Suicide on the Los Angeles freeway

By Jennifer L. Smith Record-Courier staff writer Published:

Officials from Akwen, Ltd., a Wendy's franchise company, notified Hartley two months ago that they purchased the property he leased, and he said he knew it was just a matter of time.

"That's the price you pay anytime you're leasing," Hartley said. "My lease was until August, but they offered to buy me out between four and six weeks ago."

He said he accepted the offer because the summer months are the slowest for video rentals.

"I got in at the right time, and maybe I'm getting out at the right time, too," Hartley said. "The video business is not like it used to be. The cost of purchasing videos has really increased."

Hartley closed his doors to customers Thursday after selling half of his 5,500-video inventory at prices between $5 and $20.

He said he will sell the remaining videos in one lump, because he will not reopen another video rental store.

Today will be spent cleaning out the store in order to vacate the premises within the next few days, he said.

"I would like to thank all of my customers and let them know how much I appreciated their business," he said. "My wife (Michele) was also behind me 110 percent all of the time in whatever I wanted to do.

"It's hard for small businesses, and most people don't take care of the little guy," he said.

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