BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Blockbuster Video, the movie rental giant of the 20th Century, is closing one of the last stores still open in North America.
For many people, the news that Blockbuster is still in business will come as a surprise. The video-renting chain once had about 9,000 stores in the U.S. during the 1990’s, but that number reportedly dropped to just 10 by 2017.
The total is about to get even smaller as the last Blockbuster franchise in Texas announced it would be closing its doors in February after a brief liquidation sale.
“I hate to say it. It’s going to be gone — I owe (the store) a great debt because I met my wife (here), I’m obligated to say it was the most fun job in the world,” Edinburg Blockbuster manager Rick Cavazos told The Monitor.
The closing of the Edinburg store reportedly leaves just one franchise in Oregon and a handful of stores in Alaska. The video renting business went downhill quickly in the 2000’s as video-streaming technology from competitors like Netflix made the weekly drive to the video store unnecessary. Blockbuster eventually filed for bankruptcy in 2010.
“It grew from no stores in the 80s, to it becoming a real part of American culture all over the country by the mid-90s, but by the 2000s it started to decline. We got to see the beginning, the peak, and now, unfortunately this is the end,” Alan Payne, the president of Border Entertainment and owner of the remaining Blockbusters said.
Payne and Cavazos say that the lights will stay on in Edinburg until the store sells off the thousands of copies of DVDs the franchise still owns.
“I’ll miss the customers and the staff the most – being able to bring a smile to our customers was the best part,” Cavazos added.