FINAL FAREWELL: Network Video Gympie will close its doors next week.
FINAL FAREWELL: Network Video Gympie will close its doors next week. Donna Jones

BREAKING: Gympie's last video store forced to close for good

FINAL credits are rolling for Gympie's last video rental store, which will close its doors for the last time next week.

The closure of Network Video on Duke St is a sign of the times for the all-but extinct industry, swallowed by the popularity of online streaming services like Netflix and Stan.

Network Video took over the building used previously by Blockbuster and Videoflicks in March last year, when businessman Peter Fife made his bid to keep the industry alive in the Gympie region.

TIMELINE

Mr Fife, an owner of video stores in the Noosa, Gympie and Sunshine Coast regions since 1987, said a sudden and dramatic drop in rentals was behind the decision to pack up for good.

"It was good up until November last year," he said.

"We were taking in between $11,000-$12,000 a week, and then all of a sudden, $8500.

"I don't know what happened, whether it was Netflix or any of those things that are options to people today, but something happened in November and here we were going into the busiest time of the year in December and January in the school holidays and it just died.

"I think we did $7900 last week.

"It's not viable and that's why we're getting out."

 

Peter Fife (left) and Sam McFarlane at Network Video on Duke St, which is closing its doors next week.
Peter Fife (left) and Sam McFarlane at Network Video on Duke St, which is closing its doors next week. Josh Preston

Mr Fife reclaimed his former store with more than just movies on his mind, wanting to provide continuity of employment for his staff, some of which had previously worked for him long-term.

Having also owned successful stores in Noosa Junction, Nambour and Noosaville, he said it was a "sad thing" video stores are disappearing, and it's a "shame" that streaming services have taken over.

"Many people enjoyed coming to video stores to ask questions of staff ... and they'd be able to recommend things for people to watch.

"I find it very impersonal that you're doing all this from your homes, you're not having the benefit of using the staff's experience.

"To tell you the truth I didn't think Australia would go that way.

"I'm a little bit surprised that this thing's working; that other forms of entertainment are working over video stores, but I got it wrong.

"I'm very happy I had a go."

 

Cholena Smith, Sonia Van Twest and Peter Fife at Gympie's Network Video store last year.
Cholena Smith, Sonia Van Twest and Peter Fife at Gympie's Network Video store last year. Jacob Carson

Mr Fife said he "feels for" the remaining customers who prefer to rent DVDs, and was "thankful that we've been able to offer a service to them".

Store Manager Cholena Smith, who previously served as Mr Fife's 2IC in Noosa, said she would miss her customers and staff the most.

"Gympie people are amazing, they're beautiful," she said.

"I've been with Peter for 11 years and I love this industry.

"Thanks to all of those from all of us who did support us and became part of our lives. We're really going to miss them."

Staff member and movie fanatic Sam McFarlane said the store's "sense of community" would be sorely missed.

"We had great customers who love their movies," he said.

Network Video will stop renting out movies to customers from next Tuesday, April 3, and start selling the whole video library.

They are also selling limited amounts from their library of an estimated 30-35,000 movies prior to next Tuesday, with prices ranging from from $2 -$15.

Gympie Times


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