Save Surbiton Blockbuster

11 years ago...

Hi everyone, I want to raise public interest in a community fight to keep Surbiton's Blockbuster store open. This business may well be viewed as a failure by the administrators Deloitte UK but this video store is one of the busy hubs of community life in Surbiton and would be sorely missed by many if it were to disappear. Many of the businesses around would surely suffer from the closure too as many an evening is centred around getting a film to watch and dinner to eat in one place. Please join our up and coming Facebook community to try to keep the amazing staff of this store employed and this fab store open? Our Facebook community is called simply Save Blockbuster Surbiton and it is active on the web tonight. Please come and join us, like us and fight to keep one of our local stores alive. Thank you. Andrea


This is exactly why the stores are all closing down. I for one walk around Surbiton and see things around me and in doing that i not only took my DVD's back to the store but I shopped at some of the other small local stores whilst I was there. I've only lived here for 3 years and I managed to spot the blockbuster store on a walk nearly as soon as I moved here and I live by the high school so it's not just two minutes for me to get there. As the parking situation is so difficult in that area I chose to walk or if we have driven in the past we've parked in Sainsbury's when there has been no room. The films I want on iTunes are often much more expensive than in Blockbuster and I for one would rather go for a walk than pay the extra just to be lazy. Maybe it's my north-eastern girl mentality and the very tight purse strings I hold but I would much rather meet some lovely and amazing people throughout my life than sit at home looking at the screen just in order to decide what I want to do later in the day when I'll be sitting looking at a a screen.

When I first moved to Surbiton I was shocked by the number of empty stores in the high street area which made the place look decayed and as if it was on it's last legs and over the past couple of years it's been lovely to see the shops open again and the place looking smarter and alive. It's a great shame that this may be the start of a similar time of decay again.

This is all true, but your comment illustrates why this can never work. You are a supporter of local businesses in the town, but even you have driven to Blockbuster occasionally when you only live a 10 minute walk away!

Most people just won't do that, and to be fair I can understand why they wouldn't. iTunes isnt the only source of films and content. I am a member of Lovefilm who send Blu Ray discs through the post to me and I can watch 10 or more in a month for a cost of £11. Netflix and the like offer streaming of thousands of movies and TV shows for about £5. You only need to use iTunes for the latest releases, and I don't find Blockbuster any cheaper than iTunes for those ones.

The number of vacant shops in high streets is a massive problem, especially in somewhere like Surbiton that will never attract a lot of the 'usual' type of stores because of it's proximity to Kingston.

The long term solution to this is for commercial landlords to reduce the rents to what they are actually worth (i.e. an amount that let's the retail traders actually turn a bit of a profit rather than being strangled by overheads), but I can't see this happening for a long time because the cartel of landlords rather see their properties empty than let out at a reduced rent so as to protect the capital value.

Even if that does happen, I don't think Blockbuster can be saved. Apple et al are being a bit greedy at the moment with the cost of downloads, and are probably able to reduce it to half what it currently costs and still make a profit. My guess is that they will do this as soon as competition is stronger, and in the end we will move to a similar model which Spotify provides for music - all of the new releases and back catalogue available at all times for a nominal fee each month. I can't see how Blockbuster can compete with that, even if rent and business rates a significantly reduced.

My view is that towns like Surbiton will return much more to residential use. Victorian houses that have been carelessly converted into newsagents and the like in Brighton Road could be converted back and a lot of the proper shops could also be remodelled to provide housing. They would be grouped around a much smaller commercial area, more in line with what is needed now. If done properly, I don't see why this couldn't actually be an improvement to the town, and might even take the top of house prices!

To all the people wanting to keep Blockbuster open I suggest they club together and purchase the stock and take over the lease, pay the bills, pay for the staff to run it and see how long the money would last. I can tell you retailing is no easy job, and if the store closes it is because it does not pay. "PEOPLE", you vote with your feet and fingers, your feet by not using your local shops and stores and your fingers by buying online, you create the high street by your actions or inactions, SAD but TRUE.
An ex Retailer

I do vote with my feet and I use my local stores as per my desire to keep this one open.

I for one have never seen a customer in the store whenever I have walked past and Blockbusters are dated eyesores.

It would be a shame if the store is left empty/boarded up but hopefully something more useful will come in it's place. The building is a in a great location.

As per the comment below I thought that it was the Tolworth store being discussed. I never know that there was a Blockbuster in Surbiton.

the one in surbiton is used by quite a few people, so much so that on occasions I have had to que up for ages to try and get my films out. there are comments about the cost but I don't think that 4 new films for 4 nights for £10.00 is that bad, and at least in a shop you can see the films and have them straight away unlike other comments about itunes etc.

I echo that,the business model is surely "Bust",I cannot imagine anyone would be renting vids or games etc these days.
The site is important but sadly parking is hopeless so only the bravest of retailers will try to open their unless they feel that Tolworth is
so poor that a 99p shop could work for walk in customers.
Perhaps this just another nail in the Broadways coffin until Tesco get their permission to revitalise the whole area.

I am assuming that this petition is for the small Blockbuster store in Surbiton itself rather than the massive one on Tolworth Broadway.

Either way, I think you are right. The parking situation on Brighton Road is a nightmare and I think only people that live within two minutes of the store would even consider walking there twice to pick up and drop off when it is much easier to download a film or game.

I'd like to support the campaign, but I just don't see how the business can be viable. Film rentals are about £3 on Apple TV and can be watched anytime within a month. Subscribing to something like Lovefilm at £15 per month means that an avid film watcher could have at least 20 films delivered to their door each month with no risk of extra charges.

How can Blockbuster ever compete with this? They have to charge at least £3 per film rental to have any hope of covering the store-based overheads and they have to charge late fees otherwise they have no stock to rent out!

I don't like the idea of seeing another empty shop in Surbiton, and really hate the fact that jobs will be lost, but this is a truly outdated model, and how much longer can it last even if it is saved now?

i agree with part of what you said in that its an outdated model. Blcokbuster should have used the stores as a 'showcase' for people who wanted to look and / or get DVDs straight away and make far more capital out of on line purchases. They have a web site but few know about it. Also the store in surbiton is large and could be used for other things as well around the Game / DVD market.
All in all I think its a shame that yet another shop should close with all the loss of jobs that this will involve.
And to be honest the only reason I went to that part of surbiton was to go to blockbusters

Crikey,I have lived in Surbiton for 40 years and never knew there was a Blockbuster there other than the Tolworth one.

another indian restaurant coming up

Don't joke!

I do think that everyone now realises that Surbiton is over-catered for in that regard. It is quite easy to get a peak table in Maya or Joy now without booking in advance and I still hardly ever see anyone go into Priya.

Another different type of restaurant would be nice, but it is a big gamble as 'Naturally Chinese' seems to be empty most of the time and I didn't think it was too bad when I visited.

It seems that the only eateries that do well here are Indian, Italian and pubs/bars. The French Table is the exception, but I think that people travel from far and wide to go there.

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