Family Video stores in Byron, Rochelle closing


ROCHELLE – Family Video in Byron is slated to be closed, the company announced last week.

The store in Rochelle, which has been open since 2007, will also be closing at some point in the near future. An exact date for the stores to be closed has not been announced.

The Byron store is located at 611 W. Blackhawk Drive.

All items inside the Rochelle store, located at 497 E. State Route 38 in Rochelle, are on sale.

“We were a little shocked,” said store manager Brittany George. “Our business has been slower than usual because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we were closed for about two and a half months earlier this year because of the shutdown, so people found their entertainment elsewhere. With the pandemic in mind as well, I don’t think many people want to leave their homes too often.”

Family Video currently operates more than 500 stores nationally and more than 50 stores in Illinois. The closest stores to the Rochelle area are located in Dixon and Freeport.

Customers lined up outside the doors of the Rochelle store Sunday afternoon after district manager Bri Carlson posted an announcement on Facebook revealing the sale and the store’s closing.

“We were shut down for quite a bit because of COVID-19 and we just haven’t been able to come back,” Carlson said. “The pandemic played a huge part in the store closing and a lot of people have gotten used to getting their entertainment digitally. There are about 100 stores in the entire Midwest that are closing, and I have about eight in my district that are closing.”

George said she was able to keep her employees on staff throughout the pandemic, but the slow business limited opportunities to hire new staff members.

The closure of the Rochelle location will be a tough loss for the community, as Family Video participates in local fundraisers each year and offers discounts on rentals for children who perform well in the classroom. A sign indicating the store space is for lease was posted outside the business a few weeks ago, but it’s unknown if another business will take its place.

“We do a lot of fundraisers and when kids get As on their report cards, they can earn free rentals,” George said. “Closing the store may not give our kids as many things to do.”