And Then There Was One: There’s Now Only One Blockbuster Store Left in the World
It’s nearly the end of an era. A Blockbuster store in Bend, Oregon—the last U.S.-based survivor of the video rental chain—is about to become the last Blockbuster store in the entire world, CNN reports.
The news comes as the Blockbuster Morley store, located in Western Australia, announced it would be closing at the end of this month. Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy in 2010 but continued to license its logo to individual franchises across America. However, due to the lure of affordable streaming platforms like Netflix and Hulu, the stores began to shut down one by one.
The Bend store became the last remaining Blockbuster in the United States in summer 2018, when two Blockbuster stores in Alaska finally shut their doors for good. "If you'd asked me 14 years ago, there's no way I'd thought we'd be the last one," Sandi Harding, the general manager of the Oregon store, told Engadget at the time. "It just seems a little crazy.”
While lamenting the demise of other Blockbuster stores last year, staff at Bend's Blockbuster also celebrated their survival by selling T-shirts and hats. They even collaborated with a local brewery to create a limited-release beer called The Last Blockbuster, which was launched during a party at the video store. If they were going to go out, they were going to go out in style.
And yet the store, which has been open for more than 20 years, still manages to attract business—and not just from visitors from who want to relive a nostalgic experience. Although it offers newer movies, Harding says their older, classic titles are the real selling point. “You can go to Redbox and you can get the new titles, but they don't have the older ones," she told CNN. "Netflix and Amazon don't have everything, either."