In four days, there will only be one Blockbuster left in the country, and it's in Bend.
There are currently only two other Blockbusters in the nation, both of which are in Alaska. But earlier today, store managers Kelli Vey and Kevin Daymude announced in a Facebook post that both locations will close on July 16. "It is sad to say goodbye to our dedicated customers," reads the post. "We have thought of you as family for the past 28 years."
Sandi Harding, the general manager of the Bend location, says that she wasn't entirely caught off guard by the news. "It's nothing that we didn't foresee coming," she told WW. "I just really though that Alaska would hold out longer than we would."
Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy in 2010. But a few holdouts of the video rental franchise were able to remain in rural areas with limited internet access. A year ago, there were ten Blockbusters left in the U.S., including one in Texas, three in Oregon and six in Alaska.
The rest were soon to follow—the Edinburg, Tex. location closed in January, the Redmond, Ore. location closed a month later. Four of Alaska's Blockbusters had closed by May. Now, Bend's location is the only one left.
Harding says that her store has been kept alive by tourists who are surprised to discover that a Blockbuster still exists, Portlanders who want to buy a movie from the franchise for the nostalgic novelty and locals who are regulars.
According to Harding, there's at least some pride in owning the only Blockbuster left in the U.S.
"It's exciting, it's sad and a little scary," she says. "It just is what it is. We're exited to still be here, and hope that we last out a little longer."