And then, there was one.
As recently as last year, the legacy of Blockbuster Video was still hanging on by a thread in a handful of disparate locations. For years, franchisees maintained a foothold of Blockbuster locations in Alaska, where slow connection speeds and spotty internet access made streaming more difficult. But alas, even the Alaskan locations fell to the tide of entropy, closing in 2018 and leaving the Blockbuster of Bend, OR as the last location in the U.S.
And now, you can make that the last Blockbuster on Earth, a title with all the tragic gravitas of the last of a species, living alone in captivity, knowing it will never reproduce.
The Bend store inherits the mantle following the just-announced closure of the second-to-last Blockbuster, which was located in Morley, Australia, a suburb of Perth.
“We knew change was coming but were a bit surprised how quickly it affected our customer base once Netflix hit the Australian market,” said owner Lyn Borszeky. “We put in a pretty good effort to be the last one in Australia, I suppose, but it was going to happen eventually and now is the time.”
The Bend location, meanwhile, has seemingly benefited from the notoriety of being the very last of its kind. It’s become a tourist destination, both for 1990s kids and parents wanting to show their own children how video rental worked at the height of the rental chain’s popularity. At its peak, Blockbuster operated more than 9,000 locations. Now, it’s just Bend—a location that commemorated its endangered status with a collaboration beer last year.
Can the Bend store do the impossible, and continue to succeed where 9,000 other Blockbusters failed? Let’s hope they can keep the dream alive.