PEPPERELL — Like the words to Alan Jackson’s “Little Man Song” lament, another “little man” is leaving town. This time it’s Countryside Video on Main Street in Railroad Square, which itself now hosts Rail Trail bicyclists instead of the daily trains for which it was named.
“He hung on there for a few more years
But he couldn’t sell slurpees
And he wouldn’t sell beer
Now the bank rents the station
To a firm down the road
And sells velvet Elvis and
There goes little man
There goes another little man.” — Alan Jackson
VHS video movies were once the vanguard of a new generation’s technology and Pepperell was host to two “video” rental outlets. That shrunk to one, which eventually sold out. Countryside Video took over the local market, ironically located in the former railroad station until moving to the square.
Countryside manager Josh Schneider of Townsend said he hasn’t received a new VHS tape in nearly two years from suppliers because the business was taken over by still newer technology, the DVD.
This time it isn’t technology but a new way of doing business spawned by technology that’s spelling the end of his business as he knows it.
“Business began to decline four or five years ago, replaced by people’s ability to acquire DVD’s from Blockbuster Online, DVD on Demand, and Netflicks,” he said.
“Now it’s to the point we can’t meet bills, pay employees or get new movies,” he said.
Then too, VHS tapes supplied him by Rent Track, who sets the price for VHS and DVD’s stores like Countryside rent, were priced too high.
“People could buy them for less at Walmart,” Schneider said. “The only one’s to make money are the big boys. Even Blockbuster had to go Online to compete.”
Countryside will continue to receive new DVD’s until Aug. 1 and continue renting them until Aug. 12. After that the new releases will join the rack of for sale movies and games.
Aware there is a local market for video and video game browsers who do not prefer the impersonal electronic approach, Schneider said alternate plans are in the making.
“The owner and I hope to set up DVD kiosks but we haven’t discussed where yet,” Schneider said.
Countryside Video has been doing a relatively brisk sell-off business with VHS tapes going for about $1.99 and video games in the area of $4.95. Movies carry varying price tags.