MOUNT VERNON – One of Knox County's last remaining brick-and-mortar video stores will soon close.
Family Video announced Tuesday that it plans to close its remaining 248 locations nationwide. This will include the Mount Vernon store, located at 408 Coshocton Ave., as well as 24 others in Ohio.
"Today, I have to make the difficult announcement that we are closing all Family Video locations," Keith Hoogland, CEO of Highland Ventures, the Illinois-based company that owns Family Video, said in a statement. "The impact of COVID-19, not only in foot traffic but also in the lack of movie releases, pushed us to the end of an era."
The last day to rent a movie will be Wednesday, the company's website stated. After that, stores will be closed once all items are sold. Customers will be able to purchase movies, video games, popcorn, gumball machines, shelves and more. The Mount Vernon Family Video will remain open from 12 to 8 p.m., seven days a week, until this merchandise is gone.
The company will continue to sell merchandise online, its website said. This includes movies, CBD products, t-shirts, memorabilia and more.
It's unclear when Family Video opened in Mount Vernon. Records from the Knox County Auditor's Office indicate the company purchased the half-acre property in 2007. It's also unclear how many people the store currently employs, and how many total will be impacted by these closures. Store representatives were not available for comment Wednesday.
Family Video was hailed as the last remaining big-box movie-store franchise in the U.S., outlasting Blockbuster, Movie Gallery and Hollywood Video by nearly a decade. It continued to add stores late into the 2010s, despite the rise of streaming services like Netflix and Amazon.
This August, facing pandemic- and industry-related pressures, the company announced the closure of roughly half of its 510 remaining locations. It began a campaign this fall called "#SaveTheVideoStore," in a last-ditch effort to garner support from customers.
"We're in the toughest spot we've probably ever been in, we need to think outside the box," Derek Dye, senior brand manager at Highland Ventures, told Retail Dive in December. "We need to be honest with our customers that we will not be here in the year 2021, 2022 if we don't intervene now."
Weeks later, the company announced the end of its 42-year run.
At its height, Family Video featured 800 locations across the U.S., employing roughly 10,000 people. Hoogland thanked his employees for their dedication on Tuesday, noting the impact they made on the communities they served.
"My proudest moments are those where our employees, at one point 10,000 of you, and customers came together to support the community through grass-roots events, report card successes, holiday meal donations and the support of lymphoma research and education," he said. "Your achievements are far-reaching and impactful."
Family Video bought and owned its brick-and-mortar locations, which allowed it to become flexible when finances tightened in recent years. The company was able to shrink the size of its video-rental sales floors, put up drywall and lease out space to other companies, like Subway and H&R Block. In Mount Vernon, a Marco's Pizza franchise populated the building's west end.
It's unclear what will become of 408 Coshocton Ave. after Family Video closes. Hoogland said Tuesday that his real estate group, Illinois-based Legacy Commercial Property, will maintain control of all outgoing Family Video properties moving forward.
"While we are disappointed in the closing of Family Video, we will remain tied to our communities through our Legacy Commercial Property division, owning and managing buildings in the community," Hoogland stated.
Those interested in potentially leasing space are encouraged to call 847-904-9200.
"I am extremely thankful to our employees and customers that were instrumental in Family Video's success," Hoogland said. "Without you, we would not have been the last man standing in our industry."