Sheffield's 'last-surviving' movie rental store shuts, declaring 'the internet finally won'

Village Video, which recently changed its name to Zap Video Games before closing, in Woodhouse (pic: Google)
Village Video, which recently changed its name to Zap Video Games before closing, in Woodhouse (pic: Google)
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The closing credits have finally rolled for what had claimed to be Sheffield's last movie rental store left standing.

Blockbuster was still a behemoth of the high street when Village Video, as it was then known, opened on Cross Street in Woodhouse more than 30 years ago in 1987.

But as first mail order DVDs and then internet streaming devastated what had been a booming industry, the independent shop, which recently changed its name to Zap Video Games, tenaciously clung on as others folded.

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A friendly atmosphere, coupled with its knack of getting new releases days before they should have been available, helped this relic of a bygone era cling on long past its sell-by date.

Sean Bean's local store - where the star's proud parents were reportedly known to pop in to buy his latest films - also became a haven for technophobes, with loyal movie buffs travelling from across the city.

But its owners admitted defeat at the weekend, thanking customers as they conceded 'the internet finally won'.

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Philip Brightmore, who founded the shop and ran it for more than 30 years before selling the business to Paul Higgins in April last year, said he was sad to see the store shut after all these years but it had been fun while it lasted.

"I was right upset to see it close but it's been fighting the internet all this time and the internet finally won," said the 69-year-old, who lives in Frecheville.

"I'm pretty sure it was Sheffield's last-surviving video rental store. Sadly, the only places making money these days are charity shops, pound shops and nail bars.

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"But I had 30 good years there which I really enjoyed and we'd like to thank all our loyal customers, who we'll miss seeing."

Despite running a movie store, he remarkably claims never to have watched a film himself other than on TV.

He got into the trade by accident, having worked for a repossession firm that amassed a huge collection of 3,000 returned films which he began renting out to neighbours before spotting the opportunity to snap them up and go into business himself.

Philip, who ran the store with his wife Susan, daughter Sarah and friend Stuart Abbott, said Titanic was the most popular film he ever stocked, just ahead of When Saturday Comes.

He told how as a small business he had got away with renting out movies days before their official release date because stock usually arrived early and film studios were only concerned with ensuring the big chains observed the rules.

News of the closure was greeted with sorrow on Facebook by customers including Zoe Fedak, who called it the 'end of an era', and Joanne Flack, who said it was a 'sad day' for the village.