Norris movie rental store debuts with 400 choices

Sheila Burt

Three Northwestern alumni saw an idea conceived during their undergraduate years finally come to life Monday when Cat’s Corner Video opened on the ground floor of Norris University Center.

The DVD rental store opened Monday after two months of construction, but owners said small details still are being ironed out. The store will have its grand opening April 14.

“For the next two weeks, we’re going to walk before we run,” said co-owner Jake Brick, McCormick ’01.

About eight students had rented videos as of Monday evening.

Brick said after four years of planning, he felt both eager and nervous about the store’s first day of operation.

“It’s pretty exciting,” he said. “I really wanted it to happen.”

The store’s current stock includes 400 DVDs, the owners said. Most of the selection consists of new releases, which cost $3 for one night; all older DVDs will cost $2.50 for two nights.

Co-owners Ashees Jain, Weinberg ’99, and Brick said the store’s stock will increase to about 450 movies as more new releases become available.

If they receive several requests for a movie, the owners said they will try to get it in stock.

For the first few weeks, the store will be open daily from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Later, the store will expand its hours to 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Jain and Brick said.

Norris is in the process of hiring five to six work-study students to staff the store. The owners and their family members are operating the store until students are hired for the positions.

Payment for DVDs is limited to cash transactions, but the owners said they are planning to accept credit cards by mid-week.

But DVDs are not all the store’s owners say it will offer. Cat’s Corner eventually might expand to include video games and a video delivery service, where DVDs could be delivered to students’ dorms.

Some students gathered around the store’s rack of DVDs currently showcased outside the store.

McCormick sophomore Angela Jaimes rented the thriller “Murder by Numbers.”

“(The store) is a really good idea because I never get to Blockbuster,” she said. “It’s convenient and reasonably priced. I’ll be using it a lot.”

Valli Muthappan looked at the comedy, “Stealing Harvard,” as she passed by the store. Muthappan, a Weinberg junior, said she has considered renting videos from the public library in the past and now may take the shorter walk to Norris.

Other alternatives students have used include downloading movies from Internet sharing programs.

But customers do not even have to leave their dorm room to browse movie options at Cat’s Corner. The store’s Web site lets customers view options online and eventually will allow them to reserve movies and create an account, the owners said. Students can access the store’s site at

Norris Assistant Director Steve Guinta said he and other Norris officials are excited for the store’s opening.

“You can eat lunch, get your books, get a video,” Guinta said. “You can’t beat it.”