Neighborhood Snapshot– The Video (lottery?) Connection

The Video Connection, 1208 E 53rd St., once advertized in the Herald as having the “perfect antidote to Chicago’s long frosty winter months” with “cinema masterpieces” such as “Citizen Kane,” the Star Wars Trilogy and Michael Jordan’s “Playground”.

But Hyde Park’s video connection no longer stocks videos. The large blue wall where the movies were once shelved now displays the store’s winning lottery tickets. I couldn’t help but wonder what had happened. Had the Video Connection, like many other movie rental establishments, lost their battle with RedBox and Netflix?

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The Video Connection rented and sold movies to Hyde Parkers for about 30 years. Seven years ago, the store stopped renting films, and began to sell lottery tickets in addition to videos. Owner Charles Newsome stated that they stopped renting “long before RedBox came in.” However, he attributes the shift from videos to lottery to a “market change.”

Newsome opposed changing the name to something more descriptive of its current business. “We have a legacy,” and a “30-year relationship with our customers.” For what seemed to me like the next logical step for a business that has made such fundamental changes, for Charles, was a sign of disloyalty towards his customers.

So while you can no longer rent a movie to cozy up to on your next date night, lottery tickets may be the solution to buying that yacht you’ve had an eye on, or paying your UChicago student loans (and don’t worry, there’s a RedBox down the street).