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How Family Video stays in business as Blockbuster reduced to one last store

Posted at 10:16 PM, Jul 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-19 23:16:38-04

As the official end of Blockbuster draws near, a Midwest-based chain of video rental stores still manages to keep more than 700 locations open. 

Two of the three remaining Blockbuster stores closed this week, leaving one final location in Oregon. But step into a Family Video location in Wisconsin, and you'll find plenty of customers who still like picking out movies in person. 

"The industry has definitely changed a lot but we like to think we've got a great customer base," said Eric Berg, district manager at Highland Ventures, the parent company of Family Video. 

Berg has worked there 15 years, starting as a part-timer in college and working his way up. 

"It's a source of entertainment," he said. "There is a customer base that wants to come here and talk to someone and say 'how was 'Blockers' or how was 'Rampage?'' That's something you can't get anywhere else." 

It hasn't always been easy, he says. 

"We've also closed locations," said Berg. "We have stores or markets that don’t perform, we'll make the tough decision and ultimately close them down." 

Berg says many stores are now paired with a Marco's Pizza, which helps draw people in. 

But perhaps the biggest reason families keep coming back: free movies for kids. 

"We look for kids movies and action movies," said Frida Vidal. "I got 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid.'" 

The company also offers a major incentive for employees to stay with the company. After a certain number of years and once a certain level is reached, the company will pay for employees' children to go to college. 

Berg says they are also active in community fundraising and charity efforts.