Movie buffs have new insta-outlet in Hillsboro

David Vogel launched his Instaboro DVD vending machine at Hillsboro Ampride the first week of November. Don Ratzlaff / Free Press
David Vogel launched his Instaboro DVD vending machine at Hillsboro Ampride the first week of November. Don Ratzlaff / Free Press
Movie buffs in the Hills?boro area have a new place to scratch their itch for a last-minute DVD rental.

Since the first week of November, Hillsboro native David Vogel has been offering current DVDs through ?Instaboro,? a video vending machine located inside the local Ampride convenience store at 512 E. D St.

So far, Vogel is pleased with its debut, but he?s still trying to figure out local buying trends.

?November was really good?better than I expected,? he said. ?There hasn?t been a sales pattern yet. I thought weekends would be good, and Friday and Saturday nights. But they?ve been all over the map, as far as numbers. I?m sure ball games and such play into it. Thanksgiving was really good.?

Inspired by the popular Redbox DVD machines in larger cities, Vogel began checking into the opportunity in 2011.

?I researched it a little bit, but with Quick Flick here?she was doing a good job there?so I just put it on burners,? he said.

When Quick Flick announced it would be closing its doors, Vogel?s interest was renewed.

?I keep telling myself, if there?s an opportunity I should try it,? he said. ?I had done some research before, so I knew who did it and what they had. So I contacted the company (DVD Now). They basically sell the machines and do technical support for them.?

Vogel said he was attracted to Ampride as a location because of its high customer traffic.

?It was centrally located, and it?s right next to the college?that was a big one,? he said.

When he approached store manager Laura Legg, he was surprised by her response.

?She said she already had this idea?she had been talking with the same company I was,? Vogel said. ?But she said if you want to run with it, I?ll let you have it.?

Vogel currently rents a small space in the southeast corner of the convenience store.

Renting a DVD through Instaboro is a lot like operating vending machines that distribute other products, he said. Most of the DVDs available to customers can be seen through the transparent windows on the front of the machine.

Additional DVDs are available on a second window on the backside of the machine. The entire inventory can be viewed via the touch screen on the front side.

All transactions are completed with a credit or debit card. The newest releases cost $2.49 to rent, while older ones will cost $1.99. Vogel said he also offers several DVDs in a Blu-ray format.

Vogel is responsible for acquiring the DVDs for Instaboro. The machine can hold up to 250; his inventory has grown so far to around 130.

?I keep an eye on box office numbers,? Vogel said about his acquisition strategy. ?If it does over a hundred million (dollars in theaters), obviously that?s going to go in.

?But I also look for things that I know would be interesting to people in Hills?boro?such as Christian movies like ?God?s Not Dead? or ?Heaven is for Real.? That kind of stuff is good for families here and I think people are interested.?

Vogel said he is still learning what works best for the new business. For example, he plans to adjust the time DVDs are due for return. He started with a 9 a.m. deadline.

?Based on feedback from the past two months, I?m planning to launch a more convenient return strategy the first of the year,? he said.

Vogel said he?s had good luck so far in people returning the DVDs. The machine offers a grace period, but once past it, it will add an additional day?s charge to the user?s credit card.

?There is an option to buy (the DVD), but the price to buy is high to discourage that,? he added. ?Otherwise, people have been returning them.?

He said the machine has a slot in the front for easy return.

?Basically, hit the return button on the screen and just toss it in,? Vogel said. ?As long as the little white sticker on the disc is intact and the silver sticker on the case is intact, it will go in fine.?

Vogel said feedback has been largely positive. The response of one DVD enthusiast made him laugh: ?This is the best thing that?s happened in Hillsboro since the Arts and Crafts Fair.?