BASHAS' TO OPEN FIRST LIVE VIDEO DEPARTMENT

PHOENIX -- Bashas' Markets will open its first live video department this week with an inventory more than twice as large as video selections in any of its other stores.The department, designed as a "theater-within-the-store," is in a new store in Tucson scheduled to open this week. The section will house 5,000 rental units in 460 square feet, said Bill Glaseman, video specialist. The largest video

PHOENIX -- Bashas' Markets will open its first live video department this week with an inventory more than twice as large as video selections in any of its other stores.

The department, designed as a "theater-within-the-store," is in a new store in Tucson scheduled to open this week. The section will house 5,000 rental units in 460 square feet, said Bill Glaseman, video specialist. The largest video inventory in any of Bashas' existing stores is about 2,000 tapes.

"Bashas' is committed to having video departments in their stores, and certainly all the new stores are going to have video departments," said Glaseman. "They want to have larger departments, because they feel that it is going to be a viable program."

Selections in the new department will include about 50 units of video games, 100 audio books and a test of Ingram's CD-ROM rental program, which has about 25 titles. Roughly 20% of the movie inventory will eventually be new releases and about 10% will carry the Dove Seal to flag family-oriented content. There also will be a rack of sell-through products from Ingram.

The new department will be the model for future video sections. "It will be the beginning of a model. I'm sure that we'll find some things that we will have to fine tune," he said. At least one other new store is on the drawing boards to open in the middle of next year, he said.

With live inventory, the actual tapes are displayed on the shelves, protected by a security system. "Live seems to be the acceptable way to go for large departments. Where we can see the advantage of it, we are going to make it work," he said.

"We are going to have a marquee and we are going to have neon inside. Our lettering is going to be in neon and we are going to have neon strips along the walls above the movies."

Racks are from JD Store

Equipment, Los Angeles, and the point-of-sale software is a proprietary program developed for Bashas', said Glaseman. Distributor Ingram Entertainment, LaVergne, Tenn., is the primary video supplier. The retailer will update and remodel video sections in existing stores. Where possible, it will put in a similar presentation, he said. "If they have the space to do this when and if they remodel stores, then the video departments will be enlarged," he said. Other departments will be made over. For example, the use of grid racks from JD will be expanded. "We are leaning toward using them exclusively in the future," said Glaseman. The new department is part of the service center in the front of the store. It is accessible to customers either as they walk in the door or after they pass through the checkstands, he said. Rental rates at the new store will be the same as at many of Bashas' other stores: $2.49 for new releases and 99 cents for catalog. The test of CD-ROM (compact disk-read only memory) is the retailer's first. "It may be a little early. I don't know if there are enough players in the market. But we thought we would give it a shot and see what it is, and where it will go in the future. It's worth a try," said Glaseman. This is Bashas' first try at renting audio books. "We see it in the competition. I'm not so sure that it does so well, but we really don't know and we are going to try it," he said. This is the third store of Bashas' to put in the Dove Seal program from the Dove Foundation, Grand Rapids, Mich. The retailer started using the Dove program about three months ago. The Dove Seal identifies rental videos that meet the foundation's criteria for family-oriented content. The new department highlights the renewed commitment to video that Bashas' made when it bought out its rack jobber, Family Home Video, San Fernando, Calif., last year. Glaseman joined Bashas' from the racker at that time. "Bashas' is a forward-looking company that keeps adding stores, and we keep on going right along with the additions," said Glaseman.