Family Video closing Rochelle location

Locals wait to enter the Family Video store off Route 38 in Rochelle on Sunday. An employee with the store confirmed the video chain will be closing its Rochelle location some time in the near future.

Items inside store currently on sale; Byron store also closing

ROCHELLE — Family Video has been an entertainment stop for Rochelle residents since 2007, offering many options for both children and adults including movie and video game rentals.

Locals will need to find a new avenue for their entertainment needs, however, after store manager Brittany George confirmed Monday afternoon that Family Video will be closing its Rochelle location at some point in the near future. All items inside the store, located at 497 E. State Route 38 in Rochelle, are on sale, and the store’s closing date is currently unknown.

“We were a little shocked,” George said. “Our business has been slower than usual because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we were closed for about two and a half months earlier this year because of the shutdown, so people found their entertainment elsewhere. With the pandemic in mind as well, I don’t think many people want to leave their homes too often.”

Customers lined up outside the doors of the store Sunday afternoon after district manager Bri Carlson posted an announcement on Facebook revealing the sale and the store’s closing. George said Carlson informed her of the decision to close the store this past Thursday.

“We were shut down for quite a bit because of COVID-19 and we just haven’t been able to come back,” Carlson said. “The pandemic played a huge part in the store closing and a lot of people have gotten used to getting their entertainment digitally. There are about 100 stores in the entire Midwest that are closing and I have about eight in my district that are closing.”

George said she was able to keep her employees on staff throughout the pandemic, but the slow business limited opportunities to hire new staff members. Carlson said the Byron store, located at 611 W. Blackhawk Drive, will also be closing its doors at some point.

The closure of the Rochelle location will be a tough loss for the community, as Family Video participates in local fundraisers each year and offers discounts on rentals for children who perform well in the classroom. A sign indicating the store space is for lease was posted outside the business a few weeks ago, but it’s unknown if another business will take its place.

“We do a lot of fundraisers and when kids get As on their report cards, they can earn free rentals,” George said. “Closing the store may not give our kids as many things to do.”

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