If movie rental stores are dead, Tim Hillman missed the obituary.
The owner of Video View, Red Deer’s only remaining movie rental shop, is preparing to expand his business to a second location.
Operating at No. 4, 6842 50th Ave. for nearly two years, Hillman now plans to rent movies and games at 3121 49th Ave., beginning in September.
Those premises were used by Video Headquarters until two years ago, when its parent Movie Gallery Canada closed all of its outlets. Since then, Blockbuster Canada and Rogers Video have also exited the market.
Hillman isn’t prepared to declare defeat to online rental technology.
“There are some people that still prefer to go to a video store and rent a movie — to pick it off the shelf and have the physical medium in their hands.”
Many also want to play Blu-ray and 3D movies on their home entertainment systems, he added, and Video View offers a broader range of titles than pay-per-view services.
Hillman said his north Red Deer store has done well, with business growing following the closure of his local competitors.
“When Blockbuster and Rogers shut down, we saw more of a younger crowd,” he said, noting that it’s not just older people who rely on his store.
“It’s pretty much every age group out there.”
Some have commented that Video View is too far from the city’s south end.
“I think there’s a lot of business there that we’re not getting.”
That should change when Hillman opens his second outlet. It will offer DVD, Blu-ray and 3D movies, as well as all formats of games.
Hillman’s family helped pioneer the local movie rental business. His parents, Gordon and Joanne, bought a Video View store in Red Deer in the early 1980s and grew it into a 23-outlet chain.
They sold out in 1996, but Hillman and his siblings started a new video rental business called Video Headquarters. It expanded into a network of dozens of stores across Alberta, Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories, before Movie Gallery bought it in 2005.
Hillman doesn’t know if his current venture will grow beyond two locations.
“I’m not ruling it out,” he said, adding that his hands are full for now.
“Getting a second one on the south end of Red Deer was our top priority.”