Alaska’s Last Two Blockbuster Stores Closing, Leaving Just One in the US

Megalith

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The Blockbuster store in Bend, Oregon, is going to be the last remnant of the once-popular video rental chain, as both locations in Alaska have announced they are closing this week. A companion article describes how Blockbuster has become a tourist destination of sorts, where people line up to take videos and selfies.

Harding has been with the company for 14 years and joined the Bend location on Revere in May 2005. She insisted that nothing big changed. Customer service keeps people coming back, and new titles, such as NBC's current show "The Good Place," are available for rent. Even the IBM computers are running the same floppy disks from the 1990s, she said, shocking the younger employees.
 

lostin3d

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Worked for them in the 80's for awhile. Wow! What a difference. . . .used to have a another name for them after the fiasco's involving them asking ssn's from members, cutting benefits to employees, and charging 2x to 3x for new releases vs. what someone could get across the street in a grocery store, it rhymed with something sucker. Probably someone with good memories of them, but to me it's good riddance. I also remember how they tried, and failed, to strong arm congress with monopolistic rights to MLB games.
 

jevans64

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I assume these last stores are independently owned since the company itself filed for bankruptcy 8 years ago. They really shouldn't be called Blockbuster since they probably no longer have to pay franchise fees and no longer have contact with a corporate entity.
 

Balkroth

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Article Says Dish bought all the blockbuster stuff and they still pay a licensing fee.
 
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Zarathustra[H]

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Only reason these three remaining stores survived for so long in Alaska, is that large portions of the areas they serve/served didn't have reliable broadband.

I wonder what finally did them in? Did these areas finally get passable internet service?
 

KarsusTG

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Only reason these three remaining stores survived for so long in Alaska, is that large portions of the areas they serve/served didn't have reliable broadband.

I wonder what finally did them in? Did these areas finally get passable internet service?

The majority of the country doesn't have access to what we would consider reasonable broad band. Hell, where my mom lives the only option is satellite and 2g cell service. And she's not even really that rural...
 

nilepez

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Interesting. In January the last TX store closed and at that time there was 6 in Alaska....so they've been closing an average of 1 show/month. Also if there's only one left in OR, then a store closed in that state as well.
 

Krenum

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Worked for Blockbuster back in the late 90's at their HQ. Terrible. Although I did have fun putting all the scary movie covers in the kids section & shrink wrapping random objects, lol.
 

steakman1971

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I was in a rural part of the midwest recently at a small town. We drove by a large video rental store - I was surprised. Hadn't seen one in many years. We were just passing through, so can't comment on how much business they did.
My kids could not believe people actually used to drive to these stores and rent a tape/dvd. (Although, shouldn't be too far fetched, we've rented from Red Box in the past..)
 

westrock2000

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If it wasn't for laws, I bet music rental shops would still be able to make some money. I rent discs from Movie Trading Company.....for reasons. Redbox can be risky with the theft that happens with them.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Yep...Ajit Pai personally flew to AK and, crawling under their mobile home, personally connected a fresh 1GB fiber broadband cable.

It wouldn't take gigabit fiber to compete with Blockbuster. You can get what Netflix considers HD quality (I'm guessing 720p?) with as little as 5mbps. "Super HD" requires up to 12mbps.
 

EchoWars

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It wouldn't take gigabit fiber to compete with Blockbuster. You can get what Netflix considers HD quality (I'm guessing 720p?) with as little as 5mbps. "Super HD" requires up to 12mbps.
True dat.

I still miss wandering around BB looking for movies. Maybe I'm weird.
 

jevans64

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Back in the mid-1980s I discovered the back room in the first video rental store that opened up. The owner didn't seem to care that I was under 21. I remember paying $800 for the RCA VHS recorders I had. They had a base unit and the smaller VHS unit that you could detach and carry in a shoulder case and connect a VHS video camera to it.
 

DocNo

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They had a base unit and the smaller VHS unit that you could detach and carry in a shoulder case and connect a VHS video camera to it.

I forgot about those! My Jr. High had one of those - I lugged that thing all over the place. Was a heavy, square SOB and dug in, never mind the weight of the camera too.
 
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Bear in mind that some places in Alaska are still so remote from Internet and even delivery services that the only way to get any media (TV, movies, magazines, etc) is by air delivery once a year. These would be the first binge watchers. Get close enough to the poles and you can't even get satellite signals.
 

Jarod888

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Somewhere, I still have my blockbuster card. I'll have to look and see if I can find it.
 

auntjemima

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Bear in mind that some places in Alaska are still so remote from Internet and even delivery services that the only way to get any media (TV, movies, magazines, etc) is by air delivery once a year. These would be the first binge watchers. Get close enough to the poles and you can't even get satellite signals.

Yep. Northern most point over here is Eureka. We go there once a year to service the microwave towers. Satellites beam there and the towers send it north to Alert.
 

Youn

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Check out Family Video, there are over 700 stores in US, maybe one near you... I love mine... 2 movies for 1 buck, while slightly older ones, is a great deal... lots of video games too, usually a great deal for buying used stuff compared to gamestop
 

jardows

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There are still video stores around, just have to look harder for them. Personally, when video rental was a thing, I would try any other store before going to blockbuster. Their policies and fees made dealing with them a hassle. Not sad to see the franchise die. Now if the last store will simply end the BB branding, we'll finally be able to sing the song from The Wizard of Oz - "Ding dong, the witch is dead!"
 

NeghVar

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I rented mostly video games from Blockbuster. Thank god for it. Some of those games were horrible. So I did not get burned by however much they cost to buy.
Remember when just about every grocery store had a movie rental section?

Check out Family Video, there are over 700 stores in US, maybe one near you... I love mine... 2 movies for 1 buck, while slightly older ones, is a great deal... lots of video games too, usually a great deal for buying used stuff compared to gamestop
The DFW area has 12 Family Video.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Nightmare_on_Face_Time
 
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jahsoul

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Dang.....I was a regular at the Blockbuster in North Pole, AK (not Fairbanks as stated in some of the articles) around 2004-2005. When I went up there for vacation, I was going to go by there for old time sake. :-/
 

Ur_Mom

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The last one is down the road from my nephew's place. Pretty cool. I'll have to go stop in before it's gone. Those places are pretty nostalgic. Those old video stores were always fun. The small town ones were neat before computers became a thing, too.

I remember renting from a more 'posh' video store once in the 80's. They had Laserdisc! Fucking sweet! Then, renting NES games, etc.. VHS to DVD...

Sad to see them go, but that's the way things go. The new big dog wiped them out. Of course, with no physical competition, if the internet goes to shit (physically or logically...), we're up shit creek for a while for our entertainment.
 

twonunpackmule

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Only reason these three remaining stores survived for so long in Alaska, is that large portions of the areas they serve/served didn't have reliable broadband.

I wonder what finally did them in? Did these areas finally get passable internet service?
No. Not really. However, GCI has decent mobile internet. However, the cap rates are rather high. I use Alaska Communications, myself. It's terrible. 15 up 1 down. But, no data cap.

Honestly, Red Box is filling in the void. It's not like Blockbuster was really servicing the outer villages or anything.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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No. Not really. However, GCI has decent mobile internet. However, the cap rates are rather high. I use Alaska Communications, myself. It's terrible. 15 up 1 down. But, no data cap.

Honestly, Red Box is filling in the void. It's not like Blockbuster was really servicing the outer villages or anything.

Good to hear from someone familiar with the local situation.

(condolences about the internet though :p )
 

The Mad Atheist

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Bought Robocop 3 via gift card from my 1st ever job.
That was like the only time I walked into one.
 

Overblod

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without bulk business their expenses must be through the roof... It should be declared a world heritage site, that the only way to save them
 

SmokeRngs

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I hardly ever went to Blockbuster. I only went there if what I was looking for was gone everywhere else first simply because the rental fees were fucking stupid expensive. In some cases "new releases" were almost double the price of everywhere else.
 

Exavior

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I was in a rural part of the midwest recently at a small town. We drove by a large video rental store - I was surprised. Hadn't seen one in many years. We were just passing through, so can't comment on how much business they did.
My kids could not believe people actually used to drive to these stores and rent a tape/dvd. (Although, shouldn't be too far fetched, we've rented from Red Box in the past..)

There are actually a few still around me. One in a town of about 8000 people. Two or three in a city of 45,000. I don't see them being much different from redbox with the exception that redbox is normally closer to where you might be (gas station, store...) and doesn't require an extra trip to another building. Personally I either buy a movie on physical media for 4k or purchase online so I haven't rented a movie in about 10 years so I am the type of person that will put both out of business in the end.

Be kind, rewind.

The good old days of failure to rewind fees. :) I was in college back around the turn of the century when DVDs were first starting to become main stream as the players started to come down in price and more average people owned them. A blockbuster near the university I attended started to offer DVDs during this time and due to normal practice for VHS being the stickers on everything they actually put the "Be kind, rewind" stickers on the DVD cases and also had stickers created to put around the center of the disk that stated that this was from blockbuster, and that a failure to rewind would result in fees. I decided once to be an ass and inform the clerk that I am sorry but I forgot to rewind the DVD before brining it back and wanted to know was the fee was so that I could just go ahead and pay it before I went home for Christmas break. I made sure to ask if the fee was the same as a VHS movie or if they had special DVD pricing as their pricing on the board stated that was for VHS. The guy started to go ask his manager what the fee was before he stopped in his tracks and realized that DVDs don't need to be rewound. Needless to say when I came back from Christmas break every sticker had been removed from all DVDs and their cases.
 
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