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West Coast Video

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Title: West Coast Video  
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West Coast Video

West Coast Video
Industry Video rental shop
Fate Liquidation
Founded 1983
Defunct 2009
Headquarters Langhorne, Pennsylvania, United States
Area served United States, Canada, Peru
Products Retailing and renting of DVD and, video games
Parent Independent
Website (Archived Version)

West Coast Video was a chain of video rental stores founded in 1983. The company became defunct in 2009, but existing stores could continue to use the West Coast Video banner and run independently. Many locations have since closed, but a few remain open today.


1980s: inception, acquisitions and expansion

In 1983, Elliot Stone opened the first West Coast Video store in Northeast Philadelphia. During the next three months, Stone established the chain by launching three more stores.

West Coast Video acquired all 455 National Video stores in September 1988. The chain now had 660 stores in total, making it the world's largest video rental chain at that time.[1]

1990s: bankruptcy, restructuring, online presence, and lawsuit

West Coast Video has been sued for using the "MovieBuff" trademark on its website's HTML metatags.

West Coast Video had a revenue of $250 million in 1990. The chain opened its first Canadian store in 1991. It was located in the Orleans region of Ottawa, Canada. However, West Coast faced financial difficulties due to increased competition in the video rental industry. The company reported a $120 million revenue in 1991, less than half of what it made the previous year.[2] The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March 1992 and had a positive cash flow six months later.

In 1993, the West Coast Video company changed its name to West Coast Entertainment Corporation. It would eventually create additional brands. During that same year, a second store in Canada was opened in The Glebe neighborhood of Ottawa. The GamePower Headquarters video game stores franchise was launched in 1994.

Online websites for West Coast Video were launched in May 1999. This included an online shopping store that sold movies.[1]

In March 1999, West Coast Video was sued for using the "MovieBuff" trademark on its website's HTML metatags.

2000s-present: New formats, chain demise, and independence of remaining stores

Both Blu-ray and HD DVD movies were offered at West Coast Video in the mid to late 2000s due to the high definition optical disc format war happening at the time.[3] Games for the three most popular seventh generation consoles (the PlayStation 3, Wii and Xbox 360) were also added to the stores' inventory.[4] Both of these major additions to inventory placed a financial burden on the chain. In January 2007, the West Coast Video chain was down to only 20 locations in the United States. Five of these would close before the end of the year, another three prior to May 2008, and yet another three by the end of 2008. The chain finished 2008 with only nine locations in the United States. In 2009, the chain ceased to exist, and although remaining stores could keep the West Coast Video brand name, they were now independent video rental stores.


As one of the earliest brand names for a video rental chain, some West Coast Video customers have become attached to their independently owned local store. This is especially true of the Ottawa South location, which was described as "a legend" and a "stalwart in the neighbourhood for decades". The arson crime which destroyed the building devastated loyal clients.[5]

The few West Coast locations remaining tend to remain innovative in the way they run business. Some feature a hobby store and a pizzeria inside or adjacent to the building[6] while others operate solely on a DVD-by-mail basis.[7]


West Coast Video store in Ottawa. It was forced to close due to an arson, and has no plans to reopen.

The West Coast Video chain expanded beyond its northeast and mid-west United States locations. Rental stores were previously found in Canada and Curaco, and the brand remains present in Peru.[1]


Two West Coast Video stores were located in Ottawa and closed by the end of the 2000s. There was also a West Coast Video store located in Mississauga, which was bought out by Blockbuster in the mid-1990s.

The iconic Ottawa South location near The Glebe neighborhood was launched in 1993. It eventually offered free delivery with a minimum order. A fire burned the building in 2009, and although the store was declared "temporarily closed" in 2010,[8] it has yet to reopen due to a dispute with the landlord.[9]

Another lesser-known location in the Orleans, Ontario region opened its doors in 1991 near the Fortune and Orleans intersection. The owner held monthly drawing contests and was known for decorating festively throughout the year. This location was well known for holding less popular titles and games, and for having a pornography section tucked away in the back of the store. Competitors included two Rogers Plus stores and one Jumbo Video store, all which were located near Orleans Road. This increased competition prompted West Coast Video to lower its rates until it was eventually forced to close by the late 2000s. The owner renovated the empty building to create a "Fortune Professional Centre", dividing the video store's large space into two smaller spaces for two tenants. The space was available for lease on July 1, 2010, during Canada Day.[10] Since October 4, 2010, the Convent Glen Dental Centre occupied one of the two spaces.[11]


In Peru, West Coast Video offers a DVD-by-mail service nationwide.[7]


  1. ^ a b c "Company history". Funding Universe. Retrieved 2012-04-27. 
  2. ^ Wickstrom, Andy. "Boom Scales Back As Rentals, Sales Rise A `Mere` 9.5 Percent".  
  3. ^ West Coast Video 2008.
  4. ^ West Coast Video games 2008.
  5. ^ Gough, Drew. "Former West Coast Video building sits in limbo". Openfile. Retrieved 2012-04-28. 
  6. ^ Leskin, Thomas. "West Coast Video: Business still strong". Republican Herald. Retrieved 2012-04-29. 
  7. ^ a b "Official site". West Coast Video Peru. Retrieved 2012-04-27. 
  8. ^ "Ottawa's Best Independent Video Store". West Coast Video Canada. Archived from the original on 2010-01-17. Retrieved 2012-04-27. 
  9. ^ Nash, Michelle. "Vacant store on Bank Street remains an eyesore". Your Ottawa Region. Retrieved 2012-04-27. 
  10. ^ Gauzas, Mitch. "Fortune Professional Centre". Retrieved 2012-04-28. 
  11. ^ "Map and Location". Convent Glen Dental Centre. Retrieved 2012-04-28. 

External links

  • West Coast Video USA (Archive)
  • West Coast Video Peru
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