Now there’s one last Blockbuster store left on the planet
There will soon be only one Blockbuster store left in existence after owners of a location in Australia announced they would close it later this month. That will leave the Blockbuster in Bend, Oregon, as the last one standing.
The second-to-last store is in a Perth suburb, and will close at the end of March, according to the Australian Associated Press. Owners told the news agency the writing had been on the wall for a long time amid the rise of streaming services such as Netflix.
“We put in a pretty good effort to be the last one in Australia, I suppose, but it was going to happen eventually and now is the time,” owner Lyn Borszeky told AAP.
But across the Pacific Ocean, the Blockbuster in Bend is experiencing a renaissance of sorts, even as the. have closed within the last year. The store’s general manager, Sandi Harding, told “ ” in July that customers treasure its customer service and familiarity.
“It’s all alphabetical, so it still comes all the way around in the alphabet to find them,” Harding said at the time. “Nothing really has changed. We still have the category signs. I think if a customer walked in here, they would still be like ‘oh, I can find that movie’ because it’s like the library. You go and you kinda know where things are.”
CBS News reached out to Harding, but did not receive a response.
In July, the store’s owners said the Blockbuster would remain open as long as they can pay their employees and turn a profit. If that doesn’t work, they joked they could turn the store into a museum.
Blockbuster was once the largest video rental chain in the U.S., with close to 9,000 stores worldwide. At one point, it’s estimated a new store opened every 17 hours. But with the arrival of Netflix, Blockbuster stores began disappearing. Following bankruptcy in 2010, Blockbuster closed nearly all of its stores.
Now, as the once popular company is down to its last franchise, the store is flourishing as a piece of Americana. Tourists from all over the world flock over to Bend to catch selfies and visit a capsule in time.
“Just being here is kind of cool because it’s the last one,” one customer said.