YES, YOU CAN STILL RENT MOVIES — Elisa and Steve Alloway have owned the 25-year-old Act 1 Video for the past seven years. Democrat photo by Shelly Thorene

YES, YOU CAN STILL RENT MOVIES — Elisa and Steve Alloway have owned the 25-year-old Act 1 Video for the past seven years. Democrat photo by Shelly Thorene

Secrets of Success 2010

The personalized options business: Act 1 Video & Music

By From page C2 | December 15, 2010

In Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” he wrote that one of the first secrets of success is to smile at another person.

Everyone who walks through the door at Act 1 Video & Music in Placerville is greeted with a smile. It is just the beginning of the great customer service that owners Steve and Elisa Alloway provide to customers who are looking for newly released movies and music.

The store opened more than 25 years ago and specializes in DVDs, VHS movies, CDs, video games, posters, unique jewelry and clothing items, snacks, sodas and more.

The Alloways purchased the business in 2003, and have been in love with Act 1 Video — and the local community — ever since.

“It really was a sweet spot for us,” Steve said. “We both love movies and we love music. And so when this business became available, it was a great way to combine both of our loves and it was also a great way to connect with the community. It has really exceeded our expectations.”

Customers are treated like family. They quickly learn that the Alloways and their staff want to get to know them — and their tastes in movies and music.

“What is customer service?” said Elisa. “It is knowing your customer and visiting with them. We know a lot of our customers. When we know their tastes, we can then make recommendations of movies or music that we know they will like.”

“We have customers who like to come in and touch base with us,” Steve said. “We offer tailored recommendations.”

In addition to offering one-on-one entertainment advice, Act 1 Video & Music offers special ordering of music and movies.

“It is one area that distinguishes us,” said Elisa. “Other stores don’t offer that service, and we can keep pace in that arena.”

The store carries the Billboard Top 20 songs and a sampling of all the major releases in music and video every week — something that was once a regular staple in record stores, but is now difficult to find.

“There’s something new in here every week,” Steve said.

“And if you don’t see what you want in here in movies and music, we can get it for you,” Elisa said.

The store carries many items in addition to music and video — although it is worth mentioning that Act 1 Video & Music also carries new and used vinyl (LPs or “albums” to readers of a certain age). The store carries a variety of sweatshirts, scarves, insect jewelry (beautiful items in Lucite), stickers, decals, Djembe drums and more.

“As times change, we look for niches and fill them,” Elisa said.

Another key to success, according to the Alloways, is to be involved in the community.

“Elisa is very involved,” Steve said. “Especially with the Broadway Village Association and the Highway 50 Association Wagon Train. It’s important to give back.”

Another way of supporting the local arts community is by giving local artists a venue. Act 1 Video & Music sells cards created by local artists.

The greatest secret of Act 1 Video & Music’s success may be simply this: the Alloways and their staff are in the business of giving their customers options – all with a caring personal touch.

That is a valuable commodity in any economy.

Act 1 Video & Music is located at 1345 Broadway in Placerville. Hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

Susan Laird

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