One of the Miami Valley’s last independent video rental stores will soon close after competing for the past 27 years against chain stores, Red Box and streaming services.
First opening in 1990, Curry’s Video Plus in the small Miami County village of West Milton will begin a liquidation sale on Monday and will close when everything has been sold.
Owner Candace Curry was in tears Thursday talking to me about her small business located on South Miami Street or Ohio 48 in the heart of downtown West Milton.
“I’m going to miss the people I have met along the way, many who have become my friend. It’s never been a job to me,” Curry said.
When Curry bought the business, she acquired 367 VHS movie tapes and 36 video games. Today, her collection contains around 7,200 DVDs and video games.
It’s the last independent video store in Miami County.
“There are too many ways to get movies today. I can’t compete anymore,” Curry said.
The final death knell for the video store has been Red Box, the video rental kiosks that appeared in town about eight years ago. Streaming services have also killed video game rentals. “It pretty much dried up three or four years ago,” Curry said.
Curry’s customer list still contains 4,100 members. Not all of them are current, but the membership is impressive when you operate a business in town with a population of 4,700.
The business was extremely profitable for Curry until about 2005. She said there are “just too many things for people do in their homes these days.”
“Back in the 1990s you either watched TV or rented a movie. Now people can stream anything they want over the Internet,” Curry said.
Curry started the business with her husband, Michael. In the beginning, she would run the store during the day and Michael would operate the store at night when he got home from work. Both of their children, Dustin and Brittany, worked at the store and earned their high school spending money at the business.
“My parents have put their lives into this business over the years,” Dustin Curry said. “My parents deserve the recognition that they have literally done everything possible to try and save the business and we all know renting movies and video games is just dying off with technology.”
Three part-time employees still work at the store. Curry said her employees have been loyal. One woman worked for Curry for 17 years.
Good customer service has allowed the video store to last this long, Curry said. “You could call us with any question or request and we found a way to make it work,” Curry said.
Curry, 62, said she did not know what she would do in retirement, “Maybe I’ll watch a few movies.”
Her favorite, “The Christmas Story.”
Running a small business has been a struggle at times, but rewarding for Curry.
“You get to be president, accountant and bottle washer all at the same time. I’ll miss every bit of it,” Curry said.