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Now that’s family entertainment

Written by Neal F. Litherland. Posted in Dining & Entertainment, Entertainment

Published on September 13, 2011 with No Comments

Technology has a way of changing the way we do things.

For instance, the advent of high-speed Internet and the ability to watch movies directly through your television or computer gave a huge leg-up to companies like Netflix.

Vendors like Red Box also moved right into the niche market for instant gratification, offering videos that you could access whenever you had the need for a late-night movie

 Of course these and other factors eventually led to the thinning out of more traditional video stores like Blockbuster and Movie Gallery.

All hope is not lost.

Family Video is helping take up the slack locally and throughout the Midwest.

The story of the video store is a fairly interesting one. It spans more than 50 years.

In 1953, Charlie Hoogland took over his father’s company, Midstate Appliance and Supply. For nearly 20 years Charlie ran the business, concentrating on appliances. By the 1970s the company came into possession of a large number of videotapes that were first considered as a burden. Turning them into a business venture, he decided to rent the tapes out.

Thus Family Video was born.

Since that time, Family Video has become one of the remaining contenders in the video rental business that follows a traditional format.

There are more than 735 Family Video stores in 19 states, all of which are catering to an entertainment market which is a vital part of Saturday night for many folks.

And what’s even more impressive is Family Video has done it by providing the same service as its competitors but with a lot of immediate benefits for members who patronize the stores rather than going online for their needs.

“Here at Family Video we have sections for kids’ movies and non-fiction movies free of charge,” Rella Baker, the manager at Family Video’s Valparaiso Branch said. “Also, for your first month of membership everything that you rent at Family Video is half-price. If you want to pay a small fee though, you can keep getting that rate, which is great if you rent a lot of movies and don’t want to break the bank.”

This is a great answer to online services that offer “free streaming” to paid members. It doesn’t cost the consumer anything to become a member at Family Video, and you only pay when you want to rent a movie.

As to payments, anyone used to other video stores might be shocked when coming to Family Video.

The “Favorites” section (all movies that have been in stock for a while, ranging from classics to those that came out a few months ago) are two rentals for $1. For people used to the $5 for three night’s policy that many older stores offer, it can be a real shocker.

Newer films, occupying that space between “Favorites” and “New Releases” are $1 each to rent and even the “New Releases” are $3 dollars and change for the most part. This comes with the additional benefit that many times Family Video will offer movies before they are available at Red Box or other vendors.

“The video business isn’t dying out,” Baker said, a confident statement after 16 years of employment with the family-owned Family Video chain. “We have a great corporate team, and they make good decisions. It’s why I feel that Family Video is here to stay.”

“And it’s a great place to work,” Amanda Mendez, a Family Video employee added.

There are a few picky points. Family Video’s selection, while constantly updated, may seem odd to some. Foreign films and independent productions rank side by side with summer blockbusters, and finding the first film in a series can sometimes be impossible due to reverse-order purchasing on film chronology. However you can request that a particular Family Video branch order a movie for you, similar to how a library may send books back and forth between different branches when patrons need a copy.

But, for casual renters and those who aren’t serious film buffs, Family Video can fulfill your rental needs. There are stores located conveniently all over Northwest Indiana.

For more information about Family Video, call 219-464-4142 for the Valparaiso store at 2502 Calumet Ave. or visit www.familyvideo.com.

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About Neal F. Litherland

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All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Neal Litherland is a Valparaiso resident who has been a freelance writer for several years. A graduate of Indiana University, he holds a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice. He offers advice on money-saving tips using common-sense tactics. He welcomes suggestions and comments. Contact Neal: neal@thechroniclenwi.com.

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