Showing posts with label video shop. Show all posts
Showing posts with label video shop. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

An old video store inside a Happy Shopper shop

Striking old gold. Twice in one go.


I've spent a fair bit of 2020 reminiscing about 'the good old days' before the coronavirus pandemic. One of my areas of interest is in old retail brands - I am a marketer after all - and I have found remnants of a number of lost, dead and defunct brands. It's wonderful that these traces can still be found on the high street and at retail parks. If you know where to look.

I've found old Tandy and Toys R Us stores and signage - they are two brands I worked for in the 90s and the year 2000. I've also found old Woolworths, Big W, BHS, Kwik Save, Orange Mobile and RadioShack shops.

As I've been researching Blockbuster Video I've also noticed a number of old video shops. And last month we found a video shop still open and renting out VHS tapes!

One of the retro brands I remember clearly from growing up in the 80s and 90s was Happy Shopper. The colourful sign with the happy chappy face is a lovely throwback. Happy Shopper received a rebrand in 2000, but if you are lucky you can still find the original branding and signage on some shops.

The Wayfairer Discount Store in Ilkeston
The Wayfairer Discount Store in Ilkeston

While en route to an abandoned Toys R Us store in Preston I almost didn't believe my eyes as we drove past a closed Happy Shopper shop with the old signage still in place.

We actually found two Happy Shopper shops in Sheffield, one of which was still open. That store also had the original 1971 branding on the Covid-19 social distancing signage on the door! What a sight that was.

At the last Happy Shopper shop we found in Ilkeston, Derbyshire there was an extra bonus - it used to be a video shop too!

Video Box Office at The Wayfairer Discount Store in Ilkeston
You could hire videos from the Happy Shopper in the 1980's!

Video Box Office was the Business to Business part of ChoicesUK and launched in the UK in 1985 when the brand offered video rental services via third-party convenience stores. The following year ChoicesUK created a Business to Consumer operation with their own branded network of Choices Video stores.

While never as big as Blockbuster Video, Choices UK was a challenger to the market leader and the second largest chain of rental shops in the UK with 180 stores in the country. However, by 2007 the market for the rental of physical media was beginning to decline and other factors played a part in the brand going into administration. 59 ChoicesUK shops were taken over and rebranded as Blockbuster stores.

I wonder if there are any other remnants of Choices Video out there...?


Happy Shopper does still exist, as both convenience stores and own brand food & drink products. Many of the former Happy Shopper stores were rebranded as Premier shops. It has been part of the Booker Group since 1996. Booker itself is now owned by Tesco.

Wednesday, November 04, 2020

Keep YOUR Distance - Protect yourself

Check out this social distancing floor sign outside the old Blockbuster Video store at Fallowfield Retail Park in Manchester.

Signs of the old and the new. Together. In Manchester
Signs of the old and the new. Together. In Manchester

We're currently in Tier 3 Restrictions in Greater Manchester. 

Here in Stockport we've been under tight restrictions of one form or another since the first national lockdown in March.  

Tomorrow the whole of England will move into a national lockdown for the second time this year.

I wonder what other interesting signs I will see on my daily outdoor exercise this winter...?

Tuesday, November 03, 2020

A video rental shop in 2020

Finding a video shop on Video Shop Day 2020.

Last month we were fortunate enough to stumble upon a video rental shop in Little Lever, Bolton. Yes, video as in VHS!

B.V.C. - Bolton Video Centre in Little Lever

The day we called in was Video Shop Day! What are the odds?

The old-school video rental shop was fully stocked with VHS tapes. I haven't seen anything like it for years.

They did also have DVDs.

What a marvellous time capsule of another era.

You can find B.V.C. - Bolton Video Centre in Little Lever, Bolton.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

From Blockbuster Video to Taco Bell

I've been taking a look into the world of Blockbuster Video during lockdown. We live near to an old store that still has visible signage and branding and it's always fun to pass by and see a glimpse of the past.

I've also found that back when we were freely able to travel around the country we had unknowingly 'visited' some former stores, most notably in Felixstowe, Suffolk. There, the old sign with its distinctive torn ticket outline had been used for a new business.

Tracking down old Blockbuster Video stores I've noted that there were two in Barnsley, South Yorkshire. The one in Wombwell is now a charity shop and the old QuikDrop box is still in place. The other on Peel Street in the town centre is now a Taco Bell. We passed by it back in January 2019.

Taco Bell on Peel Street in Barnsley
Not a Blockbuster

I always keep an eye out for Taco Bells on my travels. I think it's got something to do with the year 2032.

Sadly the old torn ticket sign from its days as a Blockbuster is long gone.

The Barnsley store closed along with the other last stores in December 2013. There had been 528 Blockbuster Video stores in the UK at the beginning of that year.

In addition to the Blockbuster Video locations in Fallowfield and Felixstowe we've visited the Blockbuster Video Express in Colne, Lancashire. Other former stores we've been to include the former stores in PrescotChester, Cheadle Hulme and Marple.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Video Future

Spotting an old video shop in Longton, Stoke-on-Trent.


Video shop in Longton, Stoke-on-Trent.
Video Future!

You can also see the remains of a Woolworths store on the main street in Longton
. It's quite a sight to behold in 2020!

Sunday, August 23, 2020

The Movie Box in Manchester

A look at a Manchester video shop.


The Movie Box in Manchester
You don't see video shops all that often any more

The Corner Store in Manchester
The shop is also called The Corner Store

The Corner Store in Manchester
And the Mac & PC Centre

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Lost Blockbuster Video store in Prescot, Merseyside

A look at the old Blockbuster Video store in Prescot, Merseyside.


Lost Blockbuster Video store in Prescot, Merseyside

The former Blockbuster Video shop on Church Street in Prescot is now Partyworld, but the old QuikDrop box is still in place with visible branding.

Lost Blockbuster Video store in Prescot, Merseyside
Another 7 years late fee


If you look closely you can also see that the original Blockbuster sign is underneath the Partyworld sign.

Lost Blockbuster Video store in Prescot, Merseyside
Another Lost Blockbuster. It's good to see the Partyworld shop trading in its place though

Lost Blockbuster Video store in Prescot, Merseyside
Can you see the blue and yellow branding?

Lost Blockbuster Video store in Prescot, Merseyside
The old and the new - we didn't know Prescot had links to Shakespeare before our trip there. The crane is part of the building work of the new Shakespeare North Playhouse


Lost Blockbuster Video store in Prescot, Merseyside
Quite a sight to see a Blockbuster Video QuikDrop box AND social distancing measures in the same place!

Lost Blockbuster Video store in Prescot, Merseyside
I wonder how many letters get posted in the QuikDrop box by mistake

Lost Blockbuster Video store in Prescot, Merseyside
QuikDrop

Retail archaeology

It's always nice to see remnants of old brands and ghost signs when they are hidden in plain sight.

Since we found the remains of Blockbuster Video near us in Fallowfield, Manchester we've been looking to see if there are any other former branches still showing signs of the brand. We've found a Blockbuster Video Express in Colne, as well as remnants in Cheadle Hulme and Marple.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Jubilee Films video shop in Ashton-under-Lyne

A look at the Jubilee Films video shop in Ashton-under-Lyne.


Jubilee Films video shop in Ashton-under-Lyne
Video, DVD and Laser Disks!

While doing some grocery shopping in Ashton-under-Lyne we took a look at the old Jubilee Films video shop on Old Street.

Jubilee Films video shop in Ashton-under-Lyne
Jubilee Films closed its doors in 2013, the same year as Blockbuster
 
Jubilee Films video shop in Ashton-under-Lyne
I wonder how many Laser Disks (sic) were still being rented or sold before the shop closed its doors for the final time?

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Hidden in plain sight

It's funny what you see when you look back on your travels.


With my current, new found interest in seeking out old Blockbuster Video stores while there are still traces of them, I checked out if there used to be any in Suffolk ahead of our next visit to see family and friends in the area.

In a normal year we'd have been to Ipswich and Felixstowe a number of times already by now. Felixstowe is probably our most visited seaside of all time, with the minigolf courses in the town our most revisited.

Sadly we've been there a grand total of zero times in 2020.

Looking online Felixstowe was once home to a Blockbuster Video store on Crescent Road.

Strangely I inadvertently blogged about it in 2017! In a way.

When I saw the location of the former store I knew I'd seen it before.

Back in 2017 I was alerted to the fact there was a new American Diner in Felixstowe that served a 98% gluten free menu. Something that intrigued me as it's a strange thing to offer as everyone with Coeliac Disease needs 100% gluten free food!

Looking at that blog post I noticed a remnant of its time as a Blockbuster. Can you see what it is?

Look closely^

Yes, the original Blockbuster Video sign was still in place and the big torn ticket outline is clear to see!

Blockbuster!

It's always interesting to see shadows, ghosts and remnants from a bygone time. Here in Cheadle Hulme you can still see the outline of the old Blockbuster Video logo on what is now a Majestic Wine Warehouse.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Blockbuster Video Express in Colne

A look at the Blockbuster Video Express store in Colne, Lancashire.


Blockbuster Video Express in Colne

Since our out-of-home minigolfing adventures have been somewhat curtailed by the coronavirus pandemic I've needed to scratch my exploring and collecting itch somehow. During the first nationwide lockdown we spent our daily outside exercise time walking around the Metropolitan Borough of Stockport where we managed to visit and photograph every one of the 265 pubs, bars and clubs in the area.

My next mini 'tickable list' urban exploration challenge taps into my interest in ghost signs, shops, retail marketing and old brands. Ever since I found the remnants of the Blockbuster Video store in Fallowfield, Manchester last October I've been amazed to see the brand still has a lingering presence in other places too.

Blockbuster Video Express in Colne. August 2020

My old local Blockbuster was on Park Street in Luton, Bedfordshire and while it is long-gone I still remember the amount of time I spent in it when I was a student. I built up quite a collection of big-box ex-rental VHS tapes from there in the early noughties.

Blockbuster ceased operations in the UK in December 2013 so it's amazing that there are still clearly visible remnants of the brand on the high street and on retail parks almost seven years later.

Blockbuster Video and Express stores

Blockbuster Video entered the UK video rental market in 1989 following the purchase of Ritz Video.

I remember going to the Ritz Video shop on the Peachcroft Estate in my home town of Abingdon, Oxfordshire back in the late 80's and early 90's. That store became a Blockbuster and I rented some classics from there back in the day. Check out this post from the excellent Abingdon Blog to see a photo of the shuttered shop in 2014.

Blockbuster Video Express stores were somewhat smaller than regular Blockbuster shops. Although all of the stores expanded to include video game rentals. Old signage for the games area has been clearly visible on both the Fallowfield and Colne stores I've been to.

In 2013 there were over 500 Blockbuster locations in the UK. Throughout that year the number dwindled until October when only 264 shops remained. On the 16th December 2013 all stores ceased operations.

Blockbuster Video Express in Colne


Blockbuster Video Express in Colne. August 2020

While looking online for nearby places to have a wander during the local lockdown here in the north west I stumbled upon the Blockbuster Video Express in Colne, Lancashire.


It's crazy to see the store in person as Colne's main street is quite a busy thoroughfare and the prominently positioned Blockbuster was the only empty shop we saw in that particular part of the town.

Blockbuster Video Express in Colne. August 2020
You should've seen the size of the fine for taking back Police Academy almost seven years late. And I hadn't rewound it

Blockbuster Video Express in Colne. August 2020
A view of the store from Market Street

Blockbuster Video Express in Colne. August 2020
The old QuikDrop box has been sealed and painted over

Blockbuster Video Express in Colne. August 2020
The box is still in place though

Blockbuster Video Express in Colne. August 2020
It's always nice to see old CRT TVs in place

Blockbuster Video Express in Colne. August 2020
A view of the right hand side of the store. The Häagen-Dazs fridge is still there

Blockbuster Video Express in Colne. August 2020
The left side, till area and games wall. Note the Coca-Cola and Ben & Jerry's fridges towards the back of the store too

Blockbuster Video Express in Colne. August 2020
The games wall

Blockbuster Video Express in Colne. August 2020
A letter about the Administration. That was a good printer and high quality paper to have lasted so long. The Blockbuster branded tape looks in great condition as well

Blockbuster Video Express in Colne. August 2020
Still sticky

Blockbuster Video Express in Westcliff on Sea

Last month my friend and fellow blogger Mark Routh kindly sent me some super snaps of the old Blockbuster Video Express store in Westcliff on Sea, Essex. I'm looking forward to seeing it in person next time I'm down that way.

The Last Blockbuster

The very last Blockbuster Video store in operation is in Bend, Oregon, USA. We were planning a holiday to Portland this year and would've called in to the store on the trip.

Hopefully it'll still be there when it's once again safe to travel to the USA.

Other lasting signs of Blockbuster

We've seen other remnants of Blockbuster Video on the former Blockbuster Video Express store in Marple and the regular store in Cheadle Hulme. Back in 2013 we also saw the old store in Hastings had been converted into a shop called Bookbuster.

If you know of any other Blockbuster stores or branding still visible do let me know.

'Playing' Blockbuster

Interestingly there is a 'Blockbuster' storefront within another venue. You can find it at Ghetto Golf at the Custard Factory in Digbeth, Birmingham.

Disappearing brands

We've seen traces of a number of old and defunct brands that were big in the 80s and 90s on our travels around the country.

These have included Woolworths in Stoke-on-Trent, Woolworths Big W in Edinburgh, Kwik Save in Barrow-in-Furness, Blockbuster Video in Fallowfield, Tandy in Hitchin, RadioShack in Lytham Saint Annes and Toys R Us in Ancoats and Warrington. I also recently took a look at the Happy Eater restaurant chain.

Friday, August 07, 2020

Urbex - Blockbuster Video in Fallowfield

A look at the remains of the old Blockbuster Video store in Fallowfield, Manchester.


Blockbuster Video in Fallowfield, Manchester. July 2020

Blockbuster Video lives on in Manchester. In a way.

Kind of.

Tuesday, August 04, 2020

Lost Blockbuster Video in Oldham

Last month we popped over to Oldham for our daily walk and a look for an old Blockbuster Video store on Ashton Road.


Sadly there were no traces of the brand visible at the former location. Until fairly recently the upstairs windows had retained the Blockbuster branding. Sadly they had been boarded up. Had the store been open I believe the old QuikDrop box is still in place. Next time we're over that way we'll take another look.

Discount Square in Oldham
Interestingly the new shop in the building has retained a blue and yellow colour scheme and a Square is a kind of Block too

It wasn't all for nought though as we did spot an apt road name on the way back.

Corona Avenue in Oldham

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Check out more Blockbuster Video related blog posts

Monday, July 27, 2020

Remnants of Blockbuster Video

Finding some more traces of the lost brand.


We've always enjoyed exploring our surroundings, looking for and hunting out interesting things. We've seen quite a few ghost signs on our travels and many of these are hangovers from another time, some even dating back over a hundred years.

Since we found the remains of Blockbuster Video just up the road from us in Fallowfield, Manchester we had a look to see if there were any other former branches still showing signs of the brand.

We were in luck as on our walks around Cheadle Hulme and Marple we spotted the ghostly outline of a sign, as well as an old QuikDrop box.

The outline of the old big ticket logo of Blockbuster is still visible behind the Majestic Wine sign. A modern day ghost sign

The QuikDrop slot is the only part of the former Blockbuster Video Express in Marple that hasn't been painted over. It's now a Post Office
The QuikDrop slot is the only part of the former Blockbuster Video Express in Marple that hasn't been painted over. It's now a Post Office

It'll be interesting to see if we spot any other traces of the brand once we're back out on the road on Crazy World of Minigolf Tour travels.


The Blockbuster shop hole at Ghetto Golf Birmingham
The Blockbuster shop hole at Ghetto Golf Birmingham

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Blockbuster Video Express in Westcliff-on-Sea

A look at the old Blockbuster Video Express in Westcliff-on-Sea, Southend.


Blockbuster Video Express on London Road in Westcliff-on-Sea. Photo by Mark Routh, July 2020

Many thanks to my friend and fellow blogger Mark Routh for sending me these photos of the old Blockbuster Video Express store in Westcliff on Sea, Essex.

Blockbuster Video Express on London Road in Westcliff-on-Sea. Photo by Mark Routh, July 2020

It's amazing the signs are still up seven years since the demise of the brand.

Blockbuster Video Express on London Road in Westcliff-on-Sea. Photo by Mark Routh, July 2020

Blockbuster Video Express on London Road in Westcliff-on-Sea. Photo by Mark Routh, July 2020

Since I found the remains of the Blockbuster Video store in Fallowfield, Manchester last October I've been intrigued to see the brand still has a lingering presence on the high street. It's always fun to see ghost signs, remnants of old & dead brands and interesting signage while out and about on our travels.

I found out the Blockbuster signage was still in place at the Westcliff-on-Sea store via this post on Instagram.

We should've been visiting family in Southend-on-Sea this summer but that trip has been postponed. Hopefully we'll get back down there soon so I can check out the old Blockbuster store too.

Check out Mark's superb postcard blog at Mark's Postcard Chat and his Facebook Page. The blog is a wonderful insight into the world of postcard collecting and social history.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Bookbuster in Hastings

Back in 2013 we spotted this old Blockbuster Video store in Hastings that had been turned into a book store called Bookbuster.

Bookbuster in Hastings

Check out Bookbuster on Facebook for more information.

Do you know of any Blockbuster branding that still exists on old stores in the UK? Do let me know.


You can still see the remnants of Blockbuster Video in Fallowfield, Manchester.

Related blog posts:
- Blockbuster
- Hastings
- Shops

Friday, July 10, 2020

Urban Exploration - Blockbuster Video in Fallowfield, Manchester

A look at the old Blockbuster Video store in Fallowfield, Manchester.




Since I found the remains of the Blockbuster Video store in Fallowfield, Manchester last October I've been intrigued to see the brand still has a lingering presence in the retail world. It's always interesting to see ghost signs, remnants of old & dead brands and signage while out and about on our travels.

Blockbuster Video in Fallowfield, Manchester
It's so odd to see Blockbuster branding along with social distancing signage and notices 

Blockbuster ceased operations in the UK in December 2013.

Blockbuster Video in Fallowfield, Manchester
A notice on the door at the old Fallowfield branch. Some retail history

As well as the Fallowfield Blockbuster there are still signs of the stores in Westcliff-on-Sea in Essex, Chiswick in London and Norwich in Norfolk.

Blockbuster Video in Fallowfield, Manchester
A view inside the old store

Related blog posts:
- Blockbuster
- Fallowfield
- Urban Exploration

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Blockbuster Crazy Golf

A look at the Blockbuster Video minigolf hole at Ghetto Golf in Birmingham.


I revisited the site of the last Blockbuster Video store in Manchester last Sunday. I'd first seen the old shop at Fallowfield Retail Park last October.

Interestingly there is still another 'Blockbuster' store in the UK. It's part of the Ghetto Golf indoor crazy golf course at The Custard Factory in Digbeth, Birmingham.

Blockbuster Video shop at Ghetto Golf in Digbeth, Birmingham. November 2017