VisArt, one of the last independent video stores in the Charlotte area, will move from its longtime site in the Elizabeth neighborhood to a new location on Eastway Drive at the beginning of September.
VisArt has operated at its current spot at 1945 E. 7th St. in Elizabeth for about 30 years. It will remain open at its present location until the new one at 3104 Eastway Drive opens on Sept. 1.
A “For rent” sign in front of the store had prompted some customers to inquire whether the store was going out of business. Co-owner Gina Cerniglia told the Observer last week VisArt wasn’t closing but rather planning to either renew the current lease or move.
“The move is occasioned by our uncertainty about the neighborhood at the time our lease is expiring,” Visart said in a statement. “There is a lot of construction in the works that will be good for many businesses, but it seems likely to be harder for a few like VisArt.”
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Many small businesses are dealing with the pressure of booming apartment construction in older, close-in neighborhoods like Elizabeth. Across the street, for example, the owners of Jackalope Jacks are waiting to see if their landlord reaches a deal with apartment developers that could push them out.
Jim Lowder, president of Lowder Investment properties, said his company is actively looking for another tenant for the space, but that no construction is planned for the building.
According to VisArt, its new Eastway location will be comparable in size and will still carry 30,000 movie titles and an array of merchandise, from posters to action figures to lunchboxes.
Local attorney Mickey Aberman purchased VisArt in 2011, when video stores were already feeling tough competition from the likes of Netflix and Redbox.
Cerniglia said the store has a loyal customer base and many shoppers have said they’ll follow it to the new location. VisArt, she said, remains alive and well despite the growing competition from streaming services.
“It’s basically just about having a selection that none of the other services provide and still being competitive in price. I think that’s why we’re still open,” Cerniglia told the Observer.