- A customer etched a sign of support in front of Blockbuster, next to Ellwood Thompson's. Photo by Scott Elmquist.
If Blockbuster goes, so does the neighborhood? Recent news that the video rental store in Carytown is closing — the one next to Big-Box slayer Ellwood Thompson's — has led to an outpouring of community support. Signs were posted in front of the store last week bemoaning the movie-renting behemoth, which filed for bankruptcy last year.
The underlying message, some say, had less to do with the inability to rent movies and pay late fees — that business model has been dying — and more to do with rumors that Ellwood Thompson's, looking to expand, hastened Blockbuster's exit. “It was the way the store was being shut down that upset people,” one longtime customer says.
Not so, says Paige Bishop, director of marketing for Ellwood Thompson's. Bishop says the landlord reached out to Ellwood's after Blockbuster declined to renew its lease. “We're like hello, what's going on here? We were very surprised about the rumors that we were trying to push them out,” Bishop says.
As for the possible expansion, she says Ellwood's has yet to make a decision.