores, or even libraries but they are starting to die down as well,” he said.
While he does use streaming services for certain shows that are only available online, he regularly enjoyed the ability to hire DVDs whenever it suited him.
As part of the closure, the entire collection of DVDs will go on sale.
“There’s 25,000 plus titles in that store and many of them you just can’t buy anywhere else,” Mr Davis said.