A movie rental store has recently opened again in downtown Belleville.
Nigel Hartwell has opened Jumbo Video on North Front Street near Craig Street.
Hartwell admits some people thought he was out of his mind to try renting physical copies of movies in the age of streaming.
“I got that from my wife. She was like, are you crazy? I said no, I think now is the time. Belleville is the place because they had a video store, up to two years ago, and I’ve been right, they wanted it back,” said Hartwell.
The video store has only been open for a week, but it appears to be building a loyal customer base that enjoy the ‘old school’ experience of picking out a movie by hand, instead of scrolling through the libraries of streaming services.
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“I’ve had to unfortunately go to Netflix,” said Jumbo Video customer Tiffany Rhode. “Now that they’re open again, I’m probably going to get rid of my subscription and come back to this.”
Chris Hartwell, another Jumbo Video customer, is equally enthusiastic about the store’s return.
“I did not expect to see a video store. It’s just been so great because I think everyone in town needs a video store. Every small town, or even a big city, needs a place to rent movies,” said Hart.
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Hartwell says DVD rentals are starting off very well, but the main driver of his business is collectibles, ranging from autographed headshots of movie stars to movie posters.
“I have a great deal of contacts in the props and replica departments, also, travelling with the films that I make, we go to horror conventions. We get to meet a lot of people, and we make deals,” said Hartwell.
Hartwell will see over the coming months if movie rentals have managed to shift from out of date technology to retro cool much like record albums have.