End of watch: Only one Blockbuster remains in the entire country

Ruben Ruiz
July 14, 2018

The company has faced fierce competition from online video streaming services such as Netflix and filed for bankruptcy protections in 2010. At one time in the recent past there were four independently owned and operated Blockbuster franchises. Three years after that, four of the 13 had closed. But to the best of her knowledge, after the Alaska stores close, her location will be the only one left in America.

The closures will leave the Blockbuster in Bend, Oregon, as the sole holdout.

The last two remaining Blockbuster stores in Alaska are slated to close next week, leaving just one location of the once-iconic video rental store left in the U.S. The video rental outposts are located in Anchorage and Fairbanks.

At the peak of Blockbuster's popularity there were more than 9,000 locations dotting the US. They employed roughly 84,000 individuals worldwide.

The company, which once boasted almost 10,000 locations in the USA, was founded by Waste Management founder and former Florida Marlins owner Wayne Huizenga, who passed away earlier this year. 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. On Tuesday, the DVDs and videos at the store will be up for grabs in a liquidation firesale. Most of the US stores closed shop soon after that. And since then, its store count has continued to slowly dwindle.

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In March, a store in North Pole, Alaska, closed down. "But it's been going on for so long that the shock has worn off, frankly", said Payne, who is based in Austin.

In 2013, there were thirteen Blockbuster stores in Alaska, which fell to nine by 2016. But the lease on both properties is up.

After that, things kept going downhill.

"It's always kind of a kick in the trousers every time we close a store", explained Payne.

As for the fate of that store, the future looks good. That store may stay open for at least another ten more years. No one really knows, as Bend, Oregon is a vortex.

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