DILLON – With growth being an issue for at least three decades in Summit County, Blockbuster’s sign in front of its Dillon construction site has rubbed a few locals the wrong way.The sign reads, “Here we grow again!” The statement could apply to several high-visibility corners of commerce in the High Country, but especially to the northern side of Highway 6 in Dillon, where Dillon Ridge Marketplace shopping center added new national retail stores like Bed, Bath & Beyond, Borders Books and Gart Sports since it opened in 1996. Local independent booksellers, sundry shop owners and outdoor gear retailers typically cringe at new competition from national chain stores.”Cheesy,” is how Summit Cove resident John Keefe described the sign.
A Blockbuster member, Keefe said he occasionally rents videos from the current location at City Market. “It’s just an arrogant play on words,” he said.Blockbuster spokesman Blake Lugash said he hadn’t seen the sign so he declined to comment on it. The new stand-alone Blockbuster store under construction at the northern entrance to the shopping center is expected to open in mid-September. At 5,000 square feet, it will be larger than the location in the Dillon City Market, which is only 1,800 square feet, and will be closed when the new store opens.The new store will employ 12 people and carry 10,000 items such as VHS and DVD movies, video games for PlayStation 2, Xbox and Game Cube, accessories, candy and soda.
Hole In The Wall Video owner Mike Gawin, who was a Blockbuster store manager for eight years before opening his independent store in Dillon, is not fazed by the competition’s plans.Located for more than two years in a small space under Pug Ryan’s restaurant downtown, Gawin’s store has 2,000 members that pay $20 annually and $1.50 per rental.”I have a very loyal local base here,” he said. “I’m not motivated by making a million dollars. I’m motivated by providing a good product. I think people will go where they get a good deal.”Blockbuster has 5,500 outlets in the United States and 8,900 worldwide. Its memberships are transferable at all its locations.”So if you’re from Denver and up for the weekend, your membership will work at the Dillon store,” Lugash said.
In May, the company launched its “Movie Pass” program that allows unlimited monthly rentals with no return dates or late fees. The program, which costs $24.99 per month to rent two movies or games at a time and $29.99 per month for three, will be offered at the new store.In response to competition from Netflix, an Internet program that delivers movies via U.S. Post for a $21.99 monthly fee, Blockbuster will launch an online subscription program in its fourth quarter this year.”The plan is to have in-store and online and then to integrate them by next year so (customers) can rent and return in-store or online,” Lugash said. “It will create a consumer product no other store can match.”Blockbuster Inc., founded in Dallas 20 years ago, posts revenues topping $5.9 billion annually. The company’s Web site states it has “tens of millions” of member accounts and an average three million visitors to its stores each day. Kim Marquis can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 249, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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