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Independent video store survives the digital age

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PHOENIX -

It wasn't long ago that Blockbuster was the behemoth driving the small mom and pop video stores out of business, but after Wednesday's news, some of those mom and pop stores actually outlasted Blockbuster.

Yes, movie rental stores still exist and we found one that's been able to survive through the digital age.

VHS tapes and VCRs -- that's what was out when Superstar Video first opened for business and I'm probably dating myself when I say I remember those days.  I used to go to the video store and pick out a VHS movie to watch.

That blast from the past scenario is not completely extinct -- well, the VHS tapes are, but not the experience.

Back in the day, there was no Redbox or Netflix.  There was only the video store -- an actual building you would go into, sort through the movies on the shelf and pay cash at the register to rent them.

Then a worker would tear off a paper receipt and hand it and the movies to you.

This scene is actually playing out in the present day.

"We've been actually at this location since 1989," said Superstar Video's Assistant Manager Jacob Maertz.

Longtime customer John McGill started coming here when VHS tapes lined the shelves.

"Love the variety, love the people, the personality, you can sit there and talk movies."

For some customers, getting out of the house and driving to the video store isn't such a hassle.

"It's just a lot easier than through the mail.  I'm just not that tech savvy.  I get in the car, be here in two minutes, get what I want and be back home," said Robert Kellner.

They still have movies on actual shelves and they still print receipts on dot matrix printers, but one thing customers say will never become old fashioned is the customer service.

"I was in here the other day and I asked them about some movie that nobody had heard of," said Kellner.

"Trying to find those hard to find movies you know you saw the movie a long time ago but you can't think of the name," said McGill.

The kind of personal service you can't get from a box and it's not just the older generation walking through these doors.  Managers say they get new customers who are in their 20s every day that think of the video store as a novelty.

"When they come in they're like, yay a video store.. I can actually come into and rent something," said James.

The assistant manager says it's they're loyal, long time customers who've been going there since the 1980's that keep them in business.  And customers say that's one thing this mom and pop store has that Blockbuster maybe didn't -- that personal loyalty from their customers who look forward to coming in and actually talking to someone about movies, instead of dealing with a box or the computer.

Superstar Video
802 W. Osborn Rd.
Phoenix, AZ 85013
(602) 274-9444

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