NORFOLK - What does it take to run a classic video rental store in 2021?
While the brick and mortar shops that once dotted communities the world are disappearing left and right, one man in Norfolk is keeping physical media alive.
“This business was always location,” said Chris Logan, owner of Chris Logan’s Call Video, “you might live next door and your favorite store is way across town, you’ll come here. Because it’s next door, you know?”
Established in 1994, the store has survived the decades to be more than just a relic of a world gone by - supported by collectors, tourists, and, most of all, local die hard fans.
“I probably should have went out of business 7 years ago, but my customers just say ‘don’t go out of business, oh no!’” Logan said, “so I stick around!”
It’s an old school concept that’s withstood the test of time. Media as new as blu-ray and as old as Atari cartridges line the shelves. And the selection does not disappoint.
“I get a lot of comments on this,” Logan said, pointing at his Super Nintendo section, “people just ‘I’ve never seen that!’”
While the pandemic had people and businesses locking down, Logan decided to keep his shop open. Being one of the only businesses with the lights still on brought a flood of commerce to his shop.
With the rush over, things are getting a little slow again. But Logan came up with a plan.
"I made a new friend the other day," Logan said, "and his name is Lessmore."
"And he tells me that less is more. So we sat down and kicked it around and came up with an idea for this business. The way that it works is if you rent one movie for $10, as many times as you can watch a movie in one month, it's $10. No late fees. No nothing."
And you can swap out that $10 rental for a different movie any time you want.
The digital revolution is devastating the physical media industry, turning places like Blockbuster into a fading memory. Chris Logan’s Call Video store may be one of the last of its kind, but he’s confident in his odds.
"Should be able to compete against Netflix and everybody else because you can't beat the price," he said, "and you can't beat the selection. I got them all beat on selection."