Alaska: the Land Where Blockbuster Survived

Several outlets are still hanging on
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 24, 2017 3:19 AM CDT
Alaska: the Land Where Blockbuster Survived
FILE - This July 23, 2006 file photo shows customers enter a Blockbuster video store in Dallas. The troubled video-rental chain Blockbuster Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection Thursday Sept. 23, 2010 as it tries to reorganize.   (AP Photo/Ron Heflin, File)

The manager of a successful Blockbuster Video outlet has given an interview to CBS News—and they didn't have to take a time machine back to 1997 to speak to him. Kevin Daymude runs a Blockbuster outlet in Anchorage, which is one of several locations in Alaska that survived after the parent company closed its last few hundred outlets in 2013. "I can’t tell you how many business cards I've given out to people 'cause they literally do not believe that I'm from Blockbuster," says Daymude, who has been with Blockbuster since the days of VHS. "I feel like a lot of the customers just want to come in and feel like they're someone special," he says. "They love the customer service, they love the interaction."

Alan Payne owns nine of the last 12 Blockbusters in the country, most of them in Alaska, though even there, several have had to close in the last few years. There used to be more than 9,000 across the country. In 2013, he told the Wall Street Journal that he decided to keep licensing the Blockbuster name because a lot of people associate the name with happy memories. He says one reason why the stores have managed to survive so long in Alaska is because people enjoy the selection and the social aspect—and another is that Internet in the state tends to be expensive and charged by data usage, meaning a trip to Blockbuster can work out a lot cheaper than binge-watching on Netflix. (This man was arrested 14 years after he failed to return a rented movie.)

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