The Peters Video stores in St. Helena and Calistoga will close their doors Oct. 31 when Mike and Anita Peters retire after 36 years of doing business in the Upvalley.
Peters acknowledged that business has fallen off in the last two or three years as the Internet and competitors like Netflix have dramatically altered the entertainment industry.
“We’re not making the money we made, and I don’t see it getting any better,” said Mike Peters. “It’s still viable, but it’s just time to retire and slow down while I still have my health.”
The couple, who graduated from St. Helena High School in 1960, first started Peters Electronics, a television sales and service store, in Calistoga in 1973.
“At the time I was working at Mare Island and we wanted to go into business,” Peters said. “We liked electronics and we thought this would be a perfect fit.”
Two years later they opened a St. Helena location in a space previously occupied by Fashionland, a clothing store. In addition to electronics, Peters briefly sold guitars and accessories, records and tapes.
In 1986 they got into the relatively new video rental business and changed their name to Peters Video. “We took off right away,” Peters said.
In the next few years they opened a branch in Calistoga that’s still in operation, and another in Yountville, which later moved to Napa before closing in 2001.
The business is one of the oldest on Main Street that’s still under its original ownership. Peters reflected on how times have changed since the store opened in 1975.
“The reason we have lights under our awning is that we were the last store down here when we started,” he said. “There was a fix-it shop where the bike shop is. After that was a dirt field for parking, then a gas station, then another dirt field, then another gas station.
“I’ve rented movies to the grandchildren of folks who I fixed TVs for,” said Peters. “I’ll miss all the good friends — 99 percent of the people who come in here I consider friends more than customers.”
Peters said he’s not sure what will happen to his St. Helena space, which is one of the most visible in town. “But it won’t be empty long,” he said.