Soon, there will only be one lonely Blockbuster Video left in America. The video rental chain once flourished throughout the country, but eventually filed for bankruptcy after streaming took hold of the American consumer. At one time in the recent past there were four independently owned and operated Blockbuster franchises. The one in Texas closed shop last year. Now, the last two Blockbusters in Alaska are going away. This leaves just one lonely Blockbuster Video in Oregon, which might as well be turned into a museum at this point.
It was announced just today that the final two Blockbuster stores in Alaska were closing. The video rental outposts are located in Anchorage and Fairbanks. They will officially be closing their doors this Monday, July 16. On the following Tuesday, they will actually open back up, but not as a rental shop. They will be selling off their inventory and anything in the store that isn't nailed down.
After next week, Bend, Oregon will be the proud owner of the only functioning Blockbuster Video in the country. At its peak, the video rental chain had more than 9,000 stores in operation at one time. They employed roughly 84,000 individuals worldwide. Sadly, Blockbuster founder Wayne Huizenga died this past March.
Comedian John Oliver actually tried to save the struggling Alaska Blockbusters this past April in a funny campaign that included Russell Crowe's jock strap. The talk show host bid on a number of items at the Russell Crowe divorce auction and sent them to one of the stores in Anchorage. There, they built a shrine to the actor with such props as a hood from Robin Hood and a Vest from Les Miserables. The stunt brought plenty of attention to the location, but the video store just didn't get the influx of business it was expecting.
Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy way back in 2010. Most of the U.S. stores closed shop soon after that. But the stores in Alaska continued to flourish for the past eight years. Stores in Wasilla, North Pole and Soldotna only closed earlier this year. But the guy who owns the Alaskan stores determined 9 months ago that keeping the operation afloat at any level just no longer made any sense, not even for nostalgic reasons.
The final two Blockbusters in Alaska are said to still be very profitable. But the lease on both properties is up. And there's just not enough incentive to keep it going. Sales and rentals have rapidly been declining. And the future looked bleak from a financial standpoint. As for Bend, Oregon? That store may stay open for at least another ten more years. Or it could be gone as early as tomorrow. No one really knows, as Bend, Oregon is a vortex.