Since the closing of huge video rental superstores over the last couple of years, there are thousands of empty buildings all across the country. Here’s how those Blockbuster Videos, Hollywood Videos, and more are being converted.
- A Hollywood Video in Champaign, Illinois, was turned into Hollywood Liquors, an oversized liquor store. All the new owners did was take off the “Video” sign and replace it with one that said “Liquors.”
- A Denver-area Blockbuster was gutted, outfitted with swimming pools, and is now a swimming school for kids and toddlers.
- A former Blockbuster Video in Queens, New York, was converted into a Radio Shack outlet in 2012. But maybe not for long. Radio Shack might be going the way of Blockbuster, recently announcing the closing of more than 1,100 stores.
- Most of these former video superstores are too big for the needs of most individual businesses. Commercial realtors have split up the space into multiple compartments. That Blockbuster-now-Radio Shack in Queens only takes up barely half of the vacated space.
- Panera Bread and Chipotle have “co-branded” many ex-video stores to split the retail space between the two fast food restaurants.
- Workout Anytime is a chain of 24-hour-a-day gyms based in Georgia. The 2,500-square-foot-plus size of former Blockbusters was the perfect size for the company’s facilities—Workout Anytime has taken over 20 former video stores and is looking to take over 10 more.
- Several video superstores in London, England, now serve as Loungers, a chain of bars. Before they were bars, but after they were Blockbusters? The stores were a popular hangout for squatters and homeless people.
- There are many reports of former Blockbuster and Hollywood Video stores changing to new stores…every few months. Seasonal operators like Spirit Halloween fill those retail spaces, only to give way to temporary Christmas stores in the winter and fireworks stands in the summer.
- Perhaps the most ironic example: six storefronts of the bankrupt Blockbuster in Florida are now home to La Familias…a pawn shop.