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A dinosaur is alive and well in Somerville, Tennessee

Video Stop
Video Stop
Gerry Glenn Jones

There is still a place in West Tennessee where you can find a dinosaur; that's right a dinosaur. If you drive to the east side of the town of Somerville, Tennessee, you can see, and even go inside. Before you say, "Gerry Glenn Jones has lost his mind," read on. I am not talking about a Tyrannosaurus Rex or a Brontosaurus, but rather a video store. Video Stop in Somerville is one of very few video stores that have not gone extinct.

Bill Gray stands in front of Video Stop
Bill and Erin Gray

Bill Gray has owned the Video Stop since 1988, and while other video stores have closed due to the competition from streaming videos, vending video machines and mail order, Bill continues to operate, and he says business is good. He attributes the fact that people still like to come in and see what is on the shelves, and receive friendly customer service from he and his daughter, Erin, who helps him run the business.

When you look at the building from the outside, it is not very impressive, and could use a lot of work, but as Bill says, "It's not the package that counts, but rather, what's inside." He says he is able to keep the movie rental costs down by not doing a lot of maintenance to the building. In a statement, Bill Gray talks about the history of Video Stop, and how his whole family has worked there through the years.

"We have only closed one day since I bought the business in 1988, and that was because I was in the hospital, and my daughter Erin, who helps me run the store, came and visited me in the hospital. We try to make Video Stop a fun place to do business. We have lots of loyal customers that come here to get all the new movies and the older classics. It may come as a surprise to many, but my store gets all the new movies before the companies that have the streaming videos, the mail orders and the vending machines do.

Another factor that keeps us in business is the 'human factor.' When you come into Video Stop, you have humans that know a lot about movies, waiting on you, not a cold vending machine. I have customers that trust Erin and I so much, they call and say, 'Grab me some good movies I haven't seen,' and when they arrive, they rent the movies we have picked out for them."

Bill says that business has been tough through the years, especially when his store was competing against 13 other video stores that used to be open in the area, but through determination, his family has kept the business going. He says, "My wife and I have kept all three of our children here in cribs; we literally raised them here at Video Stop."

If you still like to browse through the movies on shelves, read the labels, talk to knowledgeable people about what is in stock and what you would like to see, drop by Video Stop in Somerville, Tennessee.