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New video store will serve campus community

Kim and Mike Kovarovics may not believe in deja vu, but they do believe they are in the right place at the right time once again. It was in 1983 when they decided to open Video Visions in the Holiday Mall, because the two had to travel from Ashford to Willimantic to rent movies.

"Every time we returned the movies we used to say, 'Wouldn't it be nice to have a video store in Storrs?'" Mike says.

Their wish became a reality when the two opened their own 500-square foot store that carried 200 movies.

"Our timing was impeccable," Mike says. "We opened right at the time when home video was really getting started."

Now the two believe they are in a similar situation, as they put the finishing touches on their second location on the ground floor of the Student Union across from Union Cafe.

What UConn hopes to do is to capitalize on the growing trend of having commercial companies set up shop in student unions, in order to draw faculty, staff and students to the Student Union.

"We're hoping the store will send a message to the community that we are interested in drawing student and faculty for not just a variety of different activities but services as well,"

says Joe Briody, business manager for the

Student Union.

Getting into retail is something "We are a little behind on," Briody adds, "but we are beginning to look outside the University to provide services to our community. We don't possess the know-how to run every single service, and in this particular instance a video store, so we decided it would be more effective and efficient if we were to lease the space and have someone else provide the service."

"There is a great market here on campus of 15,000 students and about 4,000 faculty and staff members," he says. "By being centrally located we are able to host many activities that are offered at the University."

Despite being in the business for 14 years, the husband-and-wife team faces new challenges.

"We will serve more students than we do at the main store," Kim Kovarovics says, "so we'll do a lot of talking to find out what they are looking for."

So you may find more PlayStation and Nintendo 64 video games at the new location, but the Kovarovics haven't forgotten the movies.

"We will start off with 2,100 movies," Mike says "but eventually we hope to carry more than 4,000."

The new store, which opened yesterday, also is linked with the Holiday Mall store, offering faculty who use videos in class convenient access to a further 11,000 titles.

Several different business opportunities vied for the space but Briody and the Student Union staff felt the video store would "give the operation the best chance for success."

The Kovarovics say they plan to make the store more than just a space with videos on the shelf.

Don't be surprised if you find sections that contain the favorite movies of some of UConn's leaders to go along with employee recommendations and a monthly newsletter.

"People look forward to these kinds of things," Kim says. "It keeps them interested knowing that they have a place that doesn't just stack movies on the shelves."

Luis Mocete