New Wave Video owner Tony Albano, with the help of employee Rebecca Juarez, offers videos and game rentals and Web inventory access. The Pilot/Jef Hatch
For Tony Albano, movies, and running a video store, are in the blood. Not because he loves them so much, but because he feels it is necessary.
Shortly following the closing of Blockbuster Video, Albano opened New Wave Video on May 1, after frantically working to prepare his space in South Coast Shopping Center.
“It was a last minute decision,” he said. “Everyone started crying because they couldn’t get their movies.”
Rather than listen to the public moan and complain, Albano decided to do something about the lack of movies in Harbor. He opened his own rental store.
Albano has plenty of experience in the movie field, most of it in Brookings.
In 2001 he was employed by Blockbuster Video owner Cristi Garvin to help open the Harbor Blockbuster, and worked there for a number of years before leaving the area for seven years.
When Albano returned to the Brookings area he returned to Blockbuster and worked there until the store finally shut its doors.
According to Albano, Garvin decided, as Blockbuster was reducing support for franchises, she had put enough time into her store.
“There is a huge video store market,” Albano said as he explained why Garvin closed. “She didn’t close because there’s no business, she closed because she’d done her time.”
Albano freely admits that there is some fear in starting a new business, especially given the state of the economy, but he is working on ways to offer his customers the latest in technological advances.
One of the innovative things he has done is to have his entire inventory listed on the store’s website so potential customers can browse from home before making a trip to the store.
“We want to be able to allow people to pick their movies and pay for them using the website,” Albano said. “We’re not there yet, but we’re moving towards it.”
New Wave’s online list of movies includes over 300 older titles, referred to as catalog titles, and hundreds of new releases, including 3-D movies.
“We’re the only place in town that carries 3-D movies for rent,” Albano explained. “We’ve got a 3-D TV so people can test it out before they take it home.”
Albano is always looking for ways to make his customers happy, such as taking special orders and searching for hard-to-find movies for customers. He keeps a request list and once four people have requested the same movie, he orders it and has it available to rent.
Offering disc resurfacing for movies and games that are scratched and unplayable is one thing that Albano thinks his clients don’t know he offers.
“Sometimes a kid will be playing a game on his Xbox or PlayStation and it will get bumped and put a huge gouge in the middle of the disc,” Albano said. “Our machine will take that gouge out and make the disc like new.”
Disc resurfacing is $3.50 per disc and can be done while one waits if it is just a single disc.
Albano aims to make New Wave Video a one stop shopping destination, stocking movies and all the snacks that go with them, soda, popcorn and candy as well as a wide variety of Taylor’s sausage and beef jerky.
While he is happy with the reception he has gotten from the public he wishes that there were easier ways to get attention.
“Short of standing in the middle of the road, it’s hard to attract people,” he said. “I’d be happier if the old Blockbuster customers came back.”
Part of his customers reluctance to return could have something to do with the quality of movies that are being released, Albano said.
“There are some good new movies like Harry Potter, but there are a lot of remakes,” Albano said. “Some of the remakes are good, but it seems like people are out of ideas.”
Albano runs his store with the assistance of five employees: Mary Smith and Carol Davis, who came over to his store when Blockbuster closed its doors; and Rebecca, Ashley and Brianna Juarez.
New releases are $2.95 and come in three-day and two-day varieties based how long the movie has been out.
Catalog movies are $1.95 for a three-day rental, and family titles are $.99 for a three-day rental. New releases are moved to catalog titles after they have been on the market for nine months, making it cheaper for those patient enough to wait and save a dollar.
Customers can see a full listing of movies at http://www. newwavevideo.com.
New Wave Video is located at 16261 Hwy 101, #8, in Harbor. They are open Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Sunday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. The phone number is 541-469-8889.