Don’t Worry, The Last Blockbuster Store Survived COVID-19

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Jamie Hoxsey, Writer

There used to be around 9,000 blockbuster stores all over the United States. The home video rental store was extremely popular. However, things went a little downhill. Streaming services became more popular, so renting physical copies of movies started to make less and less sense. The business started to suffer. 

As a result, there’s only one Blockbuster store left in the entire United States in a small town in Oregon. This is such an anomaly that Netflix even released a documentary creatively named, “The Last Blockbuster” about how the store is holding on by a thread. Besides it being very ironic that a documentary trying to save the store is on a platform that helped end the franchise, the film received mediocre reviews. It pretty much just relied on nostalgia and conspiracy theories to tell its tale. 

However, the actual Blockbuster store also heavily relied on nostalgia to get through the pandemic. They apparently offered sleepovers at the store through Airbnb (which honestly sounds pretty sick) and sold merchandise locally. Because they knew more people would get sick of their homes during quarantine, they dived into marketing that going out to get a tangible movie would be a sparkling, nostalgic experience. 

Surprisingly, it kind of worked. The store managed to survive the pandemic. Actually, they more than survived. Sales skyrocketed during the pandemic, even managing to crash their servers with the amount of orders they were getting. The community in Bend, Oregon pulled together to keep the store alive, and it worked. 

While it’s unclear how much longer the last home video rental chain will last, the story of the last Blockbuster serves as an interesting snapshot of a long-dead era.