In 2004, Blockbuster Video had over 9,000 locations across the United States. But now, there’s just one left in the entire world.
The weekend trip to Blockbuster with family and friends was a critical component of growing up in the 1990s. But nostalgia alone couldn’t save the franchise.
The 2008 recession, followed in short order by alternative DVD delivery services such as Netflix and Redbox and the meteoric rise of video streaming combined forces to push Blockbuster into bankruptcy. In 2011, the failed company was purchased by Dish Network, who, two years later, closed all remaining video stores owned by Blockbuster. Independent video stores who had licensed the Blockbuster name, however, were able to carry on.
But one by one, those independent Blockbusters also closed down as Internet speeds increased and video streaming became commonplace across the world. In early summer of 2018, there were two Blockbusters left in Alaska and one in Oregon. The Alaska stores finally closed that summer, leaving the Bend store as the last one standing. National media attention soon followed and the Bend Blockbuster became a tourist site as well. And after the last Blockbuster Video in Australia closed in 2019, the Bend store became the only one left in the world.
The Bend store, owned by Ken Tisher since 1990, has no plans to close its doors anytime soon. It remains a well-used and beloved part of the community.