All rights reserved. "These are my kids that work here, the customers are my family and, my gosh, I can't put them at risk either. “Thank you for sticking by us throughout all these years,” Daymude and Vey wrote on Facebook. The two Alaska closures will leave the Blockbuster in Bend, Ore., as the last store standing. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Alaska's last two Blockbuster video stores are calling it quits, leaving just one store open in the U.S. "I usually start out with 30 [copies] on DVD, and 12 to 14 Blu-Ray. After the last couple Blockbusters closed in Alaska in 2018, the Bend store celebrated becoming the sole Blockbuster in America by selling T-shirts and hats, Harding said. Now, when Blockbuster's longtime general manager Sandi Harding wants to add new releases to the store's shelves, she has to go out and buy them herself. All rights reserved. The announcement not only meant that there would be no more Blockbusters in Alaska, but news quickly broke that the last remaining Blockbuster store was in Bend, Oregon. The store closed for a second time, but Harding said that owners Ken and Debbie Tisher continued to pay everyone on-staff, and none of its dozen-plus employees were laid off. (The store also successfully applied for and received a Paycheck Protection Loan). "The big title for next week is Call of the Wild," she told VICE. Those who were jonesing for a particular Blu-Ray would call the store, pay for their rental over the phone, and when they rolled up, a masked-and-gloved Blockbuster worker would clean the DVD case with Clorox wipes, put it in a Ziplock bag, and take it to their car. Alaska had 15 stores in its heyday, some of which began closing in the early 2000’s. The stores in Anchorage and Fairbanks will close for rentals after Sunday night and reopen Tuesday for video liquidation sales through the end of August, said Kevin Daymude, general manager of Blockbuster Alaska. “I can’t tell you how much it means to us. And because Harding must be extraordinarily fun to work with (or extraordinarily persuasive), some college-aged staff members joined her during that temporary closure to do a full inventory of the store's 22,000 DVD collection, and for a multi-day project that involved replacing the labels on all 22,000 DVD cases. "I wasn't able to keep people apart, and I thought 'Well, this isn't going to work.'". “These are the last two Blockbuster stores in Alaska that survived and it is sad to say goodbye to our dedicated customers,” Daymude and District Manager Kelli Vey wrote on Facebook. “These are the last two Blockbuster stores in Alaska that survived and it is sad to say goodbye to our dedicated customers. Despite the store's near-legendary survival instincts and two decades of outwitting, outplaying, and outlasting both its contemporaries and its own parent company, it did briefly consider that it might not make it through a goddamn pandemic too. "Unfortunately, after I got five or six people in here, everybody would be converging in the same area, everybody wanted to see the John Oliver stuff, or everybody wanted to go to the new release section," she said. "The longer it goes on, the more stress there is for everyone, and the more I'm like 'Oh gosh, can we really sustain this? Alaska Blockbuster Store Manager on John Oliver's Stunt: "It Could Be Very Big for Business" ... Kevin Daymude is the general manager of the one of the last remaining Blockbuster … They probably could've found the movie they're looking for [on a streaming service], but they don't have to: they can come here, and we've got it.". 27 years, I’ve had some of the best in Fairbanks working along side me, started as their first jobs and now leading successful careers. After closing for a few days to regroup, the store reopened with curbside service, which it had never offered before. (Associated Press), "You would not believe how much business we got just from that memorabilia alone," Daymude said. Alaska's last two Blockbuster video rental stores will close this week and liquidate remaining inventory, the stores' management announced Thursday. The Bend outpost became the last remaining Blockbuster in 2019, after stores closed in Perth, Australia, and Alaska. Legal Statement. I'll go to Walmart, Target, Fred Meyer, every retailer we have here in town, and I'll only get five or 10 from each one. The two Alaska closures will leave the Blockbuster in Bend, Ore., as the last store standing. The store hasn't just outlasted its contemporaries, survived the threats of streaming services and an ongoing international pandemic, it's also recently stretched its lifespan past that of its local DVD distributor. The last Blockbuster resides in Bend, Oregon. Related. With the closure of the Alaska location, only a single store will remain in the U.S. (Associated Press). "At first it was Outbreak, Contagion, and any pandemic movie out there, but now it's pretty much everything," she said. They sell t-shirts, hoodies, and everything celebrating the missed brand. They also started taping social distancing markers and directional arrows on the floors, DIY-ing their own Clorox wipes out of heavy-duty shop towels, and stocking up masks and gloves. When things went down Down Under, only Bend and its selection of 22,000 discs were left. Last two Blockbusters in Alaska are closing, even after Russell Crowe memorabilia The remaining franchised stores kept closing until the Bend Blockbuster was the last one. ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Alaska’s last two Blockbuster video stores are calling it quits, leaving just one store open in the U.S. Two other remaining locations, in Alaska, are closing soon, the owners announced on July 12. ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Alaska’s last two Blockbuster video stores are calling it quits, leaving just one store open in the U.S. So we're going to keep fighting for a while.". ©2021 FOX News Network, LLC. T he last two remaining Blockbuster stores in Alaska are slated to close next week, leaving just one location of the once-iconic video rental store left in the U.S. or redistributed. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, While it’s an incredibly old store, the host renovated it enough to make it comfortable for visitors. Blockbuster has survived in the most curious of places — Alaska One of the last surviving Blockbuster Video outlets is located in Fairbanks, Alaska. The Blockbuster in Bend, Oregon has prided itself on being the last of its kind in all of America. Mutual Fund and ETF data provided by Refinitiv Lipper. It was a sad end to a mighty entertainment empire. Mutual Fund and ETF data provided by Refinitiv Lipper. The location has no plans of closing anytime soon, according to store general manager Sandi Harding. The Blockbuster Video on DeBarr Road is one of the last two Blockbuster stores remaining in Alaska, and both are set to close. "At first, I think I was more nervous about people getting sick, or if even one person gets sick. It attracts visitors from all over the country, not to mention the world, and a significant portion of their revenue comes from Blockbuster-branded merchandise. “At its peak in 2004, it boasted 60,000 employees and 9,000 stores worldwide” writes All That’s Interesting about Blockbuster. For One Last Night, Make It a Blockbuster Night. Sandi Harding, the Bend store's … That location closed in 2018. Your heart is just torn in two different directions.". ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Alaska’s last two Blockbuster video stores are calling it quits, leaving just one store open in the U.S. Ryan Brennecke / The Bulletin via AP. '". HBO “Last Week Tonight” host John Oliver made an effort to help drum up business at the Anchorage location in April by sending the store movie memorabilia to display, including a jockstrap worn by actor Russell Crowe in the 2005 movie “Cinderella Man.”, A display case featuring the DVD of the movie "Cinderella Man" and the jockstrap worn by actor Russell Crowe in the movie at a Blockbuster video store in Anchorage, Alaska. Everything is 10 years behind in Alaska—including the way people see movies. In recent years, Blockbuster stores have vanished in most of the country. The location has no plans of closing anytime soon, according to store general manager Sandi Harding. The Blockbuster store in a city near central Oregon became the last one in the U.S. last year. Market data provided by Factset. Alaska's last two Blockbuster stores -- one in Anchorage and another in Fairbanks -- announced they would officially close on Sunday. At its peak in the mid-2000s, Blockbuster was a behemoth that had 9,000 stores worldwide . In the last few years, Alaska and Australia lost their final Blockbusters. The stores in Anchorage and Fairbanks will close for rentals after Sunday night and reopen Tuesday for video liquidation sales through the end of August, said Kevin Daymude, general manager of Blockbuster Alaska. "Someone rented the entire Indiana Jones series, others are getting classics like Somewhere in Time, and I think that's kind of the beauty of our store. “We have thought of you as family for the past 28 years.”, Blockbuster Alaska General Manager Kevin Daymude moves a display case featuring the jockstrap worn by actor Russell Crowe in the 2005 movie "Cinderella Man" at a Blockbuster video store in Anchorage, Alaska. By signing up to the VICE newsletter you agree to receive electronic communications from VICE that may sometimes include advertisements or sponsored content. And soon it'll be the only one in the world. On its website, the world's last Blockbuster Video store sells its own made-in-Oregon merch, with T-shirts, hoodies, and foam trucker hats all printed with the almost-extinct chain's torn ticket logo. Alaska is closing the last of its Blockbuster stores. Before Bend, America’s second-to-last Blockbuster resided in Alaska. Powered and implemented by FactSet Digital Solutions. ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Alaska's last two Blockbuster video stores are calling it quits, leaving just one store open in the U.S. (Courtesy Kevin Daymude.) Powered and implemented by FactSet Digital Solutions. Video rental store chain Blockbuster Video was still a hit in one place: Alaska. Market data provided by Factset. And in the early days of this crisis, when most of us were still trying to understand what a stay-at-home order meant, Harding was still trying to take care of her DVD-rental regulars. Quotes displayed in real-time or delayed by at least 15 minutes. The store is currently home to props from Russell Crowe’s personal archive that Last Week Tonight host, John Oliver, famously donated to an Alaska-based Blockbuster … (Associated Press). They don't like me very much if I come in and just wipe out their shelves, so I try to be conscientious of that, and make sure that I leave movies for their regular customers as well. I was more concerned with that than the business," Harding said. ", Every week, Harding will be out socially distancing her way through big box retailers for new releases, because she knows that's what her customers want. What a great time to build your media library and share some Blockbuster memories with us. After the Blockbuster stores in Alaska locked their doors, and the one in Perth, Australia collected its last late fee and turned its lights off, the 20-year-old Bend, Oregon location became the only Blockbuster left on the planet. Alaska’s final two Blockbuster video stores will rent out their last movies and close up shop at the end of the week, management announced Thursday -- leaving the U.S. with a single remaining location. For many Alaskans streaming online is not a good option, so movie night means Blockbuster night. A few months ago, that might've sounded less defiant, less accomplished, less 'Fuck yeah, we're still here,' but that was before buying tater tots required drawing complicated schematics of the supermarket; before we started bartering with our neighbors, your sourdough starter for my coffee-filter face masks; and before we ever dreamed we'd be nostalgic for pressing elevator buttons with our bare fingertips. Manager Sandi Harding says the store is a tourist attraction and won't close anytime soon. Two stores in Alaska, part of the final group of Blockbuster outlets in the United States, closed in July. Read about Alaska's Blockbusters by John Oliver and see the artwork, lyrics and similar artists. We have thought of you as family for the past 28 years.”. Kevin Daymude, Blockbuster Alaska general manager, said the final stores in Anchorage and Fairbanks will close Monday and reopen the following day to sell off remaining inventory through the end of August. "I can't thank John Oliver or his show enough.". ... A new version of Last.fm is available, to keep everything running smoothly, please reload the site. The Bend store is the last remaining Blockbuster in operation in the United States after two stores in Alaska closed earlier this week. ©2021 FOX News Network, LLC. The store hasn't really slowed down since, although people have started renting less-terrifying movies. Sandi Harding didn't think her Blockbuster location would outlive the last two stores in Alaska. — Kevin Daymude, general manager, and Kelli Vey, district manager, Why 'The Rock' is endorsing THIS candidate, Tiger Woods and ex-wife Elin Nordegren ‘do a great job co-parenting’ after sex scandal: source, 'Bachelorette' star James McCoy Taylor called out by other Bachelor Nation cast for attending Capitol rally, ‘Bridgerton’ star Phoebe Dynevor ‘can’t imagine’ how filming Season 2 would be possible during pandemic, Ronnie Spector reacts to Phil Spector’s death: ‘He was a brilliant producer, but a lousy husband’, Jennifer Lopez slams claims she's gotten 'tons' of Botox, fillers in face, Jana Kramer apologizes to Tiger Woods' ex-mistress Rachel Uchitel after saying 'I hate her'. The Associated Press contributed to this report. It's been just over a year since the World's Last Blockbuster became, you know, exactly that. Then, in 2019, the penultimate Blockbuster, one in Australia’s outback, also closed, leaving Bend as the last Blockbuster. We don't go down without a fight. […] But we're still making plans and pushing forward and we're the last one for a reason. "I had a customer come in and she said, 'I am so grateful that you reopened, because I couldn't flip through Netflix one more time. Here's what it was like to visit the last frontier of the video-rental chain before it went extinct. News. It's been just over a year since the World's Last Blockbuster became, you know, exactly that. The stores in Anchorage and Fairbanks will close for rentals after Sunday night and reopen Tuesday for video liquidation sales through the end of August, said Kevin Daymude, general manager of Blockbuster Alaska. Quotes displayed in real-time or delayed by at least 15 minutes. Harding said that the store had 10-15 curbside customers a day—"a drop in the bucket" compared to its typical pre-pandemic rentals—which wasn't enough to sustain the business, or to justify the potential risks. We hope to see you at our stores during the closing, even if it’s just to say 'Hello.' ... Alaska, closed last July. Australia was the second last country to have a Blockbuster. At that point, Harding decided that she felt comfortable enough with their safety measures to open the doors to 10 people at a time. ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska’s last two Blockbuster video stores are calling it quits, leaving just one store open in the U.S. But even with the extra business and excitement, the Alaska stores were unable to survive a planned lease hike. Legal Statement. It also offers laminated replicas of its once-ubiquitous membership cards, and a bumper sticker that says "I SURVIVED ALONG WITH THE LAST BLOCKBUSTER" in already distressed capital letters. 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