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Rhinelander's Family Video to Soon Close

Erin Gottsacker/WXPR

The shelves at Family Video are beginning to look empty.

Last week, the video rental chain announced it will sell its stock of movies and video games.

Then, its 250 remaining stores will permanently close.

Jordan Strand has worked at Rhinelander’s Family Video for the past six years.

She knows the customers that come to the store every day and the movies they check out over and over again.

Credit Erin Gottsacker/WXPR
Jordan Strand stands behind the desk at Family Video in Rhinelander, WI.

“They’re getting their favorites that they watch many times,” she said.

Despite a lineup of movie streaming services, Strand said some customers stop in Family Video every day for their fix of films.

“A lot of my customers have told me that they can’t get good streaming,” she said. “Being out in the woods or something, they have bad internet, or it just doesn’t work very well.”

When COVID-19 reached the Midwest last year, Family Video took a hit.

Customers that used to come to the store to rent a movie, stayed home.

“After quarantine it was kind of much slower than before,” said Strand. “I’m sure a lot of our semi-regulars jumped on streaming when they couldn’t go anywhere. And I understand. I definitely stream things too.”

After losing customers and dealing with a year of uncertainty in Hollywood, the chain announced it would liquidate its inventory before closing for good.

That means movies at Rhinelander’s Family Video are selling fast.

Some shelves are already bare.

“The store feels weird, empty-ish,” Strand said.

Erin Gottsacker worked at WXPR as a Morning Edition host and reporter from December 2020 to January 2023. During her time at the station, Erin reported on the issues that matter most in the Northwoods.
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