Wednesday, 15 August, 2018

There’s one Blockbuster left . . . and it’s the saddest place in America

Andrew H. Walker  Getty Images Andrew H. Walker Getty Images
Diane Mills | 14 July, 2018, 08:40

By the end of 2018, there will be only one remaining Blockbuster Video location in the United States - in Bend, Oregon.

According to a report by the Anchorage Daily News, the last two Blockbuster stores in Alaska are closing their doors for good.

Engadget described the closure of two out of the three surviving stores as a "deathblow", and reported that "rental operations in Fairbanks and DeBarr Road will cease next week, before the stores reopen to sell off inventory until August's end". And while a handful of Blockbuster franchises remained open in recent years, there's now only one left. "If you'd asked me 14 years ago, there's no way I'd thought we'd be the last one".

"I tell you, we're going to get a lot of traffic, is what I'm expecting", Daymude told the Associated Press.

Bend's Blockbuster looks just like stores from years ago - yellow on the inside and employees sporting blue shirts. The Wasilla, North Pole and Soldotna locations closed earlier this year, along with a second Anchorage store.

It's been suggested that Blockbuster stores have been preserved for longer in Alaska due to the state's costly internet - which drove many residents to continue renting videos instead of viewing content online.

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HBO "Last Week Tonight" host John Oliver made an effort to help drum up business at the Anchorage location in April by sending the store movie memorabilia to display, including a jockstrap worn by actor Russell Crowe in the 2005 movie "Cinderella Man". He also sent John Oliver movies featuring the memorabilia as a thank you.

From 9,000 stores to just one.

The company has faced fierce competition from online video streaming services such as Netflix and filed for bankruptcy protections in 2010. THR spoke to manager Sandi Harding about the honor of being the lone store left in the entire country. While some doubt that location will close anytime soon given that it seems to still attract a crowd, it's worth noting that the owners of the Alaska locations have stated that the stores were still considered to be profitable.

Alaska, long the last frontier of Blockbuster, is about to lose the last holdouts of the video-rental chain.

Daymude said the items will be returned to the owner of the stores.

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