Brandon McBride has been running Challis Computer and Video in a small office building on Pleasant Avenue next to Custer Soil and Water Conservation Service since July. He rents out newly released, older and classic movies, repairs computers and sells power cords and other electronics.
McBride purchased much of his DVD inventory from Custer Video, which closed its doors earlier this year.
McBride says the bread and butter of his new business is computer repairs, but the video store keeps people coming through the door and pays the bills.
He offers services such as transferring videos from VHS to DVD and audio from cassettes to CDs, digital photo printing, cleaning viruses and clutter off computers to speed them up, laptop screen repair and installation of new hard drives.
McBride pays movie studies 40 percent of his income from new DVD rentals so he can get the newest movies for his customers a month before their release through online streaming services like Netflix and DVD kiosks like Red Box. He sells flash drives for less than vendors on Amazon.com and sometimes has deals on new and used computers and TVs. McBride has sold and installed security cameras for several local businesses.
Older folks who don’t like computers as much as the younger generation are more likely to rent DVDs from McBride. They like paying with cash rather than using a credit card online or at a kiosk. Some rent new releases while others watch old westerns and classic films. McBride has a big collection of westerns with John Wayne, Sam Elliot and Clint Eastwood plus the complete set of the Fast and Furious movies. He rents out whole seasons of TV shows, everything from British sitcoms shown on PBS to popular American shows like King of the Hill, The Simpsons and, yes, even Beavis and Butthead.
“Believe it or not, Beavis and Butthead still rents,” he said, but not so much to the older generation. Among movies, Harry Potter still seem to be popular with almost everyone.
Free theater popcorn comes with every DVD rental. McBride also sells gumballs, peanuts and M&Ms from old fashioned coin-operated dispensers and cold water, ice cream and other frozen treats during the warmer months.
McBride learned computer repair by practice. He has taken online classes through the University of Phoenix. Former Challis resident Michael Challis showed McBride the ropes when he was a teenager and he’s been working in the computer field ever since. A two-year stint as information technology administrator for Spirit Capital Group in Dallas gave him good experience setting up servers and installing computer networks. But the small-town Idaho native didn’t like the heat and humidity of Texas or the high cost of living, the press of people and the stress of big-city traffic. As soon as he drove over Willow Creek Summit coming back to Challis he said he breathed a sigh of relief.