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Brazil's first video store closes

Friday, July 15, 2011

Only a couple shelves of movies remain inside Video Specialists Productions, 717 E. Jackson St., Brazil. The business, which closed in June, opened in May 1982 and was the first video store in Brazil. Jason Jacobs Photo. [Order this photo]
A downtown staple of Brazil for nearly 30 years has closed its doors.

Video Specialists Productions opened in May 1982, and was the first video store in Brazil, but Owner Larry Pierce and his family decided to shut down last month.

"We started kicking around the idea in May, and we came to the decision to close up in June," Pierce told The Brazil Times. "I suppose it's just a sign of the times because there are so many ways to get movies now. In fact, you can even download them to your phone."

The store first opened in the El Rey Manor Motel building, which Pierce said had been converted to office space at the time.

"Our first location was where Walmart is now," he said. "We began with 100 VHS tapes, 25 on Beta and 25 Atari 2600 games."

Business came quickly and due to the growth, the business moved to 549 E. National Ave., next to what is now Fun Time Scuba.

"My granddad owned three parts of that strip, and after we grew some more, we bought this location," Pierce said. "Back then we had anxiety about the business because the retail cost of tapes at the time were about $69-$89 for blockbusters, so it took quite a while to pay them off with $2.50 rentals."

He added the streamlined process of films hitting the market also contributed to the decision to close the business.

"There used to be a 60-day window for us to rent movies before they hit Pay-Per-View, but now they come out for that and downloading at the same time," he said.

Pierce said the business moved back to the National Avenue location for a while after getting out of the rental business for about five years.

"We still offered our other services, like video and audio transfers, as well as scratch removal for CDs and DVDs," he said. "During that time, we rented out this location to another local business owner."

Once moving back into the location on Jackson Street, the intention was to get back into the movie business, but only allowing customers to buy and sell films.

"We transitioned back to rentals pretty quick because a lot of our customers were unhappy with the service provided by other video stores that had opened up," Pierce told The Brazil Times. "But even then, about 50 percent of our business came through our scratch removal and transfer services."

Recently, the business has conducted a couple yard sales to get rid of the remaining movies they have in stock.

"The new movies went pretty quick, but we still have some left," Pierce said. "We are selling them for $1 apiece and are considering either having another yard sale or possibly taking them to Trade Days."

However, while Video Specialists will no longer exist, the building will remain in the family.

Pierce said his daughter, Ashley Lear, will be taking over as she expands her business, New Elegance Salon and Spa, which occupies the southern portion of the building.

"Her business is doing very well and she has a lot of ideas for new services she could offer," he said. "I'm not exactly sure what she will do with the extra space, but it is good that the building will stay in the family.

In addition, Pierce said he will still continue to offer the scratch removal and audio/video transfer services.

"It's something I plan to do in my free time," Pierce told The Brazil Times. "I still have all the equipment, so even though it is no longer a retail business, the services will still be around."

He said he is grateful the business was able to be around so long and that he was able to see first-hand the growth of technology.

"In just the equipment I've owned, the leaps in technology could be seen," Pierce said. "One of my scratch removal machines now is set up specifically for Playstation 3 games and Blu-Ray discs, and it is amazing what some of the new machines can do."

To utilize the services provide by Pierce, call 442-1447, or visit www.piercevideoservices.biz.

"Tapes and discs may also be dropped off at New Elegance Salon as well," Pierce said. "Video Specialists was a good business for a long time, but we felt now was just the right time to get out of it and we appreciate all the customers we have had over the years."

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Sorry to see you go Larry and Debbie.... You are good people and am glad to have the opportunity to meet and bond with you... Good luck for the future!

-- Posted by purehonesty on Sat, Jul 16, 2011, at 7:00 AM

Good luck, Larry and Debbie.

-- Posted by Dagnabbitt on Sat, Jul 16, 2011, at 5:06 PM

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