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After 32 years, one of Utah’s last-standing video rental stores closing in Springville

Posted at 9:50 PM, Sep 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-02 23:54:15-04

SPRINGVILLE, Utah — A small business is closing its doors after more than three decades serving its customers.

Larsen Video opened in 1987. Its primary source of revenue came from renting movies on VHS tapes.

In 32 years, the price to rent a movie stayed the same.

“Same as we do now, $2.75. Never changed,” said store owner Leon Larsen.

In its prime, the store was one of the most popular on Springville’s Main Street.

“There were Saturdays we’d rent out 2,000 videos. Sometimes you’d rent almost every video in the store,” Larsen said. “We were making more money in a week 30 years ago than we do in a year now. That’s a big difference.”

On some of the best weeks, the store would make up to $25,000 in profits.

With streaming services providing more convenience and instant access to blockbuster films, businesses like Larsen Video can’t compete.

“Videos were the big thing back 30 years ago. People couldn’t wait to get to the video store on Friday night,” Larsen said.

He believes his store is the last remaining video rental store in Utah County, but it won’t be open for much longer.

The building has been sold to a chiropractor and Larson will be out later this month.

“I see years of hard work. I built all of this myself,” Larsen said as he looked over some of the dismantled shelves that once displayed copies of Hollywood’s biggest hits.

The remaining videos in the store’s collection are being sold for 99 cents. It’s a far cry from the days when some movies were in such high demand, the waiting list to rent the videos took up an entire sheet of paper.

“I remember when ‘Dirty Dancing’ was the hottest thing in town,” Larsen said.

Over the years, Larsen developed a bond with his customers. Those relationships are what he will miss the most.

“I figure we had about 27,000 people come through here,” Larsen said. “I got a list out in 1989 of my top customers and there wasn’t one on that list that still comes here.”

While it’s bittersweet seeing his store close, Larsen believes the time has come to call it a career and enjoy retirement.

“Somebody told me years ago if you have two days off and couldn’t wait to get back to work, you don’t want to retire. Well, those days are over, I think. I have done this enough,” Larsen said.