Only Indian Trail store will remain open
The Blockbuster store in Wesley Chapel, at 5924 Weddington-Monroe Road, no. B1, stopped renting videos Thursday, Feb. 3, along with stores in the Arboretum shopping center, 8016 Providence Road, No. 200; in the Providence Commons shopping center, 5130 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy.
One employee said the stores will remain open until March 13, while the staff manages sales of store inventory. The sales start Friday, Feb. 4.
Shannon Mare, manager of the Arboretum store, said she could not comment on the closing and referred a Union County Weekly reporter to Blockbuster’s corporate headquarters in Texas.
In a two-paragraph press released, Blockbuster appeared to deny that any stores are closing. The first paragraph said, “As part of the recapitalization process, Blockbuster will be evaluating its U.S. store portfolio with a view towards enhancing the overall profitability of the store operations. No decisions have been made at this time. Currently, all 3,000 of the company’s stores in the U.S. will remain open. Decisions will be made on a store-by-store basis over the next several months. More information is available at http://www.blockbuster.com/recapitalization.”
Blockbuster employees said one Union County store will remain open, the Indian Trail location at 13719 Independence Blvd. Other local stores in Matthews, at 9600 E. Independence Blvd and south Charlotte, at the Ballantyne Commons shopping center at 15235 John J. Delaney Drive, off Johnston Road, will remain open.
Blockbuster sought protection in bankruptcy court last September, seeking to rid itself of $1 billion in debt while also trying to better compete with rivals like Netflix, which allows consumers to get videos by mail or streaming on the Internet, and RedBox, whose low-cost kiosks seem to have sprung up every where.
The New York Times reported Blockbuster was the “dominant force in the movie rental market” for 25 years but failed to anticipate how technology would change the industry. Apple, which sells and rents films and TV shows through iTunes, and cable TV providers that have their own on-demand services also contributed to Blockbuster’s woes.