Two of the last three remaining Blockbusters announced they will be closing their doors. Blockbusters in Fairbanks and Anchorage are closing on Sunday, leaving only one Blockbuster left in Bend Oregon. Steaming services slowly killed off the movie rental franchise that used to have 9,000 locations all across the United States.
Alaska was Blockbuster’s last chance
In 2017 Alaska was the state with the largest cluster of Blockbusters. Some think it was because of the state’s long winters or the expensive internet prices. Many Alaskans found it easier and cheaper to rent a movie instead of relying on streaming. While others felt like nostalgia was the reason the stores were able to hold on.
“It is sad to say goodbye to our dedicated customers. We have thought of you as family for the past 28 years,” Blockbuster Alaska posted on Facebook.
Over the last five years, the number of stores in the state slowly declined from 13 all the way to 0.
Where did the decline begin?
In the 1990s and early 2000s, Blockbuster was king of movie and video game rentals. A Blockbuster could be found in nearly every strip mall and shopping center in America with each store having at least 7,000 movies.
In 2004, the store was at its peak with over 9,000, but as streaming services and other rental options popping up the business started to struggle. Instead of needing to drive to a store consumers began to favor renting the newest release from their couch.
In 2010, Blockbuster had shrunk down and was forced to declare bankruptcy. A year later Dish Network bought the 1,700 remaining stores. Even under new ownership, the store wasn’t able to recover. In 2013, 300 stores were shut down, and 3,000 jobs were cut.
Doors in Alaska stores will close on Sunday, but through July and August will be open to sell off remaining inventory. The last store in Bend, Oregon doesn’t plan on going anywhere.
“We all have licensing agreements and leases, but as of now we have no plans on closing,” said Sandi Harding, Bend’s general manager.
A store that used to have customers flooding in every night, now has to rely on tourist and loyal customers to stay alive.