The lot in Dinkytown where the old Burger King building stood, on the corner of 14th Avenue Southeast and 5th Street Southeast, will soon have a new occupant.
But the new business might be a surprise to Dinkytown residents used to restaurants and coffee shops: It’s a national chain video store.
Hollywood Video is expected to open a new store at the location by late summer or early fall. Blockbuster Video opened a new store next to U Liquors on Washington Avenue in Stadium Village at the end of April.
Renee Speltz, an assistant manager at Blockbuster’s Stadium Village store, said business at the store slowed down when students left for the summer, but has been steadily increasing over the summer. She said upper management predicts it will be one of the busiest Blockbuster stores in the Twin Cities once classes resume in the fall.
Speltz said Blockbuster competes mostly with Hollywood Video and other larger rental stores. They’ve had success in drawing new business with a guarantee that they will have a new release in stock.
Dani Holden, a senior dance major, said Sunday was her first time renting from Blockbuster. Holden lives across I-35 in the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood and said she normally rents videos at a Hollywood Video store near the grocery store where she shops. However, Blockbuster’s in-stock guarantee might entice her to rent from the store again.
With the new larger chain stores going in, mom-and-pop video rental stores will face stiff competition for students’ video rental dollars.
Lynne Saxton, a University graduate and employee at Dinkytown Video, said chain stores often take business away from smaller, locally-owned businesses.
“It’s definitely going to hurt us,” Saxton said.
Most of Dinkytown Video’s customers are students, Saxton said. She said she fears customers will leave if they can find better rental prices at chain-owned rental stores.
While larger stores like Hollywood Video and Blockbuster don’t see themselves as competition to smaller stores like the one Saxton works at, she said the smaller stores feel the impact.
She hopes the store’s current customers will remain loyal, but does not expect the store will attract new customers when freshmen arrive on campus this fall.