SLO’s last video rental store is closing

The last video rental store in San Luis Obispo is going out of business, marking the end of an era that is reflective of the movie-watching industry nationwide.

Crossroads Video, located in the Crossroads Shopping Center at the intersection of Broad Street and Orcutt Road, plans to shut its doors at the end of October.

The business is currently liquidating its stock of DVD, Blu-ray and VHS movies. Racks and other supplies are also on sale.

Video rental stores around the country have been dying off in recent years due to competition from online streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.

In San Luis Obispo County, just two stores remain: John’s Video Palace in Atascadero and Paso Robles.

Jim and Diane Tomkins have owned Crossroads Video since 2005, when they bought the business from another owner.

Store employee Alex Blume said that customers appreciated being able to find older movies or films they couldn’t easily get from online vendors, as well as the ability to browse and discover new movies without the aid of a computer algorithm.

But over the past couple of years, business has been slumping with more people opting for the convenience of streaming movies.

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“The building owner has been understanding and we’ve had discounted rent for a long time,” said Blume, who’s worked at Crossroads Video since 2005. “But recently, they decided we needed to pay full rent or be out.”

Blume said the Tompkins have no plans to re-open Crossroads Video elsewhere.

“I have been coming here since I was a kid,” Blume said. “This is home. It’s still kind of shocking to me, the fact that it’s closing.”

Customer Cindy Harding, a San Luis Obispo resident, said that she has rented videos from the store since it opened more than 20 years ago. She added that her family has an emotional attachment to Crossroads Video because she rented movies there with her daughters when they were young.

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Crossroads Video, the last video store in San Luis Obispo, is closing after losing its lease. David Middlecamp

“Everything is online. Everything is Hulu and Netflix,” Harding said. “That’s how the world is — things change.”

Crossroads Video had five employees, who will move on to other work. Blume, an Atascadero-based screenwriter who also does film production work on contract in Los Angeles, said that he’ll rely on his Uber job to make ends meet.

“It’s going to be a sad thing not to be able to come back here and see everyone, for sure,” store clerk Rae Odom said.

As part of its liquidation, Crossroads Video is offering a wide range of videos for sale, including classics, comedy, drama, horror and science fiction. Older titles cost for $5 each, while newer films are $7.95 apiece and TV shows are $9.95 per season.

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