It’s not just the end of a business, it’s the end of an era.
After 25 years in Parksville, Flix ‘N’ Pix in Parksville, the last video store in the Parksville Qualicum Beach area, is closing its doors.
Current owners Claudio and Jacquie Fantinato have been running the video store for the past 21 years. The Fantinatos announced in early November the business would close.
Jacquie said the couple moved back to the Island from the Lower Mainland in 1996.
“We saw that this video store was for sale and we just bought,” said Jacquie, adding they hadn’t planned to be in this business.
Out of their 21 years of running the business, Claudio said, 18 were great.
Claudio said it was earlier this year the couple really noticed a bit of a drop in business.
“We realized, financially, that it doesn’t make sense to keep it open at this time. I mean, we’d love to, but there’s just not enough customers coming in,” Caludio said. “We knew the time was going to come and last year we really thought about closing it.”
But both Claudio and Jacquie said it’s been a fun 21 years.
“We have so many customers that have become friends and you know them personally,” Claudio said. You definitely get certain people on certain days. You always knew that this customer was coming in on a Wednesday because that was their day.”
For Jacquie, one of her fondest memories is seeing the customers grow up before her eyes.
“We’ve seen kids grow up here, and there are some that are coming in with their own kids,” said Jacquie, adding that she remembers some parents bringing their children into the store in car seats, and now those same children have graduated.
And the video store, Jacquie said, has been a big part of growing up for some families.
“We’ve had a few people come in here and say, ‘I’m looking for those old classic movies because I want to show them to my kids.’ I think that’s one of the sort of sad things about video stores closing is that parents aren’t going to be able to do that. You’re not going to be able to find them (the movies) that easily on the internet to show your kids the movies that you used to love,” she said.
The cause of the downturn in video store business, Jaqcquie said is partly to do with the internet, Netflix, Amazon Prime and other streaming sites, but also PVRs.
“I always thought a few years back when the PVR (came about), when that sort of hit, I said to (Claudio), ‘This is kind of the end of it. This PVR coming in, this is kind of where we see things start to taper off,’” said Jacquie, admitting they’re guilty of using PVRs as well.
But for some people in the region, Claudio said, streaming isn’t always an option.
“We have a lot of loyal customers who have supported us all the years we’ve been here. There are a lot of them coming in and saying, ‘What am I going to do?’ And surprisingly, they don’t have cable or internet,” he said.
Claudio said technology is affecting a lot of businesses.
“It started with the record stores. There used to be a record store on every corner of every town. Obviously, they all disappeared and now all the video stores are disappearing. The internet is really hurting retail in general.”
Even as technology changed over the years, so did Flix ‘N’ Pix.
Claudio and Jacquie said the store was all VHS tapes when they took over the business. Claudio said their store was the first in the area to go to DVD discs and, later, Blu-ray.
“In my mind, I kept thinking, ‘I’m going to keep my VHS right to the last minute,’” Claudio said. “I’ll be the last one keeping those customers happy.’ Well, I realized almost immediately, I better sell them all before they’re not worth anything.”
Claudio said everything in the store is 30 per cent off this week and the sales will continue. Claudio said the lease is up at the end of December, so he and Jacquie are hoping to have everything sold off by Christmas, if possible.
Flix ‘N’ Pix Video (138B Middleton Ave., Parksville) is open Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 8 p.m.