Friday, February 25, 2011
Hollywood Video first opened its doors in 1988 with one store in Portland, Oregon, run by owner Wattles and his wife. From the outset Hollywood Video stores were large, brightly lit with an abundance of neon, and had 50 to 70 television monitors blasting the latest video offers. Employees dressed in red bow ties and cummerbunds. Every detail was designed to mimic the excitement and bright lights of Hollywood. And like Hollywood and the movie industry, Hollywood Video moved quickly and aggressively—only five years after its formation and with a total of 16 stores, the company went public. With the acquisition of Texas video-rental chain Video Central in 1994, the number of Hollywood Video stores rose to 100, and by 1995 the company was the third largest video-rental chain in the United States. By 1996 Hollywood had assumed the numbertwo position, and the company reported net income in 1996 of $20.63 million, a surge of 75 percent over net income in 1995, which was $11.79 million. The company had more than 500 stores in 29 states by October of 1996. Wattles told the Portland Oregonian, ‘‘In the third quarter [of 1996], we averaged better than a new store opening every 36 hours . . . and in the fourth quarter we plan on averaging over a new store every 24 hours.’’ In 1997 the company opened 356 new stores, and net income continued to rise—in the second quarter of 1997, Hollywood enjoyed an 83 percent increase in profits.