So where do you rent your movies?
In the past, the Brainerd lakes area had several video rental stores where patrons could browse down the aisles and search the filled shelves looking for their favorite videos for movie night. And if they had a question about a new release or an older movie there would be a video salesperson to ask.
But times have changed and with technology, Netflix began to flood the video market and then Redbox kiosks began to fill the streets at local businesses.
The competition for video rental stores to make a profit was too much and many of the stores in Brainerd closed, except one - Cash Wise Video, located at 512 C Street Northeast—proven to stand the test of times.
Shawn Habiger, manager at Cash Wise Video, which is owned by Coborn’s, said they have 18,734 customers who are in their database system. Habiger said they have many repeat customers who are mainly from Brainerd, but customers also come from within a 30-mile radius to rent a movie or video game.
Habiger said Cash Wise Video has been in Brainerd since 1995. The store rents new releases, older movies, TV programs on DVDs, Blu-ray discs and video games. The store also sells both new and old movies and used video games.
“Our best year was in 2008 and after that we started to see a decline,” said Habiger. “That is when Netflix and Redbox began taking some of our sales away, but we are still making it. We saw about a 10 percent decline, but the last couple of years it has been steady.”
Netflix is an Internet subscription service where people can watch as many TV programs or movies as they want for a set monthly payment, which currently is $7.99 a month, according to the Netflix website. The website also states that Netflix has more than 27 million members in the United States, Canada, Latin America, the United Kingdom and Ireland. People can watch the movies and TV programs on TV or on their computers.
Redbox kiosks are located nationwide and allow a buyer to rent a movie or game for a low daily rate. People can rent their movie and drop it off at any of the Redbox locations.
In the Brainerd lakes area there are Redbox kiosks at both McDonald’s and Walgreens in Brainerd and Little Falls; Cub Foods, in Brainerd and Baxter; Walmart Supercenter, Cub Foods and Super One Foods, all in Baxter; Holiday Station Store in Nisswa, Crosby, Emily, Deerwood, Garrison and Little Falls; Supervalu in Pequot Lakes and Pine River; and County Market in Aitkin.
Cash Wise Video also is in competition from lakes area gas stations that carry rental movies and video games.
Habiger said Cash Wise Video has been able to make it through the competition through selling their products at a reasonable low rate. New releases run for $2.47 for seven nights and general movies are 99 cents for seven nights.
“Not all of our releases are for seven nights, but most of them are,” said Habiger. “And 80 percent of our movies are new releases.”
Habiger said the physical presence of the video store also is helpful, as customers can browse for movies and video games easier than on the computer or kiosk. Plus, if the customers have questions, staff is there to provide information.
Habiger said the video store has kept up with movie trends and has one movie, “The Lorax,” on 3-D.
“Once we see a wave of people coming in for 3-D DVDs we’ll get more,” Habiger said.
He added it doesn’t pay for the store to carry many 3-D movies, as not many of the customers have made the switch at home to purchase the equipment to play 3-D movies.
According to Habiger, the store has about 10,000 copies of DVDs, Blu-ray discs and video games. It also still has a small collection of VHS tapes that kids can rent for free.
Habiger said the Coborn’s corporate office picks out what movies the store will carry. He said with higher competition, more theatrical releases are purchased, instead of the not as popular movies.
“We’re seeing less and less of the odd movies here, but if customers ask for one we will try to get it,” said Habiger. “We want our customers to be happy.”
The store also sells pop, popcorn, candy, beef sticks and other goodies for customers to purchase, which makes it convenient.
Cash Wise Video employs two full-time people, which includes Habiger and four part-time employees.
Starting Labor Day, the store hours will change to 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. Previously the store was open until 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.