TK's MORNING BUZZ: First WaxWorks Trade Show in Three Years Was an Unabashed Success -- With an Air of Defiance and Tinge of Sadness4 Oct, 2000 By: Thomas K. Arnold
"Captain" Kirk Kirkpatrick with VSDA president Bo Andersen and National Association of Video Distributors chief Bill Burton at the WaxWorks Trade Show and Seminar. (Hive News Photo)
OWENSBORO, Ky. — The first WaxWorks Trade Show and Conference in three years, which ends this morning, was an unabashed success.
The exhibit floor was sold out, the seminar schedule was rock-solid and there was a general air of defiance among many of the retail attendees that indicated they are determined to survive, regardless of what the future holds in store.
And yet there was a certain tinge of sadness here as well, a realization that many of the small independents who attended this year’s show aren’t going to be around much longer, no matter now much they’d like to carry on. Defiance and determination only go so far, they say, until reality sets in.
One retailer I met last night in the Executive Inn’s Time Out Lounge, Gavin Jones, has been operating a Movie Warehouse store in Monticello, Ky., for six years. Instead of attending the afternoon seminar, he left the show floor when it closed at noon and headed straight for the bar.
He’s made up his mind to exit the business in May, throwing in the towel because he simply can no longer fight the twin assaults of Blockbuster moving into his tiny Bible Belt town and the emergence of satellite.
He’s seen a significant drop in his rental business over the last few years, and even though he’s big on DVD, that’s not enough to carry him through. "The video business is dying," he declares.
Another retailer, who asked me not to use his name, says the only reason he’s still in business is tanning. He plans on hanging in there until December of next year, when his lease expires. Then, he says, he’s going to get out of video entirely and concentrate fully on tanning.
"But I don’t want my competition to know," he said, "so please don’t use my name."
It’s disconcerting that things have come to this, that honest, hardworking retailers can no longer make it in the business that they built.
But video is hardly alone. Starbucks’ successful assault on independent coffeehouses is legendary; Home Depot has all but put the mom-and-pop hardware store out of business; and who needs a neighborhood grocery store when you’ve got a well-stocked Wal-Mart right around the corner?
The chaining of America is upon us, and it doesn’t matter whether the chain is brick-and-mortar (Blockbuster) or electronic (satellite, cable, the Internet).
In the battle of David versus Goliath, the slingshot has lost its effectiveness.
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