Morley Blockbuster video store defies the odds and still going strong


Blockbuster Morley owner Lyn Borszeky. Picture: Martin Kennealey d480399
Blockbuster Morley owner Lyn Borszeky. Picture: Martin Kennealey d480399

IT may come as a surprise to learn that WA’s last remaining Blockbuster video rental store still averages about 30 new members a week.

The Morley storeowners John and Lyn Borszeky put this down to being “the last man standing” in the area, with Blockbuster’s only other offering a rental kiosk at Mosman Park IGA.

The Duncraig couple first started in the video rental industry in 1989 when they went into partnership with friends in a small shop in Greenwood.

From there, they owned stores in Innaloo, Mt Lawley, Yokine and Victoria Park.

They bought the existing Blockbuster in Morley almost 10 years ago because of its close location to their Mt Lawley one.

“It was a good fit to own both stores,” Mrs Borszeky said.

“Business was good and we were able to build on Morley’s customer base and increase its revenue doing joint promotions with Mt Lawley.”

However, like other industries, home entertainment has been affected by technology, which can be seen by the number of stores closing in recent years, including Video Ezy in Midland, which will close at the end of the month.

“We knew change was coming but were a bit surprised how quickly it affected our customer base once Netflix hit the Australian market,” Mrs Borszeky said.

Though Morley still has “a large customer base of regular members”, particularly “from the middle to older age group”, Mrs Borszeky said they had noticed a drop in those aged 15 to 30.

“We believe the main reason for this is they are caught up with social media and YouTube and this takes up a lot of their time,” she said.

“We do find we still have a lot of families come in, especially over the school holidays when we have our ‘kids rent free’ promotion.”

She said the most popular rentals were new release movies and television series, “especially on the weekends which is our busiest period of the week”.

The sun is still shining on Blockbuster Morley.

Though many consider there is no future for the once-beloved video rental store, the Borszekys are committed to trading “for as long as our customers support us and we can supply a service to them”.

“We get customers all the time pleading for us not to close as they still enjoy the experience and service that we provide,” Mrs Borszeky said.

“It is really gratifying to see the excitement when the kids are looking through and see their favourite character.

“It is sad to see where our industry has gone for a number of reasons.

“Firstly, the number of customers that have been disappointed when stores have closed and secondly our industry was a great employer of university students, who loved their movies and showed their passion when talking to customers.

“The hours we were open suited them as it enabled them to work around their university timetables.”

But all may not be lost and Mrs Borszeky said the video rental store was actually making a comeback in the US.

“But not as we know them now,” she said.

“They are smaller boutique stores which only focus on new releases and TV shows; they have done away with the weekly movies as they are easily available from streaming companies.

“We still believe that we have a service to offer, especially when we see our customers discussing with our staff members about movies or TV shows or talking about their favourite actors and directors.

“Parents also like to bring in their kids as this is what they remember doing with their parents; it is very nostalgic for some of them.”

Though Morley is WA’s only Blockbuster store following the Mandurah and Albany stores moving to trade independently as Mega Movies, Perth still has Video Ezy stores in Mindarie, Armadale and Spearwood, as well as 93 rental kiosks.

Civic Video also has five WA stores, with one in Malaga, while Network Video has a home in Mt Hawthorn.

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