Taking a visit to Middle Tennessee's last video rental stores

Taking a look at Middle Tennessee's last video stores
Posted at 6:50 PM, Feb 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-11 07:35:19-05

MCMINNVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Even after we lost the big names like Blockbuster and Hollywood Video, some of our communities still had those nostalgic movie rental stores. The pandemic saw the closing of many more of those places.

Captain Video and Tanning once had 12 locations, but everything's just been auctioned from their Portland and White House stores. Captain Video is now gone, just like the Family Video stores closed last year and many other major movie rental stores disappeared about a decade ago. This is something that changed fast. In the year 2000, there were more than 28,000 movie rental places across the country.

So, does this mean there are no movie rental stores left in middle Tennessee? No, it doesn't mean that.

David Williams and wife Susan Rogers run Northside Video in McMinnville. It's been there 38 years, and it comes complete with, yes, an overnight movie drop. While Redbox and then streaming led to the end of the major chains, the customers at Northside Video love the in-person conversation about movies.

"I still love the magic of movies," Williams smiled.

"We have about 12,000 titles of movies," Rogers added.

"There's The Town That Dreaded Sundown, off the market for forever," Williams said, showing a customer.

"You wanna watch an old movie, they've got it," said a customer.

"You might find some things to watch that become your faves," added another.

"We've become a family here," Williams said, referring to the customers. "They're the ones that keep us going."

Even with that loyalty, the pandemic hasn't been easy for the few remaining video stores.

"Hollywood had to shut down almost completely, and we've seen very few movies coming through," said Williams.

Jimmy Allen, the owner over at Captain Video, told NewsChannel 5 his rent got high, and with people not getting out in the pandemic as much, he had to end his business of 40 years.

Williams and Rogers are hanging on in McMinnville. They're not alone. Other movie rental stores still in Middle Tennessee include Video Villa in Mt. Pleasant. Running one of the last stores, William and Rogers know there's something special about that.

"These are our friends," said Rogers. "They're more than customers. We've seen their kids grow up. We're probably in our third generation of families. We don't have children, but they're like our kids."

"Bring the kids," said Williams. "Let them pick out something, you pick out something. Y'all go home and have some popcorn. Have a good soda. Have a good family night together."