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Independent video store thriving in tough environment

Premiere Home Video sits at the corner of Euclid and South Ashland. If you weren't looking for it, you might not even realize it's there, but on a Friday night, it's packed with customers looking to take home a good movie-a scene straight out of the 90s.

"They've got a great selection. It's a very affordable place. It's convenient. It's just a fun place to come and look around. I like to take my time and I don't like to feel the pressure of people looking over me shoulder waiting for me to do my thing," says customer Chris Springston.

"Everybody that works here loves what they do. They love the movies. People love to talk to them about the movies. Really, that's what coming to a video store is all about-sharing your passion with somebody else," says owner Terri Robbins.

For 16 years now, she's rented movies and she's made friends.

"It's really all about the people that work here and the rapport that we have with the different customers that come in," says Robbins.

"I've been coming here 15 or 20 years," says a customer as he searched the aisles for a movie.

And it's those relationships that made it all the more difficult when the video rental industry went belly-up.

"It is hard with people being able to download stuff offline or even take stuff straight offline without paying for it. With the Redbox, it's hard. There's competition," says Springston.

So, what's the secret? How has Terri kept this shop, as well as a second one in Hartland going in such a tough environment?

"The big chains never had any personalized service. You know, you can come here and ask them about things. They'll give you their opinions and if I don't have a dollar in my pocket they'll put it on my account," says a customer, as he was being checked out by the clerk.

"Basically it's because of all these people that we're still plugging along," says Robbins.

Those people who are there as much for her as she is for them.

"One of our coworkers and employees was extremely ill. He didn't have a lot of money and they gave him a lot of money. They raised a lot of money for him. That shows what kind of customers we have and what they think about the people that work for us," she says.

And while it's an inspirational tale of overcoming the odds, somewhere someone is creating new technology that could push this little shop further into the past and make it harder for these people to gather together on a Friday night to pick out a good movie.


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