COLUMN: The end of the video store era

Today it’s difficult if not impossible to find a video store in many communities

In a few days, Homeside Video will close its doors, marking the end of an era for movie watchers in Summerland.

The store had an impressive collection of video cassettes and disks. With more than 12,000 titles, the video store carried everything from the latest releases to classic movies, foreign films, documentaries and some rather obscure titles.

It was fun to browse the shelves at Homeside. At times, when I’d look for one movie, I’d leave with something completely different.

But I haven’t gone in to rent a movie in at least five years.

Today, it’s far more convenient to use a video streaming service such as Netflix to watch the latest releases.

I don’t need to leave the house to pick up and return the video, and I don’t need to worry about late fees. All I need is a good high-speed internet service, something most of us have today.

In late February, when Homeside Video announced it was closing, I felt a touch of nostalgia. This video store had been part of Summerland for the past 28 years. The location was built specifically as a video store.

But I wasn’t surprised by the decision to close. Instead, I was amazed that a video rental store had managed to keep operating in Summerland this long.

Today it’s difficult if not impossible to find a video store in many communities.

The store owner said her decision to close was not because of online movies, but I doubt another video store will open in Summerland as long as movie watchers have access to video on demand services.

Changes in technology mean businesses and services which were once common have now faded away.

It’s hard to find stores specializing in records, cassettes and compact disks these days. I can’t remember the last time I played a record, and I don’t even know where to look to find a cassette tape.

This is not to say that records have become extinct.

The Summerland Library recently held an evening celebration of vinyl records, and there are music collectors who are looking for old records in good condition.

Still, vinyl records are something of a rarity today.

In summer I got rid of my turntable and most of my records. My tastes have changed over the years and the music I once enjoyed no longer stirs me in the same way.

Besides, I can go to online streaming services such as Spotify or I can purchase music as digital downloads.

The demand has also dropped off for typewriter repair services, slide rules, radio tubes, buggy whips, abacuses and other devices which were once common.

But there are also some new businesses, services and technological advances.

On Saturday, at the 80th annual Summerland Business and Community Excellence Awards, there were 11 nominees in the Rising Star/New Business Award category. This category is for businesses which have been operating for less than two years.

There are also businesses such as ElectroMotion Energy and Swiss Solar Tech Ltd., which work with innovation and new technology.

These have been around a little too long to qualify for the Rising Star/New Business Award, but they represent some exciting forward-thinking trends.

And other businesses have made changes in order to meet the needs their customers have today.

It would be easy to mourn the loss of businesses and services which were common in past years, but as consumers move away from some products and services, they are also embracing others.

The most successful businesses are the ones which recognize what their customers want and need today and find ways to meet those demands.

John Arendt is the editor of the Summerland Review.

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