Two of the three remaining Blockbuster video locations in the U.S. will soon close, according to an announcement made Thursday.
Blockbuster Alaska announced the closure of its two Anchorage stores, saying inventory will be liquidated through the months of July and August.
The announcement, which came in a Thursday Facebook post, means there will be only one remaining location of the iconic franchise left in America: Bend, Oregon.
Sandi Harding, general manager of that location, told USA TODAY that she knows there are still some Blockbuster video stores operating overseas. But to the best of her knowledge, after the Alaska stores close, her location will be the only one left in America.
She credited the store’s “amazing, loyal customers” for the store’s longevity. She said she has been working at Blockbuster for 14 years and seen her share of heartache as stores closed.
She remembers when Netflix came out. “Oh man, we need to get ahead of this,” she remembers thinking.
Now, about a quarter of the customers at her store are tourists. It’s a bit of a destination. Some take photos, she said.
At its peak, Blockbuster operated over 9,000 stores, the New York Times reported in 2011.
The Alaska stores’ closures come after national attention on HBO’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.”
Two months ago the show sent a jockstrap worn by Russell Crowe in the 2005 movie “Cinderella Man” and other items to an Anchorage store, which displayed it in an effort to ramp up business.
It temporarily worked, according to Kevin Daymude, general manager of Blockbuster Alaska. But ultimately, it wasn’t enough.
He thanked customers in the Facebook post announcing the stores’ closure: “Thank you for sticking by us throughout all these years. I can’t tell you how much it means to us. We hope to see you at our stores during the closing, even if it’s just to say ‘Hello’. What a great time to build your media library and share some Blockbuster memories with us.”
Some have credited expensive internet as a factor in keeping the Alaska locations open longer than most stores.
Contributing: The Associated Press
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