Vancouver-based Movie Movers to liquidate inventory

National chain plans to hire its employees

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Vancouver-based Movie Movers will begin a monthslong effort to liquidate its inventory on Saturday.

But when the company’s two local stores shut down permanently in early 2012, it won’t be because of the same economic forces that have shuttered Blockbuster and Hollywood Video locations across the country, according to Craig LoRowe, one of several owners of the business. Instead, it is closing to make way for a national chain that plans to hire his employees, LaRowe said, though he declined to name the chain.

While many national video rental stores have struggled, Movie Movers occupies a different niche, exchanging cash or store credit for sellers’ DVDs, VHS casettes, and other media — and sometimes acquiring those products when other stores go out of business. LaRowe also owns and runs Vancouver-based LaRowe & Associates, which buys media from companies that are closing down.

Business has been steady over the past year at Movie Movers, which has locations at 9411 N.E. Highway 99, across from the Hazel Dell Winco, and at 11300 N.E. Fourth Plain Road, near Northeast 117th Avenue in Orchards, LaRowe said.

“We were going to move the Hazel Dell store to a new location,” he said. Then he was asked to help a franchise owner who plans to open two buy-sell-trade video stores in Portland and a third in Vancouver, each occupying 15,000- to 30,000-square feet — about as much space as a typical Border’s Books or Hollywood Video. The 10 people who work for Movie Movers would be able to take jobs at the new business, which would likely start pre-opening preparations in March or April, LaRowe said.

Rather than compete with a much larger new arrival, “I accepted the contract,” he said.

He declined to discuss further details of the arrangement, citing confidentiality requirements within his contract.

Movie Movers will close its stores for one day on Friday, then on Saturday will begin selling off more than 100,000 movies, as well as making store fixtures available for purchase. LaRowe predicted that it will take until January or February to complete the liquidation.