- Blockbuster has just one store that remains open in the United States, located in Bend, Oregon.
- The retailer announced in July that the final two Blockbuster locations in Alaska are shutting up shop, leaving the Bend location standing alone across the US.
- To hear the full story of the life and death of Blockbuster in Alaska, subscribe to Business Insider’s podcast, “Household Name.”
- Read on to see what it’s like to visit the last Blockbuster in America.
Blockbuster’s last stand in the United States is in Bend, Oregon.
In July, Blockbuster announced that the last two stores in Alaska would close up shop.
“Let’s be real, you have Netflix, you have Redbox,” Kevin Daymude, a Blockbuster manager in Alaska prior to the stores’ closure in the state, told reporter Emily Russell in an interview for Business Insider’s podcast,“Household Name.”
“The economy is tough right now,” Daymude said. “So, people are still renting – but they aren’t renting as much.”
The closure leaves just one Blockbuster location left in the entire US.
The holdout is in Bend, a city in central Oregon with an estimated population just shy of 100,000. As the last Blockbuster locations across the US have closed – with two other Blockbusters in Oregon closing in recent months – travellers have begun making their way to Bend in a nostalgic pilgrimage to the video-rental chain.
For Blockbuster lovers desperately missing the store, and for video-rental virgins raised on Netflix, here’s what it’s like to visit the final remaining Blockbuster in the US:
Blockbuster was able to keep stores open in Alaska longer than most of the US thanks in part to its long, cold winters and slow WiFi.
The Bend location, however, seems to have found success thanks to a mix of strong finances, loyal customers, and nostalgic tourists.
Bend’s Blockbuster sign is instantly recognisable and a guaranteed nostalgia trigger for any child of the ’90s.
Inside, the store remains the same, though videotapes have been swapped for DVDs.
You can still open a membership and rent movies for a $US30 monthly fee.
In 2013, as Blockbuster locations across the US were closing, the Bend store was forced to alert customers that this would be one of the few to survive the purge.
Some locals continue to depend on Blockbuster to rent movies, even in the age of Netflix.
“I think it’s really neat that we still have one,” Sharon Schoettler told The Bend Bulletin. “I love the selection. They have a little bit of everything.”
The store also sees plenty of out-of-towners who are amazed that a Blockbuster remains open.
The store also has a hidden key that is helping keep the lights on.
According to The Bend Bulletin, the location’s owner owns the portion of the building, meaning the store doesn’t have to worry about paying rent.
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