Video store faces end credits

SIGN OF THE TIMES: Motueka’s United Video owners Tim and Linda McPadden are blaming the advent of internet piracy for the store's closure.
SIGN OF THE TIMES: Motueka’s United Video owners Tim and Linda McPadden are blaming the advent of internet piracy for the store's closure.

Motueka is in the midst of its annual midwinter shakeup, when retailers reassess their future during the cold season lull in trading.

The most high profile closure this winter is today's closure of United Video. The bright blue business has been owned by Tim and Linda McPadden for 15 years but technological changes have spelled the end, the Mapua couple said.

"Movie piracy and legal downloading" had caused a decline in their rental business said Linda McPadden.

"It got to the point where I was working 60+ hours for no income but I kept on because I love the industry," she said.

Tim McPadden said that up until about two years ago, there was enough trade for two video businesses to make a "reasonable living" but that now the town's demand was too small to sustain both.

They both said that they didn't believe people who downloaded movies illegally thought through the implications of their piracy. People still loved to come into a shop and browse but that would no longer be possible.

"We had people in at Christmas taking photos in the shop and they were mostly German and French and Egyptian. They told us they haven't had video shops in their countries for a couple of years and they wanted to show their friends the photos. They said they wished so much they still had the shops. It wasn't just one or two - it was heaps of people. It was scary stuff," Linda said.

She said the couple had given themselves a deadline to find "decent jobs" or else they would have to move out of the region.

"We have no idea what we're going to do but in 16 years we've had two holidays," she said.

The couple are selling their shelving and their distinctive branded Ford XR6. Tim said it was the best advertising investment they ever made although because there are about 40 of the United Video cars around the country, people often mistakenly believed they had spotted the couple driving all over New Zealand.

He explained that United Video used to sponsor a V8 team and after each season, the Ford XR6 used to tow the racing car's trailer would be sold off, with store owners snapping them up.

They both said they would miss their loyal customers, some of whom were toddlers they had seen grow up and who now brought their own toddlers through the doors.

In other changes, Take Note owners Mark and Sarah Amyes have bought the town's Paper Plus. As of August 1, they will take over Paper Plus and later move the agencies for NZ Post and Kiwibank to the new Paper Plus store after it has been refurbished. Paper Plus and Take Note are both part of the Paper Plus Group.

The agencies are to take over the building behind Paper Plus, currently occupied by Shamels Essential Foods store. Shamels' Melvina Goundar, who owns the store with her partner, said that although they would have preferred to stay in Motueka, where their customers are, they had difficulty finding a suitable space.

"We could have stayed in Motueka had there been cheaper rents", she said, although the key was not being able to find space. They are moving to Stoke, where their rent will be about 10 per cent lower, she said.

AMI, which vacated their offices on High St because of earthquake standards and had been in the former Bays ApparelMaster building in Huffam St, is returning to High St, taking over the former Needleworx at 168 High St, Nelson Building Society is expanding into AMI's former building, doubling their High St frontage, the former Gothic restaurant is to reopen before summer, and a new gun shop is opening at the southern end of the High St retail strip.

Our Town Motueka chairman Dave Moloney said the moves were mostly positive.

"All in all, there doesn't appear to be as much of a lull" compared to last winter, he said.

"There are people out there who don't like the big box experience and our retailers offer a point of difference - that's our niche."

The Nelson Mail