BEND, OR -- At its peak, in 2004, Blockbuster had nearly 9,100 video stores. Now, only a handful of brick and mortar stores remain; and the last two in the contiguous U.S. are in Central Oregon.
Ken and Debbie Tisher own the Bend and Redmond locations. Sandi Harding is the General Manager for both, and says they cater to a different kind of customer - one who's looking for a community experience. "We have loyal customers and because of them, we've been able to stay open longer than most other locally owned Blockbusters across America. At this point, our two Central Oregon stores are the last two in the Lower 48."
However, that soon will change, "Unfortunately, it's sort of a sign of the times," Harding tells KBND News. "There's just so many options for people for home entertainment, at this point, that it's really hard to stay viable in the business. The Redmond store, unfortunately, has been struggling, and it's come to a time now where we just can't keep it open."
Earlier this year, a store in Sandy, Oregon closed, along with the last Blockbusters in Texas. When the Redmond location (pictured) closes in mid-March, the store on NE Revere Ave. in Bend will be the only one left. Six stores remain open in Alaska, where internet coverage is spotty.