HAYWARD -- More than 25 years after entrepreneur Francisco Zermeno set up shop in a Tennyson Road storefront, Video Z is closing its doors at the end of the month.
It's because of a lot of things, said the City Council member. Things that have been the bane of many similar mom-and-pop movie mongers: Netflix, RedBox and DIRECTV, to name the main culprits.
"It's also a lack of customer loyalty," Zermeno said. "They get DIRECTV and in a minute they forget all about us."
Zermeno said his shop has survived longer than other video stores because he carved out a niche for himself with Spanish-language films.
It's the reason Video Z was born in the first place.
"Back in 1985, there was no place to rent movies in Spanish," Zermeno said. "I found a need and I filled it. That's a good capitalistic system."
It started in March 1985, with a modest initial selection of 100 titles. That grew to thousands of tapes, and while he stocked the blockbusters, Zermeno still has a soft spot for hard-to-find films from the heyday of Mexican cinema.
"Mexico had a real nice golden age during the '40s and '50s and '60s," he said. "Fantastic stuff. I call it 'Mexiwood.' "
Zermeno said people are going to have to start demanding Netflix carry more Spanish-language films because he doesn't know of any other such specialty video stores around.
Or they can take advantage of his blowout sale, which started Monday and lasts through the
Watching his inventory go is a sad thing, Zermeno said.
"It's bad," he said. "I worked hard on that baby, I'd be in there messing around with movies all the time. "... I love movies. I used to watch five movies a day -- that's another reason I started (Video Z), I thought, 'Gee, I might as well have my own shop if I'm going to be watching so many movies.' "
Video Z is at 1114 W. Tennyson Road, in Hayward.