Hampton Bays Blockbuster to Close in April

Hampton Bays’ Blockbuster Video is one of many across Long Island to have its doors close in April.

The location is the latest casualty in the video rental chain's downward slide. The shop, located 250 W. Montauk Highway will officially close its doors on April 10.

Already, the store is nearly empty with everything, right now to the fixtures on sale.  Movies are being sold for as low as $4 and posters for $2.

The manger on duty, who wished not to be named, said he could not comment on the closing and said no photos inside the store could be taken.  He referred comments to Blockbuster’s corporate offices, which did not return phone calls as of press time.

Outside the building, a large, attention-grabbing, yellow sign adorns the awning notifying patrons of the closing. It reads, “Store Closing: This Location Only.”

However, Blockbuster video stores across Long Island are closing, including locations in , , and Shirley locations.

An employee of the Shirley location, who also spoke under anonymity, said the , Huntington Station, Huntington, Center Moriches, Water Mill, Coram, Patchogue and Holbrook locations would remain open.

Last September, Blockbuster confirmed that it had voluntarily filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company had been negotiating with its bondholders to restructure its finances and come up with a strategic plan to transform the way it does business. However, on March 11 Blockbuster announced that a judge in U.S. Bankruptcy Court had approved a plan to put itself up for auction.

Blockbuster is facing an assault from all types of smaller services. Rivals such as Netflix and the Redbox DVD and Blu-Ray vending machines seen in grocery stores and outside 7-11 stores have cut into territory Blockbuster used to monopolize. Amazon.com's Instant Video service and Apple's iTunes also offer video downloading straight to your computer.

Combine those options with websites like Hulu that offer streaming video and customers now have a variety of choices aside from traveling to a brick-and-mortar location.

The company made an effort to compete with the Netflix model offering its own Blockbuster by Mail service along with adjusting its pricing plans at its stores. At one point it eliminated late fees only to bring them back last year.

Calls and emails to Blockbuster Video corporate offices were not returned by time of publication.

Port Jefferson Patch editor Lon Cohen and Smithtown Patch editor Peter Verry contributed to this story.



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