ROCK FALLS – Thanks to "very poor business," there soon will be two fewer places to rent movies in Sterling and Rock Falls.
"We knew it was coming," Video Villager owner Sherry Reitzel, 65, said Thursday. "Business has been very, very poor.
"This week, we didn't get our new movies we were supposed to. We took that as a sign maybe it was time to close the doors."
Reitzel opened at 530 W. U.S. Route 30 in Rock Falls in 1986, and at 205 W. St. Mary's Road in Sterling in 1991, she said.
Starting today, she is holding going-out-of-business sales at both locations.
"It's very sad," Reitzel said. "This has been my livelihood. We've made a lot of good friends over the years with the customers. We have several very loyal customers, probably just not enough of them.
"It's sad for my employees; they will be out of work once the inventory sale is done."
She has six workers in Rock Falls and five in Sterling.
Both stores will be open from noon to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, until the inventory is sold. New releases are $5; games are $15 and everything else is $2. Racks, shelving and signs also will be sold.
The drop box is open for people to return rentals.
Reitzel owns the building in Rock Falls, which is for sale.
She predicts the end is in sight for other video rental stores. "Netflix and Redbox are pretty much my biggest competition," she said, noting that Blockbuster has 800 stores left nationwide, but just announced it was closing 300 of them.
It's a sign of the times, she said.
"We weren't the first store in town, we certainly have outlasted," she said. "We had staying power. I credit a lot to my employees and my customer service. We outlasted Blockbuster, even."