Family Video will add Pizza to its offerings [Vindicator, Youngstown, Ohio]By Jamison Cocklin, Vindicator, Youngstown, OhioMcClatchy-Tribune Information Services
Changes are coming to area Family Video locations, as the Illinois-based company has partnered with Northwest Ohio's Marco's Pizza to offer customers the option of take-out food with their movie rentals and purchases.
In an age of Netflix and Redbox kiosks that nearly have consumed video stores such as Blockbuster and shuttered other giants such as Movie Gallery in recent years, Family Video has seen its business go in the opposite direction, with more than 800 stores in 20 states.
To build on that momentum, Bill Mohler, a regional vice president for Family Video, said that 10 other locations in multiple states already have added Marco's to their real estate, and the company aims to renovate 350 more stores over the next seven years.
"In [Struthers], we've carved out some space with a window in between the two locations," Mohler said, "Kinda like a drive-up window inside the movie store. Customers can order pizza and look for a movie in the eight to 10 minutes it takes to make it."
Family Video will open its first joint venture at the Struthers location on Midlothian Boulevard on Wednesday. That location was selected based on demographic information the company received. Next will be the Austintown location, with an option to expand in Hubbard. Mohler did not offer a time line for those renovations.
The company also has locations in Girard, Niles, Boardman and Columbiana.
Marco's, based in Toledo, was selected by Family Video because of the quality of its product, Mohler said. He added that the pizza chain also has a business model similar to that of his company.
The $100 million deal is striking, considering that on Tuesday, Blockbuster announced it would close approximately 300 stores nationwide as locations neared the end of their leases and overall economic performance was at issue.
"Our biggest competitor is customer perception. When people see the giants like Blockbuster closing, they assume something is wrong, but those companies just ran poor businesses," Mohler said. "Customers are still hungry for rental products, be it from a Redbox or a brick-and- mortar location. There's still an interest in renting a movie to watch on Friday night."
Eventually, Family Video locations in Niles and Girard could be home to a Marco's. The Boardman store already is adjacent to a Hungry Howie's Pizza, which Mohler said the company will not enter into competition with. The Columbiana store is owned by an independent franchisee.
Family Video will assume all the renovation costs at locations across the country, which Mohler estimated about $300,000 to stock and open each new pizza chain.
Marco's is known for its fresh ingredients. The chain was on Entrepreneur Magazine's 2012 list of fastest-growing franchises.
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