Owners Ken and Peggie Dorrance held on as the technology for viewing movies evolved, but in late October, after 29 years in business, Alameda's Video Station will be no more.
"It's very sad for us, but we were just left with no alternative," said Ken Dorrance. "The hardest thing is telling our customers because they're the ones who don't want to go to Netflix or a vending machine. They're the customers that like the personal touch."
Though the movie rental portion of the store will close, Papa Murphy's Pizza will stay. And, after a remodel in November and December, the Dorrances will open a Togo's sandwich shop in the former Video Station side of the building.
With the new Togo's, said Dorrance, he and Peggie will be able to incorporate some of their love of movies into the business model. "What we want to do will be kind of unique in Alameda," said Dorrance. "We're going to bring in some large screen televisions and have movie nights." Look for a family movie night on the weekend, probably Saturday, and a classic movie night during the week.
Customers should expect the same friendly and personal service they've had for years from Video Station and Papa Murphy's, says Dorrance. "If people like how we have done business in the last 29 years they'll like the way we'll do business in the next 10," he said. "We'll have the same hospitality, the same community involvement."
Video Station first opened in what is now Bridgeside Shopping Center in 1981. It moved to the current location at the corner of Broadway and Blanding Avenue in 1983. And in 1988, they added the Papa Murphy's Pizza (they were the 10th of what are now 1,250 Papa Murphy's stores nationwide).
Customer Eddie Matsuoka, who lives a few blocks from Video Station, said his son, Jason, now 40, was one of the first employees at the store.
"He worked here when it opened," said Matsuoka. "He loved the people here, everyone was so nice. It was like having a second family."
Matsuoka says he and his wife don't rent movies much anymore, but they do come buy dinner. "We love coming by and getting pizza and a salad and seeing the people we've been seeing for 20-odd years," said Matsuoka.
And he's glad he'll be able to keep coming in.
"All the Alameda people will be very happy that Papa Murphy's is still right here," said Gary Oda, who lives a few blocks away on Gibbons Drive, as he bought a high definition version of the movie "Up." "I've been coming here since I moved to Alameda in 1986," he said.
Store employee Marta Ferrer, who has worked for Video Station for 23 years, said she's sad to see the store close. "We've gone from Beta to VHS to DVD," she said. She's glad that many employees are finding work with the new business.
"We've seen employees grow up, get married, have their children," she said. "There're a lot of memories here."