That's Rentertainment Logo
516 E John Street, Champaign, IL 61820
(217) 384-0977

Urbana-Champaign's Best Independent DVD Rental store
(locally owned and operated since 1985)

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A few tidbits about That's Rentertainment:
That's Rentertainment opened on June 1st, 1985 in a 600 square foot space in the back of Johnstowne Centre. At the time we were a record rental place with a handful (maybe 200) of VHS and Beta tapes. Our goal was to stock only the very coolest movies -- international, cult, independent -- pretty much, stuff I like. CDs arrived soon there after and we started buying those, too.
After about two years we moved across the sidewalk (to a space that isn't there anymore -- it's apartments now) and almost immediately got a "cease and desist" letter from the RIAA (apparently renting records and CDs was illegal for stores but somehow not for libraries). The next day we had a massive sale, sold all of our records and CDs, and bought more videos.
Then we moved across the sidewalk again (to where Benetton used to be, and then a variety of misc places including Harold's Chicken and Fat Sandwich). We kept buying video tapes at an alarming rate and building and re-building all of our shelving and counters. Someone even shot a scene for a film ("The Garbage Man") in our store but it never got released. If you ever get to see it, that's the always charming Alice Gorman (then Renter's manager) in the background.
At some point we opened our first second store. It was on Oregon Street (in Urbana) right next to Espresso Royale -- we shared the space with Delight's (and, if memory serves, Espresso shared their space with Kinko's). We stayed there about two years before Bruce decided he needed more space (and changed the name from Delight's into Za's) and we decided we didn't need any at all. He kept the space for another ten years or so and we moved out immediately.
We finally moved to our final resting spot at the corner of 6th and John Street (former home to Schrumf's Grocery). We opened here in July, 1994. DVDs soon arrived and I believe Rentertainment was one of the first Video Stores in the country to rent them. They were rolled out in three markets nationwide -- Chicago, Los Angeles and New York. I drove to Chicago early that morning and went to every Best Buy I could find and bought a copy of every DVD there was (20 in all I think). Then I raced back to Champaign, checked them in and put them out for rent. Needless to say, no one rented them because no one had a DVD player. That's all changed and now we've got a gazillion DVDs and it's the bulk of what we stock (mainly because we ditched VHS in the summer of 2005). Oh, somewhere in there we bought a ton of laser discs, rented them for a few years and then sold them. We also had games for a while but I lost interest and got rid of them. And, sometime around 2006 the great "High Definition War" started between BluRay and HD-DVD. For a while, we stocked both formats but when HD finally surrendered, we started buying BluRay heavily. Now we have a ton of BluRay titles to go with our gazillion DVDs.
In September of 1998 we opened our second second store in Urbana. This time it was on Lincoln Avenue (where McBride's Drug Store and more recently The Corner Store use to be) and shared a space with Caffe Paradiso. After a year we moved next door to where Garcia's used to be. When the lease ran out we decided to go back to having just one store.
So, here we are, over 25+ years later...

That's Rentertainment, 516 E John, Champaign
And, in case you haven't been in yet, here's what That's Rentertainment looks like on the inside:
That's Rentertainment
That's Rentertainment
That's Rentertainment

 

 

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