Blockbuster Video, long gone from my town but never forgotten, will forever be a very important place to me. Sure, the mega-successful retail chain forced countless mom and pop video shops to go under, giving Blockbuster something of a villainous edge, but I’ve got nothing but love for the place that, in many ways, is responsible for my love of horror movies.
Many childhood memories fade with the passage of time, but I’ve never forgotten those childhood visits to my local Blockbuster, where I would spend what seemed like hours staring at the sun-faded covers that lined the store’s Horror section. It was because of Blockbuster that I fell in love with Freddy Krueger, my gateway icon into the genre when I was but a boy.
In my teenage years, that very same Blockbuster was a place where I briefly worked; long story short, the nostalgic love I had for the store only lasted so long once it became my employer, and I ultimately quit by dropping an “I quit, you guys” note in the infamous drop box. Sorry, mom and dad. I’m not proud of it, but it was what my heart told me to do at the time.
In any event, the reason we’re talking Blockbuster today is because, sadly, we’re now down to just ONE Blockbuster in the entirety of the United States. Granted, many of you reading this right now probably assumed every store had gone out of business several years back, but there were actually three remaining stores going into 2018: two in Alaska, one in Oregon.
As Anchorage Daily News reports today, the two Blockbuster stores that had remained in Alaska are closing next week, leaving the Bend, Oregon store as the last man standing.
Blockbuster began shutting down stores back in 2013, but Alaska held onto the chain with a death grip, partly because of the high costs to get reliable, fast internet throughout the state. Yes, while Netflix and services like it were the final nail in Blockbuster’s coffin throughout much of the U.S., Alaska’s internet issues had been keeping Blockbuster alive. Crazy, eh?
Speaking with the Anchorage Daily News, the general manager of the last remaining Blockbuster, Sandi Harding, said that her store has no plans on shutting down any time soon.
“Alaska had always been — I always thought they’d outlast us,” she said. “If you’d asked me 14 years ago, there’s no way I’d thought we’d be the last one. It just seems a little crazy.”
Bless you and your team for keeping the big B alive, Sandi.