New Plymouth's last video store sells up
The owner of New Plymouth's last video store is selling up - but insists home rental is not a dying market in the city.
Sam Bansal, who has been in charge of United Video, on Devon St East, for six years, said there were still plenty of people who preferred to borrow DVDs rather than sign up to satellite TV or online streaming services.
"It's not like video stores are going down and that's why I wanted to sell; no, I'm doing perfectly well in this," Bansal said.
His decision to market the business for $90,000 came as Australian chain Video Ezy announced on Wednesday it was pulling out of New Zealand.
Video Ezy announced it would be closing the last of its stores after seeing their number drop significantly from the 135 it once operated, including in New Plymouth.
That number dropped to just 33 stores 18 months ago and, today, only six stores operate in New Zealand.
Video Ezy will continue in Australia under a vending-machine model which, the company says, is currently turning over "$30 to $40 million a year".
Since taking over United Video in 2012, Bansal had expanded the store to include a variety section filled with home products as well as a candy store.
"That's always required because you have to move with the times," he said. "You have to evolve, it's not like everybody wants the videos."
Bansal, who said he got recognised at the supermarket as 'the video store person', was adamant that the market for a video store was still there.
"A lot of people come and hire the DVDs.
"If you see the demographic of this city, most older couples have young kids and they want the DVDs. Some parents don't want their kids to go online and watch all those things."
Bansal, originally from India, said there was a lot of potential for prospective buyers.
"It's not very hard running a video store, it's one of the easiest things to run.
"It's a good opportunity for buyers, it still has a life."
Bansal owns the store with his wife Ritu and said they were ready to for a change.
"We want to move on and do something different even though we are doing a lot better than the previous year.
"Family want to move to Auckland and we already have family up there."
Bansal however, would prefer to stay in New Plymouth and because of this was in no rush to sell.
"I love it here, I don't want to leave this city.
"I'm holding on to it as long as I can."
When Bansal does sell though he plans to kick back.
"I want to take three or four months off," he laughed.