''It's a shame.''
That is how Travis Ross described his decision to close what is believed to be the last video store in Tauranga today.
It's the end of an era for Civic Mags, Cards & Lotto, which stocked more than 28,000 movies at its peak before diversifying into other areas as the internet and digital subscriptions took off.
The store is nestled between the group of shops on Cameron Rd near Countdown, currently hidden behind an orange wall of roadworks.
Ross said he was still busy until closing, with the regulars keen to get their hands on the vast movie and speciality magazine range.
The ages ranged among keen movie-watchers and there were new members each week, many being people who had just moved into town and didn't yet have an internet connection.
It housed 28,000 movies at its peak - he said picking his favourites was hard – and the stock was dwindling quickly, with the closing-down sale and keen online buyers.
It was a place where people could browse movies like a library, with family and friends, whether it was to rent for the weekend or buy them.
Classics like The Goonies and Titanic were always in demand but popularity fluctuated, with interest spiking when a new box-office sequel came out - like the Matrix series - and people couldn't find it on streaming networks.
"It's interesting to see."
Ross has run the store for over eight years, with about eight other stores around the city at the time. This was also when he believed the shift away from in-store movies to online platforms started.
"Each year you saw one or two drop off."
He said it was sad to see the shift to digital.
"The brick-and-mortar days are done … when the banks and the post shops are disappearing, it says something, doesn't it?"
The only reason the store had survived this long, he believed, was because he diversified with Lotto, magazines, gifts and greeting cards.
But his time was up and he had negotiated out of the lease with the landlord.
"It's a shame," he said.
"It's not like you can just say they can go to the other shops now because there's nowhere else."
He'd miss the customers the most, getting to know some of them well in almost a decade of operating the shop.
He'd also miss seeing the delight on faces when people walked in to see the range of goods, saying they didn't even know the shop existed.
"It's hard, you feel like you're letting them down because it's just stopping."
Ross made the "nerve-wracking" decision to close around Christmas after bill increases including $60,00 a month for rent.
He'd lost most of his suppliers, who had moved back to Australia. This raised his costs as he had to order videos in himself, with very high shipping prices.
It was the same for the specialised magazines, previously getting many from the US and UK, which was just unfeasible post-Covid as magazines would then have a shelf price of up to $40.
The roadworks along Cameron Rd also made access to the store difficult.
"With the new strain of Covid coming through, it's just going to be another hell year after the last two."
Now was time for family, and to try to relax.
The next couple of days would be spent sorting out the remaining stock.
Avid movie and DVD watcher Ezra Harvey only started coming to the shop on Monday and said it was sad to see it close.
He had "too many" in his collection to count, and he was trying to find more storage for his collection.
There was something special about DVDs, he said, "it's more personal" than streaming on an online platform.