“Our last day is going to be Saturday and then we’ll be locking the doors as of Saturday,” store manager Jessica Francis said. “We wanted to say thank you to everyone in Norwalk for seven years of great business.”
Family Video was at 80 Whittlesey Ave. for seven years.
“We wanted to let Norwalk know it wasn’t our fault. We would have stayed, (but) the landlord raised the rent. That’s why we had to pull (out),” Francis said.
The Family Video stores in Bellevue and Sandusky will remain open. Francis was asked if those locations are likely to stay in place.
“Bellevue for sure because we own that property. Sandusky is a lease also, but we have another lease for a year there and she hasn’t raised our rent there and we’re hoping she doesn’t,” said Francis, who runs the Sandusky store.
The store manager said one of the reasons that Family Video franchise has stayed around is it’s family-owned. Charlie Hoogland started the business in 1978 and now has about 740 locations in 19 states and Canada. Hoogland’s son, Keith, is the current owner.
“(Hoogland) had a warehouse and had got a whole bunch of VHS tapes and didn’t know what to do with them, so he decided to start his own store. And from there it just grew,” Francis said.
The Norwalk location has been selling part of its stock at sharply reduced prices. The selection of DVDs and Blu-rays is limited.
“A lot of it is picked over,” Francis said. “(On Sunday) we started the final liquidation. Your $12.99 movies are now $3.49. We have a lot of games still left — Xbox1 and PlayStation 4 that are left that price-reduced too. Anything in our dollar section is 50 cents now.”
Customers have been emotional about the store closing.
“Everybody is so sad. We have people coming in and crying and we’re like ‘oh (wow),’” Francis said. “It would be nice to thank the city of Norwalk for letting us be here.”