Despite the best efforts of John Oliver and Russel Crowe’s undergarments, two of the final Blockbuster videos in the United States have shut their doors. The Anchorage and Fairbanks locations in Alaska got a lot of attention a few years back, along with ten that stayed in operation despite the company going under in 2013. According to a Washington Post report back in 2017, these locations kept going strong thanks to expensive internet connections and stretches of darkness that would make a normal man crazy enough to go to Blockbuster:
“A lot of them are still quite busy,” Alan Payne, a Blockbuster licensee-owner, said in an interview with The Washington Post. “If you went in there on a Friday night you’d be shocked at the number of people.”
A little over one year later and the tune has changed, with the stores closing their doors and bidding tearful goodbyes to loyal customers according to the Anchorage Daily News. The stores will shut down rentals on Sunday, July 15th before moving on to liquidation sales through August:
Thursday’s news follows a smattering of other recent Blockbuster closures across the state, which had 13 Blockbusters in 2013 and was down to nine stores by 2016.
“It’s tough to tell the customers, it really is,” said Kevin Daymude, the general manager at the DeBarr location. “They are like family. It’s hard to say goodbye.”
But there is one more location that refuses to go quietly into the night. Bend, Oregon is now home to the only surviving Blockbuster Video location in America. According to KTVB, the folks at the Bend location are thrilled by the news:
“How exciting,” said the Bend store’s general manager Sandi Harding. “It might end up being a little chaotic for a couple of weeks.”
As for the fate of that store, the future looks good.
“We have no plans on closing anytime soon,” Harding said.
KTVB adds that the jockstrap that was donated to the Alaskan location by John Oliver and Last Week Tonight will likely end up with franchise owner Alan Payne in Austin, Texas. It was a wild ride with a crazy ending there thanks to Oliver, earning the stores in Alaska one last hurrah and earning himself a Koala Chlamydia Ward at the Australian Zoo thanks to Russell Crowe.