One is closing, but another opening

May. 20, 2013 @ 05:53 PM

The Henderson Blockbuster Video store is slated to close June 13 as a result of Blockbuster’s parent company, Dish Network, selling 27 properties in North Carolina, including the Beckford Drive location.

The store has seven employees who were shocked at first, but are not dismayed preparing for future plans.

Judy Harris, the store manager, said she hopes to take up to four employees with her to a business start-up that will include movie rentals and sales among other home and garden products.

“I feel like this is an end of an era,” Harris said. “I hope to start something that will be the beginning of a new era.”

In the meantime, her crew is focused on delivering great service on closeout products at Blockbuster: video movies and games, DVDs and Blu-ray, plus fixtures, decorations and theater candy among other products that “must go.”

“We are going out of here with our heads held high,” Harris said. “We are going to be all about being fair to all our customers and helping them.”

The store has been a video rental staple at the intersection of Beckford and Dabney drives since the location opened in 1991. Harris came in 1995 from a 26-year career with the Roses corporate headquarters.

She has seen 18 years of customer relationship changes, people she met regularly growing older. Children of the past now come in to grab a video for their children.

“In the 18 years I have been here, the customers have always been great,” Harris said. “I know they say bad things about Henderson, but I mean, people have gone out and gotten me dinner sometimes if they saw I was here on my own. They really are that great.”

That sense of camaraderie included Phillip Hight and his family, with talk leading to real preparations on his part to develop Triangle Home and Gardens, possibly with a late-June grand opening date.

Harris would be the general manager for the new store.

“He has been a customer here,” Harris said. “He remembered Blockbuster from where he grew up. He knows my management style here, and saw how we do things.”

Harris said she hopes there will be a successful transplanting of that Henderson Blockbuster “family” to a new spot.

The home and garden shop idea has plans for the old Merita Bakery Thrift Store location at the other end of Dabney Drive.

The new store would aim to include family entertainment with family home projects from grilling to garden tools, with the same customer service honed by the team while at Blockbuster. Harris said she will bring know-how from both each of her former employers.

“I am taking some employees with me from here, hopefully four,” she said. “I want to do all I can to give back for them, for our customers. Look, at 65, I had been thinking about retiring, but I don’t think I’m going to now.”

According to Harris, ending strong at Blockbuster will be a part of a better beginning at Triangle. She wants to take a positive attitude through the goodbyes of Blockbuster and the hellos of Triangle.

“That’s half the battle,” she said.

Dish Network Corp., owner of the Blockbuster Video chain, sold the 27 Blockbuster owned properties in North Carolina as part of a yearlong strategy to close 300 Blockbuster stores in 2013.

Purchasing the 27 locations in North Carolina is Charlotte-based Crosland Southeast.

According to Crossland, they will lease the property as part of a high-quality business model that includes building structure assessments and renovations of the prominent corner location as a draw for a broad range of retailers, from restaurants to medical supply dealers.

Blockbuster’s 300 closures will impact about 3,000 employees and leave the company with about 500 locations. Blockbuster closed about 500 locations in 2012.

 

Contact the writer at mfisher@hendersondispatch.com.