Small video stores keeping pace with change

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks Sarah Scioli of Clovis, a manager at Talico Video and Book Exchange on Prince Street, places a video back on the shelf Tuesday. Scioli said the store has been in business for 30 years.

Kevin Wilson

Here lies the mom and pop video store.

The eulogy’s been written numerous times, whether it was the conversion to DVD, the video rental kiosk, national movie rental chains or the little red Netflix envelopes.

Yet there lies Talico Video and Book Exchange in Clovis, with a new coat of paint on the outside and new drink and snack options on the inside, with longtime clerks telling customers the “Knight and Day” DVD is due back tomorrow at 7 p.m.

And there lies Landall’s, in its renovated Fourth Street and Avenue C headquarters. Dozens of copies of “Inception” are awaiting rental, sitting on shelves Landall’s purchased from Movie Gallery closed this summer after the parent company filed for bankruptcy.

“It was always our goal to be the last man standing in town, and we’ve reached that goal,” said owner Peggy Goolsby, who noted that one more year in Portales makes it 20.

It’s been 30 for Talico Video and Book Exchange. Both have survived the transition with simple business devices — refuse to concede and offer services the others don’t.

Sarah Scioli, a manager at Talico, said the family-owned business is always looking for ways to use its space on 13th and Prince streets, especially since a VHS sale gutted most of the space dedicated to movies. Where stacks of tapes once lied, there are now soda fountains, refrigerators for smoothies and smoking supplies available at the drive-up window — one more revenue stream.

“Whenever we try (something),” said Scioli, who credits owner and uncle Mike Scioli for finding new features, “we keep it going, find other ways to improve.”

Scioli said a Ranchvale location they used to run had tanning beds, but their current location doesn’t have the electric requirements. Landall’s operates tanning beds — an easy revenue source, Goolsby said, because they have the space and they can stay open longer hours than stand-alone tanning operations.

The conversion to DVD helped in many simple ways, as discs are cheaper to produce and ship than cassettes.

“We just get a lot more copies,” Goolsby said. “We used to pay $60, $70 per copy for one VHS. The price has gone down, so we get a lot more copies.”

That same theory took root in other competitors. A Redbox kiosk wouldn’t be the size of a vending machine, and a Netflix envelope wouldn’t fit in a mail slot, if VHS was still the way to go (never mind heat damage).

But movies still depend on cooperation with studios, Goolsby said. The new releases Talico, Landall’s and Hastings in Clovis have now often aren’t available to Netflix and Redbox for the first 30 days of release.

“The studios won’t let them have those,” Goolsby said. “They don’t like them renting for a dollar; they don’t like the concept.”

Goolsby said Landall’s works with Rentrak, which can provide up to 133 copies and works on a commission basis. A portion of a new release’s rental price is transmitted at the point of sale — normally about $1.50 per rental —