Last Blockbuster store on Earth located in US, as Australian location closes
A Blockbuster store in Bend, Oregon, is now the world’s last outpost of the once-booming video rental chain after the closure of a store in Perth, Australia.
Located in the Perth suburb of Morley, Australia’s last Blockbuster store began a going-out-of-business sale on March 8 and closed for good at the end of the month, the Australian Associated Press reported. The store’s owners attributed its downfall to the arrival of Netflix and other streaming services in the Australian market.
The Blockbuster in Bend became the last U.S. location of the bankrupt chain with the closure of two stores in Alaska last summer. Now, it is the last Blockbuster store in existence on Earth.
“I had no idea,” Sandi Harding, general manager of the Blockbuster store in Bend, told local newspaper The Bulletin when asked about the Australian store’s closure. “I wondered which one of us was going to hold out the longest.”
The Bend, Oregon location still runs on the same IBM computers and Blockbuster membership cards used during the chain’s heyday. The store opened in 2000 and is still profitable, offering a mix of old titles and movies fresh out of theaters, FOX Business Network’s Kristina Partsinevelos reported. The owners of the shuttered Blockbuster in Perth called the Bend, Oregon location to wish them well.
A dominant brand during the late 1980s and 1990s, Blockbuster once had more than 9,000 stores in operation and billions in annual revenue. The chain shut down its last corporate-owned stores in 2014, but some franchisees have remained operational in the years since.
The rise of Netflix, which instantly streams movies and television shows to its base of nearly 150 million paid subscribers, has rendered physical video rentals obsolete. Other competitors in the burgeoning space include Hulu and Amazon Prime Video.
Harding told The Bulletin that her Blockbuster store is still a solid business and has become a tourist attraction, drawing visitors from around the world.
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“We probably open up 10 accounts a day,” Harding told the newspaper. “It’s crazy the amount of people that come in and want a Blockbuster card.”