Going, going, but not quite gone
Pierre et Fils video store owner Pierre Leroux stands in the basement of his Embrun store, where he poses among the thousands of movie and television disks for sale before he shuts down that video business and switches to a kiosk system of new movie rentals in September.      Vetter photo

Candice Vetter
Villager Staff
EMBRUN – The Pierre et Fils video stores in Embrun and Casselman are set to close and to be replaced by kiosks, which will distribute DVDs and Blu-ray movies.

The kiosks will operate similarly to a jukebox, said owner Pierre Leroux. “The kiosk will hold 800 movies at a time, and will have new movies regularly. It operates by touchscreen and accepts payment by credit card.” He also said new movies will be cheaper to rent through this system, at a cost of $3 compared to the previous $5. Both stores’ existing stock of DVDs and Blu-ray disks, except the newest ones which will be put in the kiosks, is for sale and well over a thousand of the approximately 10,000 titles have already been sold.

“Movies are my passion,” said Leroux in an interview at the Embrun store. “With the kiosks I can continue in it.”

He started the stores 16 years ago at age 25. “People assumed I was the ‘fils’ in Pierre et Fils,” he said, “because I was young.” He said he loves the clientele and the chance to interact with people, and credits the business as one of the reasons he was elected, first as Russell Township Councillor then as Mayor. “But things change,” he said. “The first 18 months I worked 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day but Christmas. When we first opened I never thought it would be as successful as it was. The community took to it like crazy and was fantastic with us over the years.”

Since becoming a municipal politician he has spent early mornings in the stores and has had to hire additional staff to cover the time he used to be there. His sons have helped in the family business, which also includes his mother in Embrun and his sister in the Casselman store.

The kiosks also provide an opportunity to give back to the community. Leroux said a portion of every rental will go towards local causes. Asked how it was possible to make a profit with movie fees, credit card merchant charges, and donating parts of proceeds, he answered that expenses with the kiosks will be very low.

The original plan was to close at the end of December, but there is a potential new owner for the Embrun store location which will likely reopen as a full convenience store. Now the plan is to have the kiosks operating in September.