Curiosity

Blockbuster Is Closing 2 Alaska Locations, Which Means Only 1 Store Remains

Only one Blockbuster is still open—and it's something of a tourist attraction.

There was a time, back in the 1990s, when it seemed like there was a Blockbuster on every corner. Now, there’s technically just one location of the once-ubiquitous video rental chain left in the entire country.

Two locations in Alaska  — one in Anchorage and one in Fairbanks  — have now closed. This week, both stores held liquidation sales on the last of their inventory. The movies range in price for $3 to $20, and the stores plan to be open daily from noon to 10 p.m. through August. The closings in Alaska leave one lone Blockbuster, in Bend, Oregon — now the last remaining location in all of the United States.

Now that it can be considered a relic of a bygone era, the once-ordinary store has become somewhat of a tourist attraction, with people stopping by to take their picture in front of the store, like this customer who took a selfie in front of the location and posted it to Facebook:

For now, business at the last Blockbuster is still thriving. Sandi Harding is the general manager at the Bend location and has worked there since 2004. “The social interaction you get — face-to-face talking to people, not having your nose in your phones — I think that’s what you find coming into a Blockbuster store,” Harding told NBC News of the store’s continued and unlikely success.

For the store’s loyal customers who have been coming there for years, the location’s status as the last of its kind is bittersweet.

“I’m sad, but I’m happy there’s a sole survivor,” longtime Bend customer Simon Birmingham told NBC News. “It has been an icon for my life.”

The first Blockbuster opened in Dallas in 1985. By 2004, the company had about 9,000 stores around the world. In 2010, the store filed for bankruptcy protection, and by 2013, the writing was on the wall that the business model no longer worked in the face of competition from streaming services like Netflix, and the company announced plans to close all of its remaining stores.

Do you miss Blockbuster, or are you happily streaming your movies now?