Two Blockbuster video stores are closing in Alaska, leaving just one left in the United States.
A couple franchise outlets in Alaska famously continued to survive long after the parent company of the formerly ubiquitous national chain folded. They were long bolstered by nostalgia as well as remote communities with a lack of high-speed Internet access for streaming video. But now they’re both shutting their doors for the last time Sunday night, the AP reported.
“These are the last two Blockbuster stores in Alaska that survived and it is sad to say goodbye to our dedicated customers,” the managers posted on Facebook. “We have thought of you as family for the past 28 years … Thank you for sticking by us throughout all these years. I can’t tell you how much it means to us. We hope to see you at our stores during the closing, even if it’s just to say ‘Hello.’ What a great time to build your media library and share some Blockbuster memories with us.
We will miss all of you!”
The stores were given some media attention a couple months ago by HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver which sent a jockstrap worn by Russell Crowe in the 2005 movie Cinderella Man to one of the stores. The item was reportedly displayed in an effort to boost business.
The video rental chain in 2000 notoriously made one of the worst business decisions of all time when it rejected a young company called Netflix whose CEO Reed Hastings offered to partner with the chain and run its online operations — Hastings was “laughed out of the room” as one report put it. Blockbuster then peaked in 2004 with an incredible 9,094 stores worldwide … and then quickly plummeted to declare bankruptcy in 2010.
It’s not clear how many (if any) Blockbuster stores have survived outside the U.S.
But now there’s only one Blockbuster store left in America: An outlet in Bend, Oregon.