The Year: 1982.
The Producers: The Hugo Brothers
The Genre: Any genre you can think of.
The Motivation: To dominate the Home Entertainment market in Southern Africa
The Working Title: Video Spot
1982 was the year Ricardo Paletti sealed his fate in the Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix. It was the year the world started bopping their boodies to the sounds of Dr Hook’s “Baby makes her blue jeans talk” and, that same year, Spielberg’s E.T spectacular caused a box office explosion having won 4 Oscars and 27 nominations.
1982 was also the year that marked a video revolution in South Africa with the birth of a single video store that was set to wipe out the existing boundaries of South Africa’s home entertainment. Video Spot was the unassuming name given to the store that would, before long, build its reputation as the entertainment hub of the northern suburbs of Johannesburg.
It wasn’t long before the store needed enlarging, to accommodate the rapid growth of business. Twelve months later, larger premises were opened adjacent to the first store.
1982-1990 - AN ODE TO CUSTOMER SERVICE
From the early days, customer service was key to the success of the Hugo Brother’s business, even if it meant storing a chunk of fish.
The Brothers will never forget the day an unassuming customer casually walked into their Video Spot store and asked “Can I have some Trout please?” A more appropriate Monty Python moment had never before been realized. Mike answered, “Sir, this is a Video store. We don’t get much call for fish around here.”
The Customer grew confused and said Roger had told him that he would keep some trout in the back fridge for him. Despite the sheer absurdity of the request, Mike took a walk to the back fridge and sure as daylight, there it lay: a nicely chilled chunk of Trout. Nice one Roger. This may well have been the start of the company mission to go that extra mile on personal service.
After trying their hand at selling apples and oranges too, Mike suggested to Roger that they should stick to selling things that don’t grow – which was a fair enough point being a Video Store and all.
A store manager was eventually hired to run the shop while Mike and Roger took to the Swaziland Mountains for a break. It wasn’t more than twenty four hours later, the phone call came through from a rather panic-stricken manager to say he had misplaced the shop keys, he couldn’t find them anywhere and he was going to head home.
Home? Home was certainly not on the cards for a weekend of trade under Hugo regime.
“You’re not going home that’s for sure,” proclaimed Mr Hugo Senior, who was in earshot of the phonecall to Mike and Roger. “I’ll look after the shop while you find those keys.”
In true Hugo entrepreneurial style, Mr Hugo senior resorted to Plan B: a Table, a pen and a piece of paper. There, on the doorstep of the Video Spot store, he waited for customers to return their hired videos. Once the movies came in, Mr Hugo Senior took to re-hiring those same few videos to new customers that stopped by. Not one minute of trade was lost.
A master plan from the Big Boss. Thanks Pop!
1985 – BACK TO THE FUTURE wins an Oscar, with 22 nominations. Video spot had already bought this title.
Owing to the growth in hot property titles and the overall success of the Hugo Brother’s first store, a second Video Spot was unveiled in the heart of Morningside Johannesburg.
This year saw the launch of Video Spot’s first franchise expo, whereby eager businessmen were invited to open a Video Spot store of their own and learn the unique business acumen of the Video Spot trade.
As the nineties approached, technology burst onto the South African borders, as the world fast forwarded to the use of computers. This posed a challenge for the family business, as it meant a shift in business culture and traditional mindset. Roger’s words were: We don’t need a computer - though he still maintains that he never said that.
Needless to say, the computer guy (Tom Evans) installed the first computer with a pittance of 20 megabytes. Evans claimed at the time that they wouldn’t need any more than that. 20 megabytes was more than adequate, he said.
Six months later, the store urgently needed to install a hard drive twice the size.
Information systems were evidently installed in all Video Spots across the city, in order to keep ahead of modern society. This acquired knowledge of PC grew the business even further, making for fast, effective store management. Movie titles were systematically catalogued and movie contracts were being designed and sold in a more productive manner.
2000 – TRAFFIC wins 4 Oscars, with 57 nominations. Video Spot had already bought the title
The dawn of the Millennium broke on 01 January 2000. The team at Video Spot had big plans for the year ahead….
Maybe add in the challenges with the move from video to DVD etc
2007 - THE DEPARTED wins 4 Oscars with 47 nominations. Video spot had already bought the title.
25 years later, the Video Spot chain proudly stands as Gauteng’s leading home entertainment outlet, with the flagship store in Craighall and 14 others dotted around Gauteng.
Today there are 15 Video Spot franchises mushroomed around Johannesburg, with future plans for more.
As the decades rolled on by, Video Spot excelled in its objectives of hosting the largest video product line in Gauteng. Today, the chain has superseded its reputation as a bottomless cove of diversity, with a selection of over 13 000 titles currently shelved at Video Spot Craighall.
Variety, personality and customer satisfaction remains the ethos of the Video Spot brand, which has continued to attract and retain a loyal following, through the years.
Video Spot has come a long way since the doorstep approach of 1982. With a dedicated team of entertainment engineers, working towards one common goal, the company has managed successfully to extend its product offering to PS2, PS3 and XBOX gaming. Also included in the mix is the buying of the latest Blue Ray DVD stock.
2007 – VIDEO SPOT wins 25 years of loyal customer service.
From the simple days of Lethal Weapon and E.T to the high-end productions of the naughties, Video Spot has triumphed with the changing times and has furthermore adapted its thinking, business concepts and movie titles to suit our cosmopolitan South African market.
One thing that does come standard however, with any Video Spot store, no matter what the year, is the unmatched range of product titles that decorate the store. No matter what movie title you may be looking for, you’re guaranteed to find it at Video Spot.
And if Video Spot doesn’t have it…quite frankly, no other video store in South Africa will have it either.
“On behalf of all the entertainment engineers at Video Spot, we’d like to extend a special word of thanks to our clientele. Your unwavering support has assisted us in growing Video Spot to the video empire it is today, and for that we thank you.
We value your patronage and look forward to servicing your every video requirement as we head for another 25 years.
Oh yes, and we’d like to thank our Moms too.”