Blockbuster Goes Bust

The recent “06880” post on the local BP station “gas sale” drew nearly as many comments as the number of gallons of oil spilled in the Gulf Coast.

Meanwhile, across the street, another financial story is unfolding.

Blockbuster is about to file for bankruptcy.  (The chain, that is — not the local outlet, which saw the writing on the wall a while ago and shrunk by half.  The rest of the building now houses a big-and-tall men’s store, which for some reason I never patronize.  Go figure.)

Some see the demise of Blockbuster as a sign that the company failed to adapt to changing technologies and tastes.  It was done in, they say, by Netflix, Redbox and streaming video.

Others see it as market payback for a company that charged usurious late fees, advertised “2-day rentals” that were really 1 night only, and did not stock indie films or controversial documentaries.

As someone who avoids chain outlets whenever possible — Doc’s vs. Starbucks is a no-brainer — I see Blockbuster’s bye-bye as karma.

Back in the pre-Blockbuster day, Westport was awash in mom-and-pop video rental stores.  A funky hole-in-the-wall place next to Westport Pizzeria carried 1 copy of every film ever made, in countries even the UN never heard of.

There was a shop in Westfair, and others sprinkled around town.

Blockbuster drove them all out — and such was its domination, I can’t even remember their names.

I do recall Circuit City, Caldor and Sam Goody — area stores that Blockbuster may soon join in that great retail graveyard in the sky.

If you remember any Westport video stores — from that long-ago era of the 1990s — click the “comments” link.

In the meantime, if you’re not a Netflix, Redbox or streaming video fan — or you just want a change of pace — I’ve got 2 words for you:

Westport Library.

17 responses to “Blockbuster Goes Bust

  1. Sensible One

    Dorain Drugs on Main Street used to have a video section – I don’t remember how vast the collection was (if at all) but I do remember my children choosing movies to bring home.

  2. Dan:

    Sorry to kill your schadenfreude moment. The prepack bankruptcy will only allow the major debtholders of Blockbuster corporate debt to convert their debt into the equity of the company and essentially wipe out the equityholders and kill or renegotiate leases. They may still close the Westport store, but Blockbuster is not liquidating like Caldors, etc. (yet).

  3. Debbie Solomon

    I can’t remember the name of the small WONDERFUL video shop next to Westport Pizzeria but the man who owned it was named Peter and he recommended the best movies. There was also a talking parrot in the shop that my sons (little at the time) LOVED. Once when I asked Peter to recommend a movie and I had my back turned to him a man handed me one and said “this is a good one”. When I turned around it was Paul Newman and NO, it was not a Newman film though I was so stunned I don’t remember what it was!

  4. The Blockbuster in Westport was a frequent Friday night destination through high school. Any chance if it goes under that Fudruckers will come back!!?!

  5. I love “old Westport” chats! Come fall/winter, it’s time to think about Ship’s chowder and burgers! Of course there was never a bad time to go to Big Top – I can still smell Big Top. My favorite neighbor of Westport Pizza was Soup’s On, I loved the French Onion with a pumpernickle raisin roll and that delicious creamy watercress dressing. Video Connection was a great local video store, as well. My favorite retail store was Selective Eye and I also bought up Sweet Pea of all the satin pillows. Dorain’s had the best magazine collection and I used to get my Clove cigarettes there too! I quit those, though 🙂 What I miss most? Everyone saying hello on Main Street, saying thank you when you hold the door open, and knowing everyone who worked in the stores. I worked at Susan Sheilds!

    Thank you for indulding me on this trip down Memory Lane! I don’t have my reading glasses on, so please forgive me if I have any typos!!

    Enjoy your day! One thing I will always love about Westport is walking in the back of downtown and looking at the Saugatuck River in all her glory. I say that when the sun hits her just right, it looks like there are diamonds dancing on her. She’s on of Westport’s great beauties!!

    There are still some wonderful places here, like Docs! I will always love Westport, it’s my home!!

  6. Oh, and fondue at Pearl’s! Off to get my coffee now 🙂

  7. Conspicious Constipation

    According the manager, Sarah, the filing of the Chapter 11 bankruptcy
    by Blockbuster-Corporate will not affect their franchise here in Westport. As to old time video, Bill’s Smoke Shop used to have old time porn (reel to reel) in the way back by the can (excuse my pun) back in the late 50’s. If you knocked three times, with an pause between each knock, you would be let in the back door and gain access to the three films they had. Not that I ever tried it.

  8. There was a good video store in the little mall of shops where Earth Animal is now – World Video or something like that. It wasn’t there long,maybe 1996 – 1998? They had a good selection of independent and foreign films.

  9. Suzanne Taylor

    Hi Dan,
    I used to go to World Video in Peters Bridge Market (also gone) center in Saugatuck. I loved the set up, selection, and especially the guy who ran it. I could get anything there, or he would order it. We went there for years while my kids were growing up. They could stop and pick up videos and because he knew them, it was no hassle. I was sorry to see it go.

  10. Max Stampa-Brown

    Blockbusted 🙁

  11. Conspicious Constipation

    I agree Max. I like the ole Block. Nice folks and they will
    reserve for ya. Across the street is where I would like to see
    flop into Chapter 11.

  12. I* think* the video store in the Parker-Harder plaza behind Westport Pizzeria was called Seven Seas.

  13. You’re right, Dan. Peter’s Video Connection (?) was right next door to the Seven Seas gift shop. Peter was a deep source of movie information. In fact, he turned me on to IMDB (Internet Movie Data Base), for which I am eternally grateful. We were very sorry to see him go. Before that, you could find a treasure trove of films in the SoNo Cinema lobby in Norwalk. We traveled for that. They disappeared in the night. Sad.

  14. Wasn’t there was a place in Saugatuck, too, where Tutti’s restaurant is now, in front of the Black Duck? Can’t remember the name…

  15. The video store where Tutti’s is now located was called World Video. The owner’s name was Charlie. He previously was located in Bridge Square. A young David Arcuddi worked there – and both were very knowledgable and very friendly.

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