Casa Video continues to stand the test of time

TUCSON, Ariz. - Going to the store to rent a movie is a ritual of the past...for the most part. Most stores have disappeared, gone out of business, and lost customers to online streaming services and on-demand services. But not Casa Video, in Tucson.

"The industry has been saying we were going to die for a long, long, long time now," co-owner Gala Schwab said. "And I think we just refuse to lay down quietly."

For 35 years, people have shopped at the store. It opened up a few years before Blockbuster and other chain movie rental stores, according to Schwab. Today, it still is open, when the majority of competitors are not.

"It amazes us, too, that we're still here," she said. "It really does."

Schwab speculates a variety of reasons contribute to why Casa Video has been able to stand the test of time. The biggest one: the bar they opened up a few years ago.

"It's been a big help," she said. "I would have to say that it's actually kept us in business at this time."

On top of that, she thinks it has to do with how many movies people will find in her store. She's convinced people have access to thousands more in her store than they'd ever have on-demand or through a streaming service.

"I think we're in the range of 60 thousand titles," she said. "You might find Casa Blanca on Netflix one year, and then not the next. So then, you have to buy another subscription to another service, so you can watch that movie, if that's what you want to watch."

The customers also play a big role in why the store is still open and thriving, according to Schwab. 

"I've seen customers come in with their children, and then I've seen their children all grown up, coming in with their children," she said.

Some customers, like Philip Ponce, say they prefer to search for their movies in person rather than scrolling for them. To him, it enhances his movie experience, a time where he can escape the struggles of day-to-day reality.

"You come here and get a movie, and you forget about what went on that day at work," Ponce said. "For me, a movie takes me -- it's almost like meditation. I'm into the movie, and I've forgotten about who I am."

Schwab doesn't know what the future has in store for Casa Video. But despite the majority of the industry being gone, and more online streaming services sprout, she thinks her store still has a bright future, and will continue to stand the test of time.

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