Nothing reminds us of our childhoods like Blockbuster. Wandering through the aisles, looking for a DVD or VHS cover that catches our eye, reading the movie descriptions, and sneaking into the adult section is all but history for most of us. But in Bend, Oregon, a whole new generation of movie-lovers is growing up for whom Blockbuster isn’t just a relic of the past. With the closure of franchise locations in Anchorage and Fairbanks, the Bend Blockbuster is the last remaining Blockbuster in the country.
On Sunday night, the two Alaskan Blockbusters will officially close for rentals before reopening for video liquidation sales throughout the end of August. Kevin Daymude, the general manager of Blockbuster Alaska, said that residents were sad when they heard the news and that many have been reminiscing about their Blockbuster memories. Although John Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight” feature on the Anchorage Blockbuster (which included donating Russell Crowe’s jockstrap from Gladiator, which John Oliver won in Crowe’s bizarre divorce auction) gave the store much-needed exposure, it wasn’t enough to dispel the effects of lease increases.
Blockbuster stores have lasted longer in Alaska than in the rest of the US, which many attribute to Alaska’s more expensive, less accessible internet.
On being the only remaining location, Bend Blockbuster owner Sandi Harding said, “How exciting. It might end up being a little chaotic for a couple of weeks.” And most importantly, she added, “We have no plans on closing anytime soon.”