Home Brick Life Local Business N.J.’s Last Video Rental Store is in Brick, and It’s Closing Next...

N.J.’s Last Video Rental Store is in Brick, and It’s Closing Next Week

Video Time, Brick, N.J. (Photo: Daniel Nee)
Video Time, Brick, N.J. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Next weekend, there will be no place left to rent a movie to watch on Saturday night in Brick – or anywhere else in the Garden State, for that matter.

After 27 years in business, Bob’s Video Time, the final holdout of what was once a multi-billion dollar industry, is closing its doors in the Briarmill shopping center off Lanes Mill Road.

The shelves are still stocked with Blu-Ray discs, DVDs and video games, but a closeout sale is beginning to take a bite out of the inventory. Business is slow – an occasional regular strolls in to find something to watch for the night – but the hustle and bustle that was once found in this place has gone away for good.


Bob Karpodinis, now 62, began the business when he was 35-years-old. He took a chance on opening a business in his hometown with the hopes of gaining a foothold in a growing industry that was thriving with the popularization of VCRs a few years earlier.

“I lived in Brick, and back then it was a glamorous business to be in, in its own way,” said Karpodinis. “It was like your own piece of Hollywood, and it was a very profitable business.”

Over the years, Karpodinis and his wife manned the counter daily, made sure the latest movies and video games were in stock, and meticulously kept up with rental records and receipts. The business was, in and of itself, a sign of the times. A 1997 episode of Seinfeld even centered around video store culture, with Elaine, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, falling madly in love (so she thought) with a store clerk who made weekly picks for customers.

Elaine Benes, a Seinfeld character, browses for movies in a 1997 episode of the sitcom. (Credit: NBC)
Elaine Benes, a Seinfeld character, browses for movies in a 1997 episode of the sitcom. (Credit: NBC)

As the industry grew, so did the competition, but Video Time had carved a local niche that kept its customers returning, again and again, for the personal service that may not have always been present in a massive Blockbuster or Hollywood Video location. 

“There were eight video stores in a two mile radius, and they eventually all went out of business,” said Karpodinis. “At least for the last five years, we were the only ones left. People like mom-and-pop stores. They know you from town and they know your name.”

Karpodinis said his store is the last video rental store in the entire state of New Jersey, save for one or two ethnic specialty stores in the state’s Indian community.

The factors behind the industry’s decline is no secret. First, Netflix began offering rentals through the mail for discount prices, eventually leading to broadband video on demand services that represented the final nail in the industry’s coffin. Hundreds of thousands of movies at a viewer’s fingertips, with no need to return discs or face late fees, was too tempting.

Still, some customers remained, including a local couple who came in to find one last movie to rent while a reporter was present.

Bob Karpodinis (right) with customers Faith and Roger Yourth, of Brick. (Photo: Daniel Nee)
Bob Karpodinis (right) with customers Faith and Roger Yourth, of Brick. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

“I’m going to miss the family atmosphere here,” said Faith Yourth, who has been coming to the store for decades. “I just love Bob, his wife, everything. We got to know them over the years.”

Her husband, Roger, said his wife is a movie buff, and Video Time always had the latest titles even when other stores would run out.

“He always had everything, and he had things ahead of time,” said Roger Yourth. “If you haven’t seen a particular movie, you could always find it here.”

The couple, in their 60s, have broadband Internet access at home, but still prefer choosing which movies to watch as they have for years.

“Netflix is just too limited,” said Roger Yourth.

Karpodinis will close his doors for good next Saturday, Feb. 11. He said since he put up signs announcing the closing, customers have been stopping by to share memories and even shed a few tears. It is those relationships – with his customers and the many staff members he’s employed for years, that he’ll miss the most, he said.

Video Time, Brick, N.J. (Photo: Daniel Nee)
Video Time, Brick, N.J. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

“I would say the best memories were our employees, the young kids who worked here,” said Karpodinis. “They started here and then learned how it is in the working world. I was happy that I could help them along.”

Karpodinis said his next step in life is to maintain and online video sales business he founded several years ago. But nothing will be like running the store.

“We made a lot of friends because we had people coming in constantly,” he said. “We had kids who grew up coming here bringing their kids in here. The people of Brick have been very good to us, supporting us. We made a good living here.”

  • east coast resident

    Great family video store. Its so sad that another facet of small town America is disappearing. It gave you a chance to talk to your neighbors, when visiting the store and choosing a movie for the night. You would exchange feedback on the merits of movies seen and recommend them to your friends. Bob, his family and staff have been friendly and welcoming. Its what a Mom and pop business is all about. Will miss you guys

  • Jerry Kennedy

    I will miss that store. The entire crew was always very helpful.

  • Smokin

    Been there forever never closed open even server storms ,blizzards never closed for vacations…part of bricks history how a town grows through good and bad times..good luck Bob ..and family..

  • Make America Greater

    Rochelle Rochelle

    • KaayC

      Rochelle Rochelle That was at the theater not the video store though, right? I miss those small video stores — gone the way of old school candy stores. They had the human touch. This sounds like a good business and that it was fun too.

      • Make America Greater

        “Rochelle Rochelle , a young girls erotic journey from Milan to Minsk.”
        George rented it at a video store and didnt rewind it.

      • KaayC

        Yes! Okay I do seem to remember that! “Fruits a Gamble”. lol

  • Damian Fraley

    Gonna miss ya Bob was just in during the summer reminiscing bout the old days coming in and renting a bunch of video games charging em dad’s account and Bob would never charge my dad cause he knew I was only supposed to get 1 game but instead would get 5 lol that’s just the kinda guy Bob is just wanted to see everyone happy enjoying what he enjoyed so much good luck to you Bob

  • Melissa Thomson

    So sad to hear this. Best wishes to the family. Been going there for 25 years. Such nice people

  • J W

    Gotta give him credit for outlasting corporate titans like Blockbuster and Hollywood Video. I don’t even know when they both closed here. David beat Goliath. Score one for the little guy. Then Netflix came along.

  • Andrew C

    This was my video store growing up. I used to ride my bike here and rent crappy horror movies and N64 games. I remember they even had some of the japanese game systems (N64, Dreamcast) before they came out in the US and you could rent the system. That was really cool. Thanks for everything Video Time. You were a part of my childhood. https://media.giphy.com/media/OzzYLtSSigmUU/giphy.gif

  • Ben Pasqua

    There actually still is one video rental store in New Jersey. MY STORE, as a matter of fact. Video Express in Yardville, N.J. Not only do we rent new movies and games but we also SELL new games and RETRO games as well. On a side note I’ve called and spoken to Bob on a few occasions and it is really, really sad to see him go. Super nice guy and will most definitely be missed.

    • troll jones

      How long you planning on staying open and renting videos?