Customers keep local Blockbuster in business

By Scott Pachilis
Around the Town Editor

Photo by Kayloni Wyatt
Customers still frequent the Blockbuster located on Fayetteville Road in Lumberton.

Americans live in an era where the economy is forcing businesses to downsize and where technology is changing the business model of a lot of companies. Despite these intimidating factors, the Blockbuster, located in Lumberton, has remained a profitable business. 

The video rental and retail chain had recently filled for bankruptcy in September 2010. Yet, the Blockbuster located on Fayetteville Road in Lumberton remains open for business seven days a week. 

Judy Skinner, the store manager of the Lumberton branch, believes it has a lot to do with the customers. 

"A lot of our customers are regulars who come in frequently" Skinner said. 

Over the past few years, the Lumberton Blockbuster, has tried to keep customers in step with some of the changes that the store has gone through. 

For instance, most customers didn't know that Blockbuster has its own service where they can receive movie rentals through the mail. 

The Blockbuster By Mail program allows customers the option to bring their mailed rental into the store for an in-store exchange for another free rental. This way customers can get videos and games through the mail and instore for a low monthly fee. 

An in-store computer was recently added to help customers access their accounts. "We've got a lot more customers who come in and manage their queue," Skinner said. 

But there's more than just a computer that's new to the store. Blockbuster has been a supporter of the Bluray format from the beginning, and the Blu-ray kiosk in the middle of the store is a prime example of that. 

"We're thinking of expanding our new release wall to include more Blurays," Skinner said. "More and more customers are renting Blu-ray, especially after this past Christmas." 

Blockbuster even sells various retail items to expand their business from just rentals. Such items include cameras, media players, books, games, posters and toys. 

Of course, all these changes wouldn't mean anything if the store didn't have the support from its customers that it does. In fact, Blockbusters in nearby markets such as Whiteville and Myrtle Beach have been shut down. 

However, Lumberton customers seem to be extra loyal to the retail chain. 

"We have a handful of customers who line up every Tuesday before we open," Skinner said. 

Assistant manager Santana McDonald recalled some of the store's midnight openings. "We had over 15 to 20 people show up for latest Twilight movie and another handful for Madden," McDonald said. 

The Lumberton Blockbuster may not be able to control what happens at a corporate level, but the store and staff must be doing something right as people still continue to make their nights a Blockbuster night. 

Blockbuster is open Monday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. From 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. For Sunday they are open 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.