The act of leaving your home and driving to a video store to rent a movie is a thing of the past. And it especially feels ancient at the moment with the government recommending people stay home as much as possible to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
There’s never been a better time to sit on your couch and binge-watch something on Netflix or Amazon Prime, then. And the content never stops. But for the last remaining Blockbuster store – located in Bend, Oregon – they don’t care what age we’re living in or that we’re in the middle of a pandemic. They’re staying open at all costs.
“We’ve faced many challenges over the year and we’ve managed to muddle through and we will this one too,” general manager Sandi Harding told Inside Edition.
And they’re going to great lengths to keep the store safe to shop in, too. All aisles have become one-lane roads to keep people apart and no more than 10 customers can come into the store at once. But Harding has also implemented curb-side pickup, which is a first for any Blockbuster. Each video and case gets wiped down twice as well – when it leaves the store and when it comes back – preventing any possible germs.
Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy in 2010 following dwindling sales at the hands of the emerging Netflix. Dish Network eventually bought their assets and began the process of turning the company into a similar direct mail-order service like their competitors. But it was too little too late. By 2014, the Bend location was the last store still standing.
A blessing and curse about streaming services is that everything is curated for you. They look at what you like, make suggestions and you hit play. There’s very little spontaneity. That sense of discovery while perusing titles in an aisle at Blockbuster is gone. Now, we have all the information all the time at our fingertips.
All businesses, especially small independent ones, have had to take every precaution possible lately if they intend to stay open. For the Blockbuster in beautiful Bend, Oregon though, they’ve been fighting off age and ever-changing movie watching habits for years now. What’s one pandemic gonna do?