10.11.2010

B'Spa's Movie Store, last of independent rental shops, shuts doors

Glenn Hamilton’s movie store business started 23 years ago in Cohoes, when his grandmother asked him “what those video things are” and suggested he look into it. Hamilton, then 26, promptly launched a store and a business that grew to include four other stores throughout the Capital District.

That era, from the late ’80s to early ’90s, was prime for the video rental business.

On Friday, his last remaining Movie Store closed for good after 3-1/2 years in Ballston Spa’s Carousel Village Plaza on Route 50.

Hamilton, who owned the store with his wife, Charlene, gave the same reason as other area rental store owners who have shuttered their doors in the last year: “Technology and delivery methods just got the best of us.”

“People are just more comfortable sitting at home and browsing titles than walking into a store,” Hamilton said. “As we’ve seen, Hollywood Video and The Movie Gallery were the first to go completely bankrupt and close their doors. I really think delivery methods are the big killer for the business.”

In September, Blockbuster joined the list of rental chains that have declared bankruptcy, after struggling to compete with Red Box kiosks and video-on-demand services like Netflix.

The recession also hit the Movie Store hard, as it did Saratoga Springs’ last independent rental business, the Drive-In Movie Store on South Broadway, which closed in May.

“We saw a big drop when the economy did fall out, and we’ve never really recovered from it,” Hamilton said.

The store had two employees at last count, in addition to the owners.

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