Hollywood Video having an effect on Port Townsend rental stores

PORT TOWNSEND — Almost a month after a Hollywood Video outlet opened its doors in Port Townsend, three locally-owned video stores are discovering how loyal their customers are.

Two stores report that the presence of a major movie rental company in town has affected their business slightly.

“Not that I know of yet,” said Owen Bickford, owner of nearby Video Mart.

However, employees of Movies Plus!, located on Kearney Street next door to Hollywood Video, say they have noticed a drop in a number of customers.

“I see a lot of people going from the Co-op right into Hollywood Video, which amazes me,” said a Movies Plus! store manager who declined to give his name.

“We are not a multi-million business enterprise. We can’t put out $1 rentals.”

Steady flow of customers

Hollywood Video opened its Port Townsend store on Aug. 3 and its managers reported a steady flow of customers eager to rent 99-cent movies.

“This has been really good. Everything is on sale for 99 cents,” said Hollywood Video shift manager A.J. Joswick on Tuesday.

“The community has been accepting us.”

Hollywood Video encountered an opposition movement organized by a grass-roots anti-corporate group called Stop Hollywood Video.

The group’s efforts collected about 3,500 signatures on a petition opposing the Hollywood Video store.

In connection with the Stop Hollywood Video campaign, the Port Townsend City Council passed an interim ordinance that limits chain stores to the city’s commercial zone.

Although the ordinance has no direct effect on the Hollywood Video store, it does restrict chain stores to one per building.

Stop Hollywood Video members said that a major corporate business will negatively affect smaller video rental businesses already established in town.

Employees at Movies Plus! say that’s exactly what has happened.

Movies Plus! employees have placed movie sale signs in store windows and displayed a sign reading “Clearance Sale! Thank you P.T. for 22 years!”

The store is selling a lot of its merchandise, staff said.

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