Travis Ross among the tens of thousands of videos he tries to sell as his Civic Mags, Cards and Lotto store in Tauranga prepares to close. Photo / Alan Gibson
”That’s a shame.”
This is how Travis Ross described his decision to close what is believed to be Tauranga’s last video store today.
It’s the end of an era for Civic Mags, Cards & Lotto, which stocked over 28,000 movies at its peak before branching out into other areas with the take-off of the internet and digital subscriptions.
The store is nestled between the cluster of stores on Cameron Rd near Countdown, currently hidden behind an orange wall of roadworks.
Ross said he was always busy until closing time, with regulars keen to get their hands on the huge range of films and specialist magazines.
Ages varied among the avid moviegoers and there were new members every week, many of whom were people who had just moved to town and didn’t yet have an internet connection.
It housed 28,000 films at its peak – he said choosing his favorites was difficult – and the stock was dwindling rapidly as the sale closed and online shoppers cheered.
It was a place where people could browse movies like a library, with their family and friends, whether to rent them for the weekend or to buy them.
Classics like The Goonies and Titanic were still in demand, but popularity fluctuated, with interest growing when a new box office sequel was released – like the Matrix series – and people couldn’t find it on the networks. streaming.
“It’s interesting to see.”
Ross ran the store for over eight years, along with about eight other stores in the city at the time. This is also when he believed the shift from in-store movies to online platforms had begun.
“Every year you’ve seen one or two go down.”
He said he was sad to see the switch to digital.
“The days of brick and mortar are over…when the banks and the post offices disappear, that means something, doesn’t it.”
According to him, the only reason the store had survived so long was because it was branching out with lotto, magazines, gifts and greeting cards.
But his time was up and he had negotiated the lease with the landlord.
“It’s a shame,” he said.
“It’s not like you can just say they can go to the other stores now because there’s nowhere else.”
The customers would miss him the most, getting to know some of them well in nearly a decade of running the shop.
He would also miss seeing the joy on the faces when people came in to see the product line, saying they didn’t even know the shop existed.
“It’s hard, it feels like letting them down because it stops.”
Ross made the “agonizing” decision to close around Christmas after the bill went up, including $6,000 a month for rent.
He had lost most of his suppliers, who had returned to Australia. This increased his costs as he had to order videos himself, with very high shipping costs.
The same was true for specialist magazines, which previously received a lot from the US and UK, which was simply unfeasible after Covid as magazines would then have a selling price of up to $40.
Roadworks along Cameron Rd also made access to the store difficult.
“With the new strain of Covid coming in, it’s just going to be another hellish year after the last two.”
Now was the time for family and trying to relax.
The next two days would be spent sorting out the remaining stock.
Film and DVD enthusiast Ezra Harvey only started coming to the store on Monday and said he was sad to see it close.
He had “too many” in his collection to count, and he was trying to find more storage for his collection.
There was something special about DVDs, he said, “it’s more personal” than streaming on an online platform.