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40-year-old East Rochester video store to close its doors

(WHAM photo)

East Rochester, N.Y. - One of the largest and last local video stores in this digital era is closing.

Walking into Hyatt's Classic Video on West Commercial Street feels a bit nostalgic, with its extensive collection of VHS tapes, DVDs, cassette tapes and VCRs.

Technology has run through Bob Hyatt's veins since the 1960s, when he started selling home theater equipment out of his house.

"When a lot of the chain stores like Norman Brothers and Century started selling components through catalogs,” Hyatt said, "we saw the handwriting on the wall and we went into video."

The 85-year-old owned and operated the family video store in East Rochester for 40 years. His four children were also raised in the business.

"We moved into this building on the night of the Ice Storm in 1991," he said.

Hyatt worked through the struggles of big box competitors and, now, streaming, keeping afloat through converting content on VHS tapes onto DVDs.

At one time, they had 35,000 titles. Now, the Hyatts are closing.

“He’s an icon,” Rod Adams said of Bob Hyatt. “Having him go away is like having a piece of the whole industry just disappear, because there's not many of these shops around anymore."

The plaza's new owners want the space to expand. They offered the Hyatt’s another location, but the family said it’s time to retire.

"So even though it's not graceful as we would like to have it, it's time,” Hyatt said. “Overwhelmed, and sad, but mainly overwhelmed by how much merchandise we have to clear out before we leave the premises."

Customers without cable or satellite depend on the Hyatt’s for their entertainment - and will miss this place.

With a database of 39,000 customers, Hyatt said that's who he’ll miss the most.

“It’s been a good run. I’m especially happy to be leaving with so many friends that I’ve made,” Hyatt said. "Hopefully, a lot of my customers will get some good movies at a good price and enjoy them through the years."

Some of Hyatt’s favorite movies are the The Lost Boys, Farewell, My Lovely and Gone with the Wind.

Everything in the store must go by the end of the month. The family is hosting a sidewalk sale this weekend from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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