The Medford Blockbuster store on the corner of Biddle and McAndrews Roads is offering discounts on movies and video games as it clears out its inventory in anticipation of a March closure.

Digital killed the video store

Customers Thursday mourned the impending closure of Medford's Blockbuster, the latest brick-and-mortar victim of Netflix and streaming video.

"It's kind of sad for us," said Jim Meyer, who browsed the aisles with his daughters, Emma, 6, and Lauren, 8. "We've been coming here for years.

"With Medford so small, it's quick and easy to just go here and get what you need."

The store at McAndrews and Biddle roads is expected to close by the end of March and is holding a liquidation sale to clear out its inventory. Most items are being offered for between $9.99 and $14.99.

Store employees declined to comment for this story, directing questions to corporate headquarters.

Once the undisputed leader of the video-rental industry, Blockbuster had been staving off bankruptcy for years, battling the emergence of Netflix, Redbox and streaming video services. Blockbuster eventually filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September 2010, and was bought out by Dish Network in April 2011 for $320 million.

Since then, waves of store closures have left thousands of people out of a job as the company tries to pare down its expenses.

In July, Blockbuster announced it was able to save 1,500 of its stores, amounting to 15,000 jobs, that would have otherwise been liquidated, according to a company news release. Unfortunately, Medford's Biddle Road location was not on the list.

Meyer and his daughters finally settled on a $12 copy of "Tangled," a joint decision between Emma and Lauren. Meyer said the family now has a subscription to Netflix, although it was loathe to give up on local video stores.

"We've been trying to put (Netflix) off," he said. "We like browsing around. It's instant gratification for the kids, to see a movie on the shelf that they like ... we were at the Blockbuster on North Phoenix Road, and they closed last year, so we've been through all this before."

Blockbuster is the latest in a string of video store closures that include Video Planet on Roberts Road and Hollywood Video in south Medford, both of which closed in 2010.

Some locally owned stores survive, however. Video Quick in Talent, which opened more than 25 years ago, has weathered the changing times, though owner Curtis Thompson said business has taken a major hit in the last two years.

"Overall we've seen a big decline in business since 2009," he said. "That really hurt us bad, and we've never recovered since then."

Thompson, who has owned the store at 102 S. Pacific Highway for seven years, credited community support for his store's longevity.

"The locals have been very good to us," said Thompson. "It's a mom-and-pop operation ... we only have about 7,500 titles."

Thompson said local rental stores are at a disadvantage because customers can now access many movies on pay-per-view the same time they're released on DVD.

"The old way was, the theaters got them first, then they gave them to the stores, and then they showed up on cable," he said, adding there was several months in between. Now only a few studios still use the old system of distribution for bigger titles, giving the local stores a small window where they can compete with cable and streaming video services.

"I'm not liking that, but oh well," he said. "We can't compete, but customer service is what we offer."

One of the advantages that local rental stores have over the larger chains is they can be more responsive to customers' needs. DJ's Video in Ashland has built up significant loyalty with that in mind, said owner Andi Black.

"We've been in business since 1984," Black said. "So we've been pretty successful ... Part of our success has been due to lowering overhead, but we've also had a huge amount of support from the local Ashland community.

"Possibly where corporations lose the boat is getting in touch with the local community," she added. "I'm going to adapt to the times as best I can ... I listen to my customers and what they want."

Black's store at 258 A St. buys, sells and trades movies in addition to renting them, a change it made after listening to customer feedback. It has more than 25,000 titles in stock and can rent the blockbuster movies 30 days before Redbox — all of which has kept DJ's Video competitive in the local market.

"As a business owner, you find your niche, you stay in your niche, and you adapt with your niche," Black said. "Things change, and you never know what they're going to change into ... It's a crazy industry to be in."

Reach reporting intern Nils Holst at 541-776-4368 or email

Share This Story