What is red, rectangular, and offers movie rentals?
Look! Up at Ampride! It’s a box, it’s a kiosk, it’s Instaboro!
Advertised as “Faster than Redbox” and “Cheaper than iTunes,” Instaboro also touts “Less commitment than Netflix.” The business might not have the same Superman-esque qualities of larger competitors, but it does offer viewers a new outlet to rent movies like “Man of Steel” and other current films and new releases.
David Vogel, 24-year-old Hillsboro entrepreneur and Tabor College graduate, is the sole operator of the kiosk that recently appeared in the southeast corner of Hillsboro Ampride.
“I’ve had the rental idea for a couple of years, but I didn’t want to compete with Cora [Friesen],” Vogel said, referencing the former manager of Quick Flick/Radio Shack, a business which used to offer movie rentals as one of its services. “When they closed I looked into it further.”
The business name came from a play on Hillsboro’s name. Where “Insta” refers to the instant nature of the service, “boro” is a nickname he said people in some circles call Hillsboro.
Instaboro is a homegrown alternative to other local rental services that rely on clerks for movie checkout. It capitalizes on what Vogel thinks of as a national trend in movie rental that caters to customer convenience through self-service.
Casey’s General Store assistant manager Grace Ashley said she wouldn’t be surprised if Vogel’s venture posed some competition to Casey’s movie rentals.
However, Cathy Fish, Hillsboro Public Library director, said she is willing to work with Vogel not to overlap available titles.
Fish said she had a similar verbal agreement with Friesen when Quick Flick/Radio Shack was open and she plans to extend Vogel the same informal courtesy.
The Instaboro machine’s location is part of a symbiotic relationship with Ampride that is intended to help generate more foot traffic for each business.
“People like to have pop and snacks when they watch movies,” Vogel said. “It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement.”
Like national video kiosk retailer Redbox, his Instaboro kiosk is red. Vogel said the color was the machine manufacturer’s standard color.
Users can expect a touch-screen experience with movie descriptions and credit/debit card payment options.
However, Vogel said he could stock his machine with new releases “28 days sooner” than Redbox because of grace period agreements he’s heard Redbox has with Warner Brothers and Disney.
His machine holds up to 250 discs. He plans to purchase discs every Tuesday and rotate stock to keep selections fresh.
Rental prices depend on format. Discs also can be purchased on site. Vogel also designed Android and iPhone apps and a website on which he offers movie information and promotions.
Although online streaming services like Netflix and illegal movie downloading are two very real competitors, the first week of sales went better than Vogel expected.
“There were movies going out every day,” he said. “A woman from Hesston saw it online and actually called and asked if I planned to install one up her way, which surprised me.”
Though Vogel hasn’t ruled out the possibility of expanding to other locations, he is currently waiting to see how it goes before he makes a decision.
Last modified Nov. 12, 2014