Rogers Video to close in Whistler 

Lone remaining video store in Whistler liquidating product until June 19


Whistler is about to be left without a video store.

Rogers Plus, a cell phone, movie and video game retailer and rental outlet located in Village Marketplace, confirmed this week via signs in its windows that it is closing permanently.

The location is having a massive closing sale that will last until June 19, with used product selling for up to 75 per cent off or through one-for-two deals - specifically, you buy one product and you get two for free.

The location is closing as Rogers shuts down five locations in British Columbia, including another in the Lower Mainland.

Sara Holland, senior manager for regional communications with Rogers, said in an e-mail that the lease has expired on the Whistler location and the company decided not to renew it.

"Our customers still love their movies and games, but they want them anytime, any place and on different platforms," she said.

"We have approximately 350 retail stores across Canada. We have closed some stores as their leases come up but we continue to evolve others to entertainment and communications experience centres, featuring various products and services we offer."

On Monday morning, the first day of the closing sale, customers were lined up throughout the store, with shelves slowly going bare as people sought out the last remaining DVD's, Blu-Rays and video games. Three used video games and DVD's could be had for a total of $33.

The closure of the store was sad news for Sonia Mahoney, a Whistler resident for 12 years and mother of two, who walked out of Rogers Plus on Monday with two bags full of DVD's and video games.

"My son gave me a list last night and said, 'Mom, can you go and buy these games?'" she said. "So I came and got most of the stuff he wanted."

She said the store's closing would be a big loss for families looking to entertain their kids. Mahoney herself would come into the store once or twice a week.

"Family and games, they liked to come and rent them because it's better than buying games," she said. "Anytime they got a gift card for a birthday or something, they'd come and buy things."

Reasons for the closure were numerous. Traffic through the store was slow and downloading movies off the Internet has made it virtually unnecessary to go out and pay to rent a movie.

Jesse Demers, the owner of Pemberton's Pemberflix video store, said business has been slow at his location as well. Downloading, he said, is an issue, but another deterrent to people renting movies is that they have to pay fees if they return the movies late.

"Once people get late fees, they end up going away," he said.

Business has been slow enough at Pemberflix that Demers has thought about shutting it down but the closure of Rogers Plus might give his business a second wind. He could absorb the traffic from Rogers Plus because it's the closest video store to Whistler. The next closest store is Highlands Video in Squamish, about 70 kilometres down the road.

"I was going to go through the summer and if it didn't go well just close it down," Demers said. "Maybe I'll get that traffic back, I really don't know. I've been racking my brain to figure out what I want to try, at least."

The closure of Rogers Plus comes as the video industry has been dealt a deep blow with Blockbuster Video going into receivership, which has meant a massive sell-off of product at 146 Canadian stores before the whole chain shuts down in June.

Products such as DVD's are going for as little as $4 at the Blockbuster stores that remain and people have been reported as walking out of the stores holding more items than they can carry.



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