Last year, it was revealed that the Blockbuster in Bend, Oregon would be the last one standing in the U.S. after massive closings across the country.
Now, it’s official.
The Blockbuster in Oregon will be the last one in the WORLD after the second-to-last store in Western Australia will stop renting videos on Thursday and will shut down completely by the end of March.
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It’s the end of an era.
Luckily, the video rental store in Oregon has obtained a sort of celebrity status, according to The New York Times, which could keep its doors open for years to come.
The location is pretty modest for the last Blockbuster standing. It’s just off a highway near a pet cremation service and a cannabis retailer. The store opened in 2000 and as of today, it has around 4,000 active accounts and signs up a few new ones everyday, according to the general manager Sandi Harding.
When Harding learned that her store would be the lone ranger in these video-rental streets, she made a Facebook post reading, “Holy Cow it’s exciting.”
Now, according to New York Daily News, some people are traveling from places as far as the U.K. and Taiwan to stop by the Blockbuster. Branded merchandise such as trucker hats, cups and even magnets made by a local teacher are on sale in the store as well.
In other words, this could be a new beginning for the Oregon location. “It’s almost re-energized us, that we’re the last one,” Harding said. “They treat us like celebrities.”
One reason the store still might be open is because the location is described by the city’s mayor, Sally Russel, as having “huge expanses with really small communities.” These groups don’t always have easy access to high-speed Internet, which is necessary for streaming sites like Netflix or Hulu.
Thus, many customers from nearby communities stop by the Blockbuster when making their weekly errands. The store’s seven-day rental policy helps with the appeal as well.
“It’s like with old vinyl, and how everyone wants to have turntables again,” Mayor Russell said. “We get to a place where something out of date comes back in — there’s definitely interest in keeping this almost-extinct way of enjoying movies alive.”
Neighboring businesses are boosting its reputation as well. A local beer maker, 10 Barrel Brewing, even created a special beer called the Last Blockbuster, which was served at a party in the store.
Two filmmakers are also shedding light on the store by raising nearly $40,000 on Kickstarter to complete a documentary about the location.
So it seems like the Blockbuster in Oregon is starting to age like fine wine. It’s slowly making the move from 90s and 2000s nostalgia to a celebrated novelty that should be protected at all costs.
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