BELOIT—Two Family Video stores in Beloit, two stores in Janesville and one in Roscoe, Illinois will be closing by Oct. 19.
On Monday, Store Manager Missy Foger and District Manager Brianna Carlson were packing up the 905 Henry Ave. store in Beloit, with plans to close the other stores on Oct. 19. Prior to the closure, the store had been selling its DVDs, games, shelving and televisions. The remaining stock will be shipped to its remaining stores in the region located in Loves Park and Belvidere, Illinois.
“We are stopping rentals today across town and letting people know,” Carlson said.
Foger and Carlson attributed the closure primarily to COVID-19. The store had been doing well prior to a six-week shutdown. It even had a flurry of shoppers the weekend before the March shutdown as people prepared to hunker down to shelter in place. After the store re-opened in May, business was slow especially with no new releases from the film industry due to COVID-19. People cooped up during the shutdown may have also gotten more in the habit of streaming movies online.
Carlson said the store received inquiries over the years how it stayed in business so long as streaming became more common. Part of the reason, she said, was because Family Video has owned its stores and had no rent payments. Family Video will continue to own the buildings and will look for new businesses to rent to.
Foger said it could mean something new and exciting for Beloit.
Foger, originally from Belvidere, will be moving to work at the Belvidere store. She has worked for the company for 16 years and in Beloit for a year. She said she will miss her customers.
“You get to know everybody. You know them by name. They know my family band I know theirs because we form those relationships with customers,” Foger said.
It’s especially difficult for Carlson who grew up in Beloit and started working at the Liberty Avenue store when she was 18 after graduating from Turner High School.
“I fell in love with it and have been ever since and worked my way up and moved around to a bunch of different stores,” she said.
Carlson said customers often stop and see her at the various stores when they spot her car.
“There are people who have known me since I was 18,” Carlson said. “My customers saw me grow up.”
Despite the closure, Carlson and Foger are optimistic the right businesses will be found to bring a new chapter and new opportunities to Beloit, Janesville and Roscoe.
The Family Video at 1402 Liberty Ave. opened in 1998 and the 905 Henry Ave. store opened in 2001.