The history of Highland Ventures dates back to 1946, when Clarence Hoogland followed his instincts as an entrepreneur and established Midstates Appliance & Supply Company in Springfield, Illinois. Midstates distributed small appliances of all kinds to a network of mostly mom-and-pop retailers. Since those early days of appliance distribution, our business interests have expanded dramatically, always inspired by the same entrepreneurial spirit and determination of Clarence, a self-made man if ever there were one. Clarence grew up on a farm outside of Princeton, Illinois, where his father worked as a tenant farmer. In later life, Clarence would become the owner of the farming property where he was raised.
In 1954, Clarence’s 24-year-old son Charlie Hoogland took over the family business. A graduate of Yale University who served two years as a lieutenant in the United States Navy, Charlie embodied the key attributes that still empower Highland Ventures today: a tremendous work ethic, an eagerness to learn, and perhaps most important, an open mind to new business ideas. Under his leadership, Midstates became one of the most successful Midwest distribution companies of its time.
By the late 1970s, new “big box” retailers began to proliferate, which directly impacted the retail customer base supplied by Midstates. Times were changing. In a move that eventually would prove to be a major turning point, Midstates became a distributor for Magnetic Video, the first supplier of videocassettes for Hollywood studios. At the time, however, few people were willing to pay the asking price for home video versions of popular movies. Based on a rather unwelcome inventory surplus, Charlie saw an opportunity to rent his accumulation of unsold videotapes.
Midstates became one of the earliest companies to enter the video rental trade in the US when the Video Movie Club of Springfield was opened in 1978. That location—a converted section of the Midstates warehouse showroom—served as a model for subsequent movie rental spots opened in other cities. Later these video rental outlets were rebranded Family Video, and the stage was set for aggressive expansion, particularly in the Midwest. That growth was not limited to retailing, either; Charlie realized the most appropriate use of the video rental revenue stream was to invest in commercial real estate upon which future Family Video stores would be constructed.
Charlie’s son Keith Hoogland, a Vanderbilt University graduate, assumed the presidency of Family Video in 1995 and guided the company’s development into one of the largest video retailers in the US, and ultimately the largest privately-owned video chain in the world. Despite tough competition from publicly-traded video store chains, Family Video outlasted them all, and continues to rent movies and video games in 21 states at over 575 locations. Though video tapes were replaced by DVD and Blu-ray discs and various video game formats have come and gone, our video rental business operates much the way it always has: exceptional customer service, a compelling title selection, competitive pricing and free movies for kids.
The Family Video corporate headquarters was relocated to Glenview, IL in 2003. Along with his brother Charles Eric Hoogland, Keith diversified the property division founded by Charlie. Today Legacy Commercial is a leader in commercial real estate with over $630 million in holdings. Our commercial real estate properties are the cornerstone of our retail and restaurant operations, as well as outlets for prominent national third-party tenants that include Subway, Walgreens and Starbucks.
Consistent business fundamentals and philosophies continue to enable further expansion and new business opportunities at Highland Ventures. Our Hoogland Foods subsidiary is the largest franchisee of Marco’s Pizza, the fastest-growing pizza chain in the world. Always on the lookout for new ways to provide convenience and value to customers, our Marco’s Pizza and Family Video locations have teamed up to offer “Pizza and a Movie,” an ordering option that delivers popular movies and authentic Italian food favorites to customer homes.
Some of our other key businesses include FamilyVideo.com, our ecommerce division that sells both new and previously-viewed movies and games, and Stay Fit 24, a chain of state-of-the-art fitness centers, complete with the latest in strength and cardio training equipment. Highland Pure Water & Ice is one of the latest brands to join the Highland Ventures, Ltd. family. The 24-hour kiosk dispenses ice and water every day, at a lower cost than most convenience and grocery stores. With over 68 locations currently in operation, Highland Pure Water & Ice plans to continue expanding.
Never content to rest on past accomplishments, over 9,000 employees contribute to the present and future of Highland Ventures. Our commitment to both existing and emerging businesses is equaled by our commitment to the people who account for our diverse corporate structure and consistent core values. Our primary business always revolves around the creation of new opportunities for the right individuals. Though the dynamic of change is a constant, our people-first approach never changes.
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