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Need help starting a DVD collection for video rental store...

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#1 of 21 OFFLINE   Elijah Sullivan

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Posted January 12 2005 - 07:46 PM

I'm helping my ex-manager start his dream video store, and he has placed me in charge of ordering movies. It's a gigantic task, and I really don't want to mess up, since his personal financial future is on the line, here.

We had a few hundred more or less random DVDs to start with from another store that we bought bulk, and I've spent the past several weeks ordering in more to round out the collection.

I would just sleep a lot better knowing that I've assembled all of the "essentials", and would really appreciate hearing from other movie-going folk what their idea of the "essentials" would be. Another way of putting it... if you were walking into a video store for the first time, what DVDs would you expect them to have? What are the titles that they must have, or else you would turn your nose up in disgust and march out the door :wink: ?

Any input is welcome, not necessarily some gigantic, comprehensive list, but maybe a few titles off the top of your head. Or maybe some advice on what niche of the market you guys prefer to rent rather than buy, or like to see stocked in your favorite store.

We've got Star Wars and everything availible by Monty Python (complete Flying Circus included), Sam Raimi, Quentin Tarantino and Peter Jackson (extended LOTR a must) for starters. We moved on to the complete Futurama, Simpsons and Family Guy shows, and that Freaks & Geeks set, as well, for the tv section. Tons of John Carpenter, David Lynch, some Fincher, and Ridley Scott. Got everything by Terrence Malick and Wes Anderson -- all three of 'em Posted Image

For foreign, the Kurosawa Four Samurai Classics box, the wonderful Samurai Trilogy, Run Lola Run, La Dolce Vita and Amelie are a good start.

We've got the two-disc Anchor Bay Time Bandits and the Criterions of Brazil and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas to start our Gilliam selection. (Those cost us a pretty penny!)

There's a ton more, far too much to list, but when you get down to it, the "essentials" is actually a really long list! I'm hoping that when we open in a few weeks' time that all our customers are happy and my boss is able to pay the bills.

Again, just a few must-have rental titles would be a great help to me, just to help me sleep nights knowing my job is being done properly.

Thanks in advance! Cheers.

(mods, delete me if you want, i was just deperate :b )

#2 of 21 OFFLINE   PerryD


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Posted January 13 2005 - 12:37 AM

I think 90% of customers rent new releases exclusively, that's why Blockbuster stocks 100 copies of the latest movies, and that they are usually out of stock. To make money, you'll probably have to follow the Blockbuster model: Buy 50 copies of a new release, and then 6 weeks later, sell them for $10 a piece used to recoup most of your original cost. Otherwise, you'll have to create a niche service and stock what Blockbuster doesn't stock. A large selection of foreign, old B&W (even Silent films), and perhaps porn. How cool would it be to stop in a video store and peruse a collection of Buster Keaton in one aisle or Fellini in another? This kind of store would have to grow by word of mouth.

#3 of 21 OFFLINE   Jay E

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Posted January 13 2005 - 12:55 AM

I've had experience setting up & opening video stores & the most important question to start off with is where are you opening the store, that is what type of community will it be serving (suburban, city, rural)? You must know who your customers are before you decide on what to stock, although there are many films that are requistites for any video store no matter where it's located. For instance, I've set up stores in the Bronx, downtown Manhattan & Brooklyn and the inventory for each was very different from each other. I can give you more advice once I know your location & the make-up of your community.

#4 of 21 OFFLINE   Elijah Sullivan

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Posted January 13 2005 - 08:45 AM

Thanks, guys.

Jay, the store is being set up in a small, rural Northern California community, pop. approx. 8,500. Not a lot, but more than enough to make a modest living, especially if it's your dream job Posted Image

We don't have a lot of money in the budget -- buying 100 copies of AvP and Sky Captain later this month would probably sink us. We're that small. What we did for the new releases this month is buy small quantities of a large variety of titles -- a variety much wider than the competing stores in town offer. Foreign films and independant stuff is popular here, but there isn't much of it. That's our plan: fewer copies, wider variety.

There is a large chain food-store in town (who I will not name) that stocks 100s of copies of new releases and stocks them the Friday before release date, so there's really no way for us to compete with that. If the local folks want AvP, we know they are not going to come to us to get it.

We are definately going to attempt to capture a niche while stocking as many "essentials" and new titles as possible -- just fewer copies.

If money were no object, I'd rather keep the 100 x $20.99 for AvP and just buy everything by Kurosawa and Fellini on Criterion. But I know enough about this job to wonder if I wouldn't be making a stupid mistake in doing that.


#5 of 21 OFFLINE   Corbin Stirn

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Posted January 13 2005 - 09:16 AM

Elijah, can I ask a potentially stupid question? Why has no one reported this "other" place for breaking street date?!?! The studios seriously frown on that kind of thing........it might be in your best interest to have "someone"(hint,hint) report them.....as it is giving them a competitive advantage. Just an idea.....anybody else agree?

#6 of 21 OFFLINE   Aaron Silverman

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Posted January 13 2005 - 09:21 AM

Good luck with that. . .tough business these days. Stock the unusual stuff, and pray for customers, or stock the regular stuff, and get hammered by Blockbuster and/ or Hollywood.

Personally, I'd have just set up a Blockbuster franchise. Posted Image
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#7 of 21 OFFLINE   Aaron Silverman

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Posted January 13 2005 - 09:22 AM

If you're competing with that store, then making a few calls to the studios should be pretty high up on your "to do" list!
"How wonderful it will be to have a leader unburdened by the twin horrors of knowledge and experience." -- Mr. Wick

#8 of 21 OFFLINE   Michael Elliott

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Posted January 13 2005 - 09:25 AM

There's a store in Louisville that spits on these so called "Hollywood" movies and they've been in business for almost 7 years now. They stock cult, horror, exploitation, classics, foreign, silents and the other stuff that Blockbuster wouldn't touch. You'll lose if you go against Blockbuster unless you charge $1 for one month rentals. By doing that of course you'll be out of money in a week so it's best to take a look at the community and make yourself different from the big guys.

#9 of 21 OFFLINE   Yumbo



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Posted January 13 2005 - 09:29 AM

hi, your store sounds just like mine. pick up catalog titles that are cheap - ROI is guaranteed on most, and that is where you make your money. you must excel in service and provide perks not offered by others. Now I could explain our super-duper database but that would be franchising. know your customers - kids, the car they drive etc. simple suggestion - since you SHOULD, offer bookings since you're title depth, not copy depth, and display your cases (when they're out), so they know WHAT you have. feel free to email for any small bits of advice.

#10 of 21 OFFLINE   Randy Schissler

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Posted January 13 2005 - 10:09 AM

I usually rent from a small independent in a large city (San Diego). The reason I choose them over Blockbuster or Hollywood Video is because I can rent a movie for $1.99 a night. I'd rather do that than spend $4 for multiple days.

#11 of 21 OFFLINE   Dick



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Posted January 13 2005 - 03:11 PM

Hee is a link to a store in Maine that opened a few years ago. This web site will give you an idea of what they have become in that short time since. The population of this town is about 10,000, and has a major college within walking distance. They have, as you will see, a MASSIVE selection of foreign, documentary, indy, and midnight movie titles, and a section arranged by director. Now, Maine is not necessarily a haven for film buffs, but there are obviously enough of them in the area to have made a success out of this place. If I were going into the business, I would use them as a business model. Good luck!


#12 of 21 OFFLINE   Chris Miller

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Posted January 13 2005 - 04:11 PM

I work in a video store, and I'd say the most popular genres seem to be Horror, Comedy and Kids. Stock plenty of those. I'd say just pick lots of titles with cult followings. That'd be a slightly better bet than initially going for a huge foriegn or documentary section. There are just certain titles that always seem to be rented out. I'll try to name off some. Office Space, Scarface, Kevin Smith films, Terminator films, Big Lebowski, Christmas Vacation, Godfather trilogy, Ghostbusters, Exorcist, Robert Rodriguez films, Memento, Meet The Parents, Scorsese films, Half Baked, David Lynch films, American Psycho, Austin Powers, Tarantino films, etc. But I'd say go for the popular catalog rentals, rather than jumping straight into the ultra-obscure. You'll rent Dazed & Confused out far more than you will L'Avventura, you know? I'd say stocking lots of TV on DVD is a good idea too. Those are becoming popular rentals. Especially stuff like Family Guy, Simpsons, South Park, etc. Also, I should note that like others said, 95% of rental store consumers are soley interested in new releases.

#13 of 21 OFFLINE   Don Solosan

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Posted January 13 2005 - 07:48 PM

"I can't imagine anywhere in California having a There is a Movie Gallery only two blocks down." Actually, the place you mentioned sounds a lot like Vidiots in Santa Monica, Cinephile in West Los Angeles and Rocket Video in Hollywood.

#14 of 21 OFFLINE   Jay E

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Posted January 14 2005 - 12:33 AM

Hi Elijah If there is a need in your area for a store that carries, indie, foreign & catalog titles, then that is the route to take, especially if there is already stiff competition for the new releases. Th problem with stocking the more esoteric titles is that they are harder to come buy at low prices. Are you buying your inventory new, or are you buying used DVDs? If you don't mind used titles, there are places that sell "start-up" inventories for people opening up video stores. This may be a way to get a few hundred or more "essential" titles at low prices. Do you have access to video store trade magazines as these are great for finding these type of sellers.

#15 of 21 OFFLINE   Robyn Young

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Posted January 14 2005 - 02:12 AM

I second the idea of tv show rentals. Especially series such as 24, Band of Brothers, CSI and the like. I know that many of the rental places around here don't carry those shows, and people are always asking for them.
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#16 of 21 OFFLINE   DustinPizarro


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Posted January 14 2005 - 02:45 AM

While it's a bit of the topic, I'm wondering if you plan to carry any pan & scan titles. Hopefully not. Perhaps maybe a little space that will help customers understand the difference between AOR and pan and scan. I've yet to see one in any video store. Best of luck with the video store.

#17 of 21 OFFLINE   Shayne Lebrun

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Posted January 14 2005 - 04:45 AM

Put up a HOOGE freakin sign that says 'If you can't find something you want, ASK' and keep meticulous track of the sort of things people ask for, get that stuff in, and get similar in.

#18 of 21 OFFLINE   Jon Martin

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Posted January 14 2005 - 05:58 AM

Hi Elijah, First, good luck. A video store, in these economic conditions, is going to be very tough going. I would suggest maybe having a big sales section. Or allow the feature that you can special order something. Maybe even allow a feature that you will search for any video or DVD, even out of print ones and try to find it for them. The thing about DVD rentals is, with DVDs retailing for what CD's do, people are more apt to buy than rent. Think about it, how many CD rental stores are out there? VHS was different, but DVD has changed the industry. Trying to compete with BB or a chain that can stock 100 titles is going to be tough. And you have to seriously look into seeing if a "specialty" store will really work in your area. Is it a college town with a large, educated customer base? If not, then I would advise against going that route. Again, good luck and let us know how it goes.

#19 of 21 OFFLINE   Michael Elliott

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Posted January 14 2005 - 06:01 AM

Not only stock the big guys like F13, Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween but also the lesser known, foreign titles. You'll soon realize that horror fans will always try new stuff so if you stock it they'll get around to releasing it. By foreign stuff, look at Mario Bava, Lucio Fulci, Dario Argento and Jess Franco. Take a look for companies like Synapse, Shriek Show, Anchor Bay and Blue Underground.

www.oldies.com has a lot of public domain titles that you might want to try out. You can get 5 for $25 and some of these titles feature popular stars like Lugosi, Cagney, Karloff, Grant, Mitchum, Tracy and many others.

#20 of 21 OFFLINE   Elijah Sullivan

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Posted January 14 2005 - 08:11 PM

Wow! Great responses! Thank all of you guys so very much for responding.

Holy moses... now that's a complete collection. Very, very, very impressive stock of movies there. They must work really hard at it. But... how do they have House of Flying Daggers? Is that really out on DVD, yet? I think I would have noticed... I browed their stock and was just dumbfounded. Too bad we aren't a college town, so that we could get away with stocking titles like Murnau's Faust or L'Atalante. I guess we'll just have to work really hard at "hooking" our customers on the product. Same with Italian horror movies and samurai flicks. Posted Image

Anyway, great feedback, all of you. I truly appreciate it.


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