If you’re in a mood to watch a good movie or listen to your favorite compact disc, the selection and convenience has improved at Branden’s Video and Music since it opened a second store in Valencia County.
Doug Butler, owner of Branden’s Video and Music, celebrated the grand opening of his second store in Belen last weekend. For the past seven years, Butler has rented videos and sold music from his store in the Valencia Y Shopping Center in Los Lunas.
“I purchased the store in 1995 and named it after my son, Branden, who is now 13,” Butler said. “I like the video business because of the friendly-type atmosphere. All you have to do is give the customer good service and the rest takes care of itself.”
Before Butler bought the video and music store, he worked for the previous owner, Midtown Rentals. Along with renting furniture, appliances and other household equipment, Midtown Rentals also sold videos.
With a selection of 8,000 movies at the Los Lunas store, Butler has started off the Belen store, located in the Del Rio Plaza, with about 2,000 video selections. Butler said he wanted to expand his business to the southern part of the county for two reasons.
“One, the consumer side, no one else was out there renting videos,” Butler said. “I thought it was a good opportunity to locate there because I was finding that a lot of customers were having to drive to Los Lunas to rent their videos.”
Although Butler has been fortunate to keep his small-but-loyal clientele, he did say the expansion was also necessary on a business level.
With two national chain video stores moving in within blocks of the small, locally-owned business, Butler has seen a dramatic drop in business over the last few months.
“With Hastings moving in, we needed to diversify,” Butler said. “Right now, we’re just trying to survive in Los Lunas, and I don’t know if we’re going to. We do have loyal customers in Los Lunas, but the competition seems a little too great.”
Butler’s business did rebound after Blockbuster opened a few years ago, but he’s seen a dramatic drop in business since Hasting’s opened in early June. The Los Lunas businessman said June and July are usually his best months of the summer, but, since the nationally owned chain opened, it’s ended up as the worst-selling months of the entire year.
“I think a lot of the drop in business had partly to do with rumor,” Butler said. “The rumor was that we were closing and moving to Belen. I kept telling people we were just opening another store, but when they saw that we were moving merchandise out, the rumor mill kept going.”
Butler is adamant about wanting to stay in Los Lunas. He said he loves working and living in the village where he’s been able to serve his customers.
There are several reasons customers keep going back to Branden’s videos and music for the movie and music selections.
Although Branden’s will no longer sell newly-released compact discs, Butler will continue to buy, sell and trade older and used CDs and rent and sell video games.
“We will continue to fix CDs and DVDs,” Butler said. “If they get scratched, we’ll refinish the surface so they can be played again.”
The prices at Branden’s Video and Music are also very competitive with the nationally-owned video stores. Customers can rent a newly released video for $1.99, a general title for $1.49 and a cartoon for only 49 cents.
Because customer satisfaction has always been important to Butler, he has also given his customers an option that isn’t available at most other video stores. Customers can rent the video for as long as they want.
If a customer wants to rent a new release, they can pay a minimal fee for more time to watch the movie.
For every day of extra use, a new release can be rented for $1, a general title can be kept for 50 cents a day and a cartoon can be kept for 30 cents a day.
“We also reserve movies,” Butler said. “That’s something that you don’t see anymore. If you call and reserve it, we’ll hold it for you. We can reserve a movie up to 30 days in advance. The customer just has to call ahead, and we’ll call you when it comes in.”
Butler said his customer-service-oriented practices have done well, and he hopes the public will continue to shop at the Los Lunas store as well as stop in the new Belen store.
Branden’s Video and Music
Owner: Doug Butler
Services: Rents videos, used CDs
Location: 2510 Suite C, Main Street, Valencia Y Shopping Center in Los Lunas and 154 Caldwell in the Del Rio Shopping Center in Belen
Hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekends. Open every day of the year
Telephone: Los Lunas, 865-3399; Belen, 864-3399
Clara Garcia is the editor and publisher of the Valencia County News-Bulletin.
She is a native of the city of Belen, beginning her journalism career at the News-Bulletin in 1998 as the crime and courts reporter. During her time at the paper, Clara has won numerous awards for her writing, photography and typography and design both from the National Newspaper Association and the New Mexico Press Association.