Film lovers’ store to close its doors

After 16 years of providing the city with unique and hard-to-find films, Generation X Video & Media, better known as GenX, is planning to close its doors. While countless loyal customers are sad to see it go, GenX owner Mike Greaves feels that he’s shutting down the business on a “high note.”

Establishing GenX while studying film at the University of Waterloo (UW), Greaves explained, “The initial concept was to supply movies for the students who needed to get the movies so they wouldn’t have to go to Toronto and appeal to the art house crowd out there that was going to the Princess Cinemas already.”

The promising market kept GenX successful since its opening; however the last few years have seen a decline in business.

“It is the trend in the industry along with the trend of demographics that have sort of hit us from all directions,” explained Greaves. The trend in the industry reflects the move towards digital media that is slowly making traditional video rentals obsolete.

Reflecting on the transition to current technology, Greaves noted that the onset of DVDs brought a boom to the industry by making available films that were previously inaccessible on VHS. However, the following shift to downloading movies and other media have begun to show a negative impact on the business.

“It seems to me to be a more efficient way of doing things,” Greaves said in support of new technology. “I’m a little sad that the studios haven’t gone harder into bringing this stuff online so that it’s easier to access.”

While the youth market has shown some decrease in interest for GenX as a result of downloading, the other groups the store relies on are also visiting less frequently.

“The baby boomers are aging and as people get older they have a tendency to rent less movies,” said Greaves. As for the those in their 30s and 40s — or the “Generation X and Generation Y crew” as Greaves called them — their young families have kept them away from renting movies.

Although business declined only slightly in each age group, the accumulation led Greaves to make his decision to close.

With the last day to rent movies set for Feb. 14, and the official closing of the store on Feb. 28, customers from all demographics have been flooding the store to buy their favourite and now discounted products.

“We have a very large collection, so even with the last three days being absolutely chaotic here we still have 13 [or] 14,000 films on the shelves,” Greaves assured, meaning customers still have plenty of time to shop.

Greaves plans to take a break for his first year off and pursue his hobby of coaching two teams on the local roller derby. Following that, Greaves explained that he will wait and see what ideas he comes across.

“I’m always looking to make Waterloo a better place and I’ll probably try to figure out what Waterloo is missing and needs and try to fill that gap,” he said.

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