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This Will Soon Be the Last Blockbuster in the World

And it's in Bend, Ore.
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 6, 2019 12:40 PM CST
The Blockbuster video rental store in Bend, Ore., in pictured on March 16, 2018.   (Ryan Brennecke/The Bulletin via AP)

(Newser) – Pretty soon there will be only one spot left to rent a Blockbuster video: Bend, Ore. Bend's Blockbuster location, the subject of a documentary in the works, will be the last one standing when Australia's Blockbuster in the Perth suburb of Morley closes its doors at the end of the month. "We've always known that there’s a time limit," owner Lyn Borszeky tells Vice. "Even with ... all the publicity we've gotten from being the last Blockbuster in Australia, it hasn't been enough to keep us going." Before online streaming services began to dominate, Blockbuster had a whopping 9,000 locations worldwide. After the company went bankrupt, only franchised stores remained open after 2014, and one by one they, too, have closed. In fact, the closures of two Alaska locations last summer gave Bend's Blockbuster the title of last in the country.

Since then, business has been booming, with tourists visiting from as far away as Taiwan, per the Oregonian. "We probably open up 10 accounts a day. It's crazy the amount of people that come in and want a Blockbuster card," general manager Sandi Harding tells the outlet. Still, "I wondered which one of us was going to hold out the longest," she says of her store and the Perth store. Noting the Australian location previously saw "about 25 new members a week," Borszeky predicts Harding will soon be closing up shop, too. But "I think we are good for a while," the manager tells the Oregonian, noting visitors are keen to pick up locally-made Blockbuster T-shirts, stickers, and magnets. They can also see various outfits worn by actor Russell Crowe, plus other Crowe memorabilia inherited from one of the closed Alaska stores. (These three things helped to kill Blockbuster.)

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