Glenview-based Family Video aims to transform how you get videos by introducing an Internet-based ordering system and by partnering with Toledo, Ohio-based Marco's Pizza so you can pair your movie with a meal.
Family Video will open more than 250 Marco's Pizza franchises, company executives said.
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Some Marco's will be within Family Video stores, while others will be in stand-alone buildings that are owned by Family Video.
Marco's Wheeling restaurant at 1990 S. Wolf Road is its 300th restaurant and the first for the area. The Wheeling location was a former Family Video store that was converted into the Italian pizza restaurant. The Family Video store that was in the location moved to a larger site in Wheeling.
A new combination store is expected to open in a few weeks in Kenosha, Wis., adding to the two already operating in Missouri and Oklahoma.
Family Video has 735 locations in 24 states, including those in Arlington Heights, Downers Grove and Mundelein. Marco's, which also sells salads, chicken and other items, has 300 stores in 24 states and the Bahamas. But which existing stores will be changed into combination stores, or where new separate ones will open, has yet to be announced, said Family Video CEO Keith Hoogland.
"We shook hands on the deal in January and didn't sign a contract until March," said Hoogland.
Family Video said it's growing in the wake of Blockbuster's bankruptcy and despite the overall perception that renting DVDs and games in a bricks-and-mortar store has become obsolete.
"Our business has been doing great," said Hoogland. "Everybody acts like the video business is ending, when it's not. We've been up at least 5 percent in gross revenue over last year. And we've been expanding."
Hoogland said Redbox and Netflix may have chipped away at the video rental industry, but Internet streaming sites are slow to take off.
Even Marco's CEO Jack Butorac had his doubts when he was first approached last year by Family Video. But he was convinced otherwise when he saw Hoogland's balance sheets and plans for expansion.
"At first, I was a little skeptical after Blockbuster had its issues," said Butorac. "We didn't want a Marco's by an empty location. But that was my first reaction."
Because Family Video buys and develops most of its buildings and land, the company can more easily convert existing retail space. Marco's Pizza was looking to expand and both had similar customer bases and company cultures, Hoogland said.
The two companies started negotiations and struck the deal earlier this year, they said.
"Video will be here for quite a while in the bricks-and-mortar stores," said Hoogland.
Sal LoCascio of Prospect Heights was among the first to visit Marco's and said he's eager to get a pizza and the option of renting a movie.
"Netflix doesn't have everything," said LoCascio.
•Daily Herald Staff Writer Brian Singer contributed to this report.