Blockbuster video stores closing in Alaska, leaving chain with 1 location in US

Alaska’s final two Blockbuster video stores will rent out their last movies and close up shop at the end of the week, management announced Thursday — leaving the U.S. with a single remaining location.

Kevin Daymude, Blockbuster Alaska general manager, said the final stores in Anchorage and Fairbanks will close Monday and reopen the following day to sell off remaining inventory through the end of August.

“These are the last two Blockbuster stores in Alaska that survived and it is sad to say goodbye to our dedicated customers,” Daymude and District Manager Kelli Vey wrote on Facebook. “We have thought of you as family for the past 28 years.”

FILE - In this May 2, 2018 file photo, Blockbuster Alaska General Manager Kevin Daymude moves a display case featuring the jockstrap worn by actor Russell Crowe in the 2005 movie
Blockbuster Alaska General Manager Kevin Daymude moves a display case featuring the jockstrap worn by actor Russell Crowe in the 2005 movie “Cinderella Man” at a Blockbuster video store in Anchorage, Alaska. (Associated Press)

The two Alaska closures will leave the Blockbuster in Bend, Ore., as the last store standing. The location has no plans of closing anytime soon, according to store general manager Sandi Harding.

HBO “Last Week Tonight” host John Oliver made an effort to help drum up business at the Anchorage location in April by sending the store movie memorabilia to display, including a jockstrap worn by actor Russell Crowe in the 2005 movie “Cinderella Man.”

FILE - This May 2, 2018 file photo shows a display case featuring the DVD of the movie
A display case featuring the DVD of the movie “Cinderella Man” and the jockstrap worn by actor Russell Crowe in the movie at a Blockbuster video store in Anchorage, Alaska. (Associated Press)

“You would not believe how much business we got just from that memorabilia alone,” Daymude said. “I can’t thank John Oliver or his show enough.”

But even with the extra business and excitement, the Alaska stores were unable to survive a planned lease hike.

At the peak of its success, the once-iconic video rental chain had more than 9,000 stores and employed more than 84,000 people worldwide, Deadline reported.

“These are the last two Blockbuster stores in Alaska that survived and it is sad to say goodbye to our dedicated customers. We have thought of you as family for the past 28 years.”

– Kevin Daymude, general manager, and Kelli Vey, district manager

In recent years, Blockbuster stores have vanished in most of the country. Alaska had 15 stores in its heyday, some of which began closing in the early 2000’s.

“Thank you for sticking by us throughout all these years,” Daymude and Vey wrote on Facebook. “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.

We will miss all of you!”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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