MARBLEHEAD (CBS) – It’s the end of an era for a business most of us didn’t know still existed. After 25 years, a movie rental store in Marblehead is calling it quits. Chet’s Video and Candy Shoppe is bringing down the curtain. The landmark store has survived for a long time in a tough environment, but the owners say, it’s time.
The shelves are still packed with movies at Chet’s but not for long. Friday is the last day for rentals and Saturday starts the everything must go sale.
“When we opened it, we tried to make it a family friendly place,” says Chet Strout. That was 1992.
Chet and Carrie Thomas opened the shop that has outlasted almost every other video store. “It’s the only one on the North Shore, I know that for a fact. It’s been a great run,” he says.
But after 25 years, they just can’t keep up with the Netflix and Hulu’s of the world.
“As long as there’s been a Chet’s, we’ve been coming to Chet’s,” says customer Lisa Sugarman. “I’m going to miss it, and I think the whole town is going to miss it,” adds Sue Harris, another longtime customer.
They added a candy shop some time ago and still give out free popcorn with each rental. “It’s been a really nice place to kind of bring together the community. It’s kind of been the center of town for over 25 years,” says Carrie Thomas.
And that’s Chet’s secret of longevity: relationships. “I always had a knack for names, remembering people’s names. Kind of like a Cheers atmosphere,” says Chet.
And that means customers became friends. “It’s family. It’s always ever been family, and you feel that the minute you walk through the door,” says Sugarman.
Chet’s daughter Melissa grew up in the business. “Having Chet’s as part of my life has meant everything to me. It’s not just a job, it’s something I get to share with my Dad,” she says.
She’ll still get to do that. The candy store will move down the street to a shared space with a frozen yogurt shop. “The goodies, the candy, different kinds of trading cards. Pokemon has lasted forever. It outlasted me,” Chet says laughing.
Keeping a movie rental store operating for that long is quite an accomplishment. Remember when it seemed like there was a Blockbuster on every corner? Well, we did some research and found that there are seven Blockbuster stores open in Alaska and Oregon. Soon there will be 6 because the one in North Pole, Alaska is about to close.