Waterfront Video to close its Middlebury store

MIDDLEBURY — Waterfront Video in May will end what has been a 13-year run in Middlebury’s Marble Works complex.
Waterfront Manager Adrienne Perry cited building issues and a changing movie rental industry as the primary reasons for the business’s decision to vacate the roughly 2,200-square-foot spot it has been occupying since the summer of 1998.
Waterfront will continue to operate its flagship store in Burlington.
“We had some great loyal customers,” Perry said. “We will be sad to leave Middlebury.”
Waterfront has carried more than 11,000 DVD and VHS movie titles — about one-third of its total inventory — at its Middlebury location. The store had developed a keen following not only for the volume of movies it carries, but also for carrying hard-to-find and offbeat titles. If a movie was not available at the Middlebury store, it could sometimes be harvested from the Burlington store.
But the advent of services like Netflix and the Redbox DVD kiosks have put pressure on stores like Waterfront.
Perry also attributed Waterfront’s departure to some foundation and roof problems in the Marble Works building in which the business is located.
“We needed to leave that space,” Perry said.
Waterfront will cease renting movies at its Middlebury store at the end of this month. Plans call for a “blow-out sale” of the business’s duplicate movie titles in May, according to Perry. Waterfront has employed four part-time workers at its Middlebury location.
Oakley Smith, a general partner of the Marble Works, acknowledged work needs to be done on the Waterfront building. Marble Works ownership is currently determining what to do with the structure.
“All options are on the table, including renovating it back into better shape,” Smith said. “The building has definitely been degrading over the years, and definitely needs some money put into it.”
Waterfront’s departure will mark the second substantial vacancy at the Marble Works during the past few months. The Farmers Diner closed in February after an almost two-year run in more than 2,000 square feet of space. Smith said he is currently in negotiations with a potential tenant for the former Farmers Diner space. While he was not at liberty to disclose the name of the prospective tenant, he said “it is not going to be a restaurant.”
Reporter John Flowers is at johnf@addisonindependent.com.

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