Hixson gains movie shop, dollar store

Hixson gains movie shop, dollar store

August 25th, 2011 by Carey O'Neil in Business Around the Region

The Movie Stop on Highway 153 in Hixson will offer more than 5,000 movie titles.

Photo by Tim Barber /Times Free Press.

A national movie retailer will open its first Tennessee location in Hixson this weekend, replacing a Blockbuster Video with what the new company's executives call the modern model for video stores.

MovieStop, a new and used DVD and Blu-ray store with 47 other locations across the country, allows customers to buy, trade, sell and rent movies. The business will have a soft opening Sunday in front of the Highway 153 Walmart.

An independent dollar store, Just a Dollar, will open in the next month in the same plaza as MovieStop. Both businesses' operators call the area perfect for their stores.

"We love the market," said MovieStop Chief Executive Officer Russ Howard. "It sets up well as far as the demographic. And the location, we think, is an ideal location."

Howard expects his store to succeed where Blockbuster failed because the store offers customers flexibility in how they purchase movies, be they used, new, traded in or rented, and a selection he said is at least three times larger than the next competitor.

More than half of the startup investment for the store, which Howard declined to reveal, went to the inventory of more than 15,000 movies.

"Blockbuster was a 1980s video rental store, and we're a modern-day movie store," he said. "Our model is predicated on selling a movie, but we do it in a way that gives a consumer a lot of flexibility."

Customers are likely to want that flexibility in the next year, he said. Today, 97 percent of households have a DVD player. But with Blu-ray players selling for $100, Howard projects more than half of homes will have them by the end of the year. The more people have the capability to play the high picture- and sound-quality disks, the more people are going to want to trade up their DVD collections, he said.

If all goes according to plan in the 10-employee store, the Atlanta-based company hopes to expand.

"Provided we have the success we're anticipating, I think it would be easy for us to go towards both Nashville and Knoxville at the same time," Howard said.

Dawn Phillips, who co-owns Just a Dollar with her husband, Charles, said with the traffic their plaza draws, it's hard to imagine a business not being successful.

"On this side of the town, it's the hub of the shopping," she said.

The Phillipses, who invested about $100,000 to open the 1,900-square-foot store, started seriously considering opening a dollar store in March. When they started scouting locations they narrowed their options down to two, and the Hixson site stood out.

"I was thinking with twice the traffic, I just don't think you can lose," she said.

Just a Dollar will carry office, party, kitchen and pet supplies, baby goods and holiday decorations.

"Twenty years ago I didn't like going into dollar stores, but they've really upgraded," Phillips said. "I don't know anybody who doesn't want to go to a dollar store."