Blockbuster Video in Alaska to Close; 1 Store Left in US

Lewis Collier
July 13, 2018

A Facebook post near the end of June on the Blockbuster Alaska page read, "We see you out there taking selfies in front of our stores, show them to us!" This leaves just one lonely Blockbuster Video in OR, which might as well be turned into a museum at this point.

That leaves just one Blockbuster Video, in Bend, Oregon, as the last functioning store in the entire country. Their numbers eventually fell, from 13 in 2013 down to the current two, which are in Anchorage and Fairbanks. On the following Tuesday, they will actually open back up, but not as a rental shop. Stores will then reopen until August, but only for an inventory sale. They employed roughly 84,000 individuals worldwide. Blockbuster founder Wayne Huizenga died in March.

Comedian John Oliver actually tried to save the struggling Alaska Blockbusters this past April in a amusing campaign that included Russell Crowe's jock strap.

Oliver bought the merchandise-which also included a robe, boxer shorts, the hood from Robin Hood and a vest from Les Miserables-in Crowe's "divorce auction". She said she has been working at Blockbuster for 14 years and seen her share of heartache as stores closed. According to Deadline, at Blockbuster's peak it had "more than 9,000 stores, half outside the United States, and employed more than 84,000 people worldwide".

The owner of the Alaska stores had told Deadline that the stores remained profitable, but decided that renewing the lease on the stores didn't make financial sense.

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Blockbuster formally closed all company-owned stores by January 2014, leaving franchisees to fend for themselves. "But it's been going on for so long that the shock has worn off, frankly", said Payne, who is based in Austin.

Blockbuster managed to survive the onslaught of video streaming in Alaska because of poor internet service compared to the rest of the U.S. Harsh weather conditions would often cut the Internet connection. But the lease on both properties is up.

The last locations are still making a profit, he said Thursday, but that profit has been declining at a rapid pace.

As for the fate of that store, the future looks good.

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