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Video Depot Marks 20 Years

10 Apr, 2003 By: Jessica Wolf

In the past two decades, a lot of independent video retailers have come and gone, but Video Depot in Palm Desert, Calif., came and stayed.

In February, the nine-store chain celebrated 20 years in the business. VP Scott Whitmer credits husband-and-wife owners John and Gayle Booth and their vision, adaptability and commitment to their staff and customers for the chain's success and longevity in an industry that has experienced widespread retailer shakeouts.

The Booths started the company in 1983, working together to run a single store.

“They are just great people to work for,” Whitmer said, noting that several store managers in the chain have been with the company for 10 years. Whitmer has been with Video Depot for 15 years.

To stay competitive with Blockbuster and Hollywood, which have multiple stores in the area,the company uses direct mailings and takes advantage of affordable advertising rates for radio and TV airtime in the region.

Video Depot also keeps the personal touch strong: It caters to the large senior citizen demographic by offering seniors who rent a new release a free catalog rental and hits the family demographic by offering a free rental to kids who bring in their report cards with three or more ‘A' grades.

The chain grew at one point to 14 locations, has bought out two independent competitors in the region and now has nine stores serving seven cities in the Palm Springs/Palm Desert area.

To celebrate 20 years in business, Video Depot offered two rentals for 20 cents at its stores all day Feb. 19. It also hosted local radio and television stations at several stores. With support from distribution partner VPD, it threw a party at a local Indian casino, where employees gathered for dinner, games and prizes.

Shelley Shores, a VPD sales rep, has been working with Video Depot pretty much since the chain started.

“We don't have a whole lot of independent retailers that can say they've been doing business for 20 years,” Shores said. “I think it's a huge milestone that they hit 20 years, and they're still just as strong as they were in the beginning. They're not fading away.”

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