Show's Over for Belmont Blockbuster

Video retailer will close up for good in March. Take our Patch poll below and let us know what you'd like to see replace Blockbuster.


Slowly the shelves of DVDs, Blu-rays, video games, candy, soda and movie paraphernalia are emptying, as Blockbuster video store at the corner of Ralston Avenue and El Camino Real prepares to close its doors for good.

"Everything Must Go" signs are posted on everything from movie shelves to store fixtures and TVs. 

The video retailer is closing 11-13 of its Bay Area stores; many have already shut down. The Daly City store was the most recent, closing in November.

Assistant store manager Elizabeth Mantha explained the reason for the closure that the property lease was too expensive and that Blockbuster is "in competition with itself," with its online movie ordering service, dollar boxes and soon-to-be-released streaming video service via Dish Network.

The seven full and part-time Belmont Blockbuster employees were notified of the store closure a few days before Christmas. They were told they'd have their jobs until the store closed up for good in mid-March.

Mantha said that all of the employees, herself included, have second jobs, or go to school, so the closure isn't so great an impact on them.

"I also work at Roundtable Pizza in San Mateo," said employee Mevlut Boga, so I'll just try to get more hours there." 

Boga added that the store is making more money now on the sale of merchandise than it ever did on rentals. 

"We're selling everything down to the carpet," said assistant manager Mantha.  

"Right now everything is 10 percent off, but prices will drop every week," she explained. The sale began December 27, and Mantha said they were busy last week due to the Christmas holiday. 

Both Mantha and Boga told Patch that they heard a bank (Chase) would take the place of the large video store on Belmont's most prominent corner. The City of Belmont would not confirm, nor deny this rumor.

"Chase Banks have gone into many of the other closed Blockbusters," said Mantha. 

Brian Logan January 06, 2012 at 05:58 PM
If it does turn out to be a restaurant, please not another Italian or Mexican one!
Tim Hoffman January 06, 2012 at 06:08 PM
With Belmont's luck it'll be a Hooters. ;o)
Justin January 06, 2012 at 06:37 PM
Hooters would bring in serious sales tax revenue -that's for sure! NO: Mexican or Italian retaurants, or sandwich shops. NO: Beauty Salons Manicure Pedicure places.
Paul B. January 06, 2012 at 06:51 PM
How about an Oil Stop or Tire Store or Garage? This is what we can expect realistically if Terranomics needs the high rent.
Steve Hayes January 06, 2012 at 07:41 PM
It would be nice to see Belmont Hardware take over the space - it might fit since they are becoming more of a showroom operation and it is a store unique to the community. Another idea would be a big jewelry store like the Shane Co - a better location (and building) than the space they have over in San Mateo.
Tim Hoffman January 06, 2012 at 09:39 PM
Sadly, I was only half joking above. A Hooters could be a best-case scenario, given the Chase rumor and Paul's comments above. In this economy, and given the site, I think any business with a pulse would be welcome right now. It's too bad, too. Here’s prime retail space that sits at Belmont’s only real intersection, yet the best you can say about its looks is that it shamefully hides of the rest of the Namaste/Radio Shack Plaza from passing cars and trains. For the time being, though, it is what it is, and Belmont still can only dream of doing something remotely cool in this part of town. Belmont’s semi-official landmark will remain the embalmed marquee of the old Belmont movie theater – itself killed in part by the Blockbusters of the world, irony of ironies. It’s also ironic that the Belmont marquee could never be built today, thanks to the Belmont sign ordinance. Whatever goes in to the old Blockbuster spot will have a sign so small, it’s guaranteed to be the best kept secret in town.
Mary Morrissey Parden January 07, 2012 at 04:39 PM
I would like to see either a family style restaurant or a brewing company restaurant at this location. When I was in Long Beach, I stopped by Belmont Brewing http://www.belmontbrewing.com/ and when in San Francisco had a beverage served in a glass that had Devils Canyon Brewing (Belmont CA) on it. If Devil's Canyon needed a marquee location, would they move from Industrial to Ralston and El Camino?
Mary Morrissey Parden January 07, 2012 at 04:43 PM
a PS: so you aren't confused about my comment above family friendly restaurant and beer -- Devils Canyon makes both beer and root beer.
Paul B. January 07, 2012 at 10:45 PM
The plumbing situation at Blockbuster would need serious improvements for a large scale Brew Pub at that location, yes I was half serious about a garage but this location demands high dollar volume that even a large Jewelry store can not provide.
Judie Davis January 08, 2012 at 01:33 AM
I guess tearing Block Buster down is not an option. How about improving the facade? New roof line, ivy crawling on trellisses between the arched windows, new landscaping. Anything would be an improvement. Coming into Belmont and seeing first thing it is not inviting.
joan peceimer January 08, 2012 at 04:25 AM
Let's face it parking will probably be a problem for any facility that includes a lot of people. Maybe a group of many repair type shops, it. alteration, aplisence (sp) repair, etc. Joan
Paul B. January 08, 2012 at 07:40 PM
I was thinking that the Farmers market could set up many stalls inside like a fair if we could find a way to lower the R.E. costs and improve water lines in and sewage out and parking. It was the parking design that brough about the Garage comment.
pearl January 09, 2012 at 03:26 AM
Belmont does not need another bank!!!! There are already at least four other banks in Belmont - three downtown by El Camino Real and Ralston, and one at the shopping center at Ralston and Alameda. No more banks!!!! Why don't you put a gym in there? Something useful to the community?
kerry January 09, 2012 at 06:23 PM
The gym idea is great. It could support and expand the needs of Belmont Parks and Rec and provide more winter space for adult and youth sports!
Kerry - ND January 09, 2012 at 09:43 PM
Well, finally. I'm surprised it held out for so long. I really wish this lot would be part of a downtown revitalization plan. Redevelopment of the property could be a huge step towards creating an actual downtown that many people seem to talk about. This is really our gateway, so I agree with the above statements about no banks or repetitive restaurants. Too bad I know it's a pipe dream to see a developer tackle this like the property on ECR 1/2 block from the Menlo Park Caltrain station. There's underground parking with plaza level Cafe Borrone, a cigar shop, bookstore, and formal restaurant. Ours would have a pedestrian bridge crossing Ralston to what is now Kung Fu Panda/FU U n Me Buffet, et al. I'm sure some neighborhood-friendly businesses would set up shop here if we provided a coherent foundation. As-is, that isolated building on an ugly parking lot is just as likely to attract a 10-minute lube as anything.
Gladwyn d'Souza January 12, 2012 at 06:58 PM
I'm surprised to hear a rational proposal from the chamber, I was expecting storage space or tattoo palour or hairdresser or dry cleaner. Another bank that doesn'tnpays any tax revenue, in the same parking lot, seems more in tune with Belmont. It must be the empty-the-village-feel componet of the vision that's often misquoted in documents.
Gladwyn d'Souza January 12, 2012 at 06:59 PM
The 600 odd empty parking spaces across the street are an illusion?
Paul B. January 13, 2012 at 06:41 PM
When Bayview left I suggested this lot to Dave Warden for exactly that plan, of Re-Devopement funding the site to place a four story underground parking structure with retail and mixed use at ground level. Alas that ship has sailed. We, meaning the City Council and the Candidates that run for it have some serious and difficult choices. Juggling special interest groups that want more recreational possibilities, the greenies wanting us to become the socialist engineers of Agenda 21 (higher living space densities & Bicycle Commuters,like in Asia) without the assets of HUD, the Chamber wanting more cash flow by Re-Developement at the tax payer's expense either State or Local. These are tough decisions and in the current economy we can't do them all. If it were up to me I jettison the MTC, stop the stupid HSR, even if we have to block the bull dozers with our P.D. and pick projects that bring employment, facilitate auto transportation and cohesive civic planning of our downtown to try to create one.
Martha Simmons January 13, 2012 at 07:44 PM
Well, at least nobody has suggested another phone store.
Cheryl January 16, 2012 at 09:22 PM
Hey ask Yumi Yogurt, they are always crowded and do a great business and can do more there with more parking, don't be so greedy on rent.
JA January 17, 2012 at 08:02 AM
I'd vote for a Chipotle.
Dogbert January 18, 2012 at 03:28 AM
Just thinkin' - I still have a 2003 5 day rental of "Gigli" sitting in my VCR. I wonder if I'll get away with it now?
JaketheDog March 03, 2012 at 03:51 PM
Hey how about another Blockbuster or maybe a bke path.....ridiculous planning commission!!


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