Erol’s Video Sold to Blockbuster for $40 Million

Erol's video

Remember Erol’s? They were the awesome local video chain where we rented Goonies, Ghostbusters (the original), or the Gremlins. It was a sad day when the local powerhouse came to an end with the Blockbuster acquisition.

This article below by Mark Potts in The Washington Post on November 20th, 1990, talked about the recent acquisition.

Erol’s Inc., which over the past decade has become synonymous with videotape rentals in the Washington area, agreed yesterday to be taken over by its largest competitor, national video giant Blockbuster Entertainment Corp., bringing one of the toughest local retailing battles in memory to a dramatic end.

Blockbuster, which arrived in the Washington market less than two years ago to challenge Erol’s, said it agree to acquire the Springfield-based company for $40 million, although Erol’s owner Erol Onaran will get less than that because not all of the payment is in cash.

Over the next few months, most Erol’s stores will become Blockbuster location and others will close. Erol’s membership cards also will be converted to Blockbuster memberships, company officials said, and the stores will operate under Blockbuster’s basic rental policy of $3 for three nights.

About Ghosts of DC

Tom founded Ghosts of DC on January 4th, 2012 as a blog to uncover the lost and untold history of Washington, D.C. He has lived in the city for over a decade and loves exploring every corner of the District. He lives in Columbia Heights with Mrs. Ghost and Ghost Dog. On September 3rd, 2013, the second site launched as Ghosts of Baltimore.

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  • David Quick

    That’s Video Americain in the picture. Were they connected to Erols?

    • Don Bruns

      Not a bit.

  • Publius Washingtoniensis

    Erols’ started as a TV/Radio/Sound chain — they may have even sold appliances at some point. As I recall, Erol was a really smart start-up entrepreneur born in Turkey.

  • Mark Potts

    Thanks for the blast from my Post past!

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  • mahajohn

    I still occasionally glimpse those sturdy yellow Erol’s bags. Many a Friday night sleepover began with pre-pizza dinner trips to Erol’s. I’m glad the guy was able to make a ton of money before the bottom fell out of the local rental market.

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  • Joe_Bloe

    Erols also started an ISP, Erols Internet, which was sold to RCN in the 90’s. RCN still serves customers in DC.