Family Video Discusses Fulton Plans

FULTON, NY – Family Video Store representatives discussed their business plans for the corners of West First and Broadway during a community meeting Wednesday evening.

Above all, Todd Bezenah, Family Video’s regional director for New York state, and Phil Walker, who manages real estate for the company, worked to explain that the community will be welcoming a good neighbor.


“We’re not trying to come in here and say we will do things and then not do them,” Bezenah said.

Bezenah encouraged those in attendance to voice their concerns, noting that the company can often mitigate problems through the planning stage. For one location, he said that he made 13 changes to the proposed site plan based on community input.

A rough diagram detailing the site plan showed the building situated off of the main intersection, facing Broadway. The parking area will be located closer to the corner. Asked why, Bezenah explained that the building itself will act as a buffer for noise, keeping it from the residential properties seated further down West First Street.

John Hansen pointed out that the city has three video stores now and asked why Family Video chose the Fulton location.

“We’ve seen a ton of industry come and go,” Bezenah said. “The video industry has stayed strong. We’re up 8 percent from last year.”

At its Auburn location, Bezenah said that the company logged 20,000 rentals in 30 days.

“Locations are prime,” he added. “We try to find the best location that is going to be a  successful location for us. When you drop $1 million on a corner, you want to get it right.”

Todd Bezenah
Todd Bezenah

Rick Grosvent, who lives near the proposed store, asked why Family Video didn’t select another property in the city that is vacant and would face less objection.

“We’ve done our homework in the city of Fulton and that’s where we want to be,” Bezenah said.

Bezenah pointed out that former members of Congregational Church report that one of the big reasons why their church failed was a lack of parking. He noted that the proposed parking area will benefit to traffic on the corner, making it easy for motorists to use the light at the intersection to get in and out of the store.

The parking area will have inlets on both Broadway and West First. One resident suggested that the store post a “no left turn” sign on the Broadway side.

Bezenah explained that store managers are responsible for monitoring properties for the company. They manage concerns for residents in the area and keep the properties clear. Bezenah noted that he stays hands-on with each location, even after it opens.

The company sponsors community events and teams. It offers special promotions for residents, such as vouchers for free movie and game rentals for every “A” that students receive on their report cards. At Thanksgiving and Christmas time, the company donates 25 turkeys and hams, respectively, as well as movies and canned goods to local families.

“We’re just different,” he noted. “I hope we get the chance to prove it.”

Because some residents have voiced concerns about the availability of adult movie rentals, Second Ward Alderman David Guyer asked what could be done to settle those concerns.

Bezenah noted that not every location has adult movies. Of 21 stores that have gone up in Central New York in the past three years, he said 10 do not have adult movie rentals. For those that do, he said the selection makes up only four percent of the store’s stock.

“We just look at the market,” he said. If an adult movie room is included in the plans for Fulton, Bezenah said that plans could be modified to enhance security so that the room is better monitored. He stressed, however, that the company has not experienced problems with its adult movie rooms to date.


Guyer asked if the company will consider using materials such as brick for its facade so that it will fit into the feel of the neighborhood.

“You’ve got to fit in the neighborhood,” he answered. “We coexist very well with our neighbors.”

Bezenah also explained that the company works to use local people for things like snow removal, landscaping and electrical.

The city approved a zone change request last week that was necessary as part of the company’s plan. At this time, engineers are working out the fine details of the company’s site plan, which will go next to the Fulton Planning Commission.

Guyer explained that the company will then be required to go before the Zoning Board of Appeals for necessary easements because of the company’s proximity to homes on West Second Street, which are residentially zoned. Finally, the Fulton Common Council will be asked to act on the company’s request for a special use permit.

Once all requirements are met and the company closes on the property, Bezenah said the “build out” time is 90 days.

Bezenah said he can’t promise that there will be no problems.

“There will be problems,” he said. “But I’ll do the best I can.”

Guyer said that the city will announce when the plan goes before the planning board, the ZBA and the council, which are all open meetings.


  1. Who cares if they sell porn, as it is a video store, other places in town do, so why can’t they? Quit trying to put more and more restrictions on them like having a brick exterior and then telling them what they can and can’t sell. Whats good for the goose is good for the gander. quit making it more difficult than it has to be. be thankful that they even want to be here after the debocle at the council meeting.

  2. Once again our city “fathers” have shown lack of integrity, vision, or true loyalty to the image of Fulton. How sad as we watch our once beautiful community continue to go down the tubes……shame, shame on each of you on the council including the mayor who have allowed this to happen. Another historic landmark gone…..

    Paul McKinney

  3. I went to that meeting to listen to what was going to happen to my neighborhood. I too am opposited to tearing down the church, which, yes is a landmark. But, there was NOBODY there to tell any of us what the church could be used for in it’s current state and / or condition. I heard that according to the “women of the church” it is hard to up keep the church. So, I think that maybe this is the best thing to do for the church. If the church was to remain vacant must longer it maybe come a home for vandals. Then what good would the building be to anybody. The idea of “green demolition” would help the church pay off some of debt that is accuring. . .electricity and heating just to keep it a useable building for now. I’m not to thrilled about the traffic flow in and out, but with all new change comes time to get use to it.
    Rick Grosvent

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