Movie World “A World of Entertainment”
The year was 1985. In a dusty old auto repair shop on the outskirts of Ellicottville, NY, the doors of Movie World first creaked open on January 19th. What began as a humble video rental store with just 73 video tapes would soon blossom into an empire.
After several iterations, Movie World stores developed a prototype that stepping through those doors was like entering a wonderland for movie lovers. The smell of fresh popcorn wafted through the air, beckoning visitors further inside. To the back and in the middle of the store stood the iconic “Castle of Horror,” daring thrill-seekers to browse spine-tingling titles. To the front right was the children’s playground, where young movie buffs scrambled as parents browsed family films. The right hand of the stores boasted new releases, cult favorites, and more – a cinephile’s paradise.
Movie World would become the 25th largest video chain in the county and boast the world’s largest video superstore at 16,000 square feet. Young movie buffs flocked there to peruse the endless aisles of VHS tapes and DVDs. The store became their home away from home, a place where pop culture junkies could indulge their passions. Employees got to know customers by name, offering personalized recommendations.
It all started in 1984 when Bill Roosa 1933-2010, couldn’t get the movie The Hobbit. This led Joe, Bill & Norma Roosa to open that first store, where among the store’s first acquisitions was a copy of Dumbo, the 1941 Disney classic. This treasured cartoon was merely tape #7 in Movie World’s collection, but it marked the beginning of something big.
Over a decade later, when Viacom came knocking, Movie World had grown into a video juggernaut. The company was acquired in 1996 for an impressive sum, sparking a sea change for founder Roosa Corporation. Smelling shifting winds in the home entertainment industry, Roosa pivoted from retail into real estate development.
Today (2023), 38 years after those first reels spun in VCRs, Roosa Corporation is an established property development firm with properties that span 7 different states. But they have never forgotten their roots in the corner mom-and-pop video store. As Roosa breaks ground on new projects, they fondly reflect on the journey from Dumbo to here – a wild ride enabled by loyal customers, dedicated staff, and blessings from God. Movie World ignited a spark that still burns bright in the company’s DNA today.