BEND, Ore. - And then there was one!
At its height during the 1990s and into the 2000s, Blockbuster was the king of the movie rental empire. The home movie rental chain once had over 9000 stores worldwide – with over 4000 in the U.S. alone. As on-demand video services and automated movie rental kiosks took over, Blockbuster lost revenue and closed stores.
Now, if you’re looking for a Blockbuster location in the United States, you’ll have to make a special trip to Bend, Oregon.
Located about a 3-hour drive southeast of Portland -- Bend is just about as far off the beaten path as you can get. And that’s where we found FOX 5’s Kevin McCarthy, who made his very own pilgrimage to the last great video store in the U.S.
Kevin said Blockbuster was like a second-home growing up as a child. When he heard that the last remaining movie rental stores in Alaska had closed up leaving just the Oregon location left, he knew he had to make a trip before it was too late. “It’s crazy to me that there is only one left in the entire county that’s renting out movies now!” he said.
He went in with a couple of goals in mind. First, he wanted to sign up and get his own Blockbuster card (his old one is long-gone!). Second, he wanted to rent two of his old favorites: Terminator 2: Judgement Day and Pulp Fiction. To his surprise – and leaving him feeling like he was 12-year-old again -- neither was in stock when he visited! He settled for True Romance (his favorite movie), Face Off (for old times’ sake), Ready Player One (a new favorite), The Sandlot (he just had to do it!).
He got his own card, bought a couple of t-shirts, and rented his movies (although he rented them for nostalgic purposes alone – his hotel room doesn't have a DVD player!), and went on his way knowing this might be the last time he ever steps foot in a Blockbuster again. Unless he visits Bend, Oregon sometime down the road.
But don;t worry! If you’re longing for a trip to the last Blockbuster in the U.S. you still have time! They just signed a new four year lease! Check them out online!
I flew to Bend, Oregon to visit the last Blockbuster in America, opened an account and rented FACE/OFF, TRUE ROMANCE, READY PLAYER ONE and THE SANDLOT. What’s crazy is the movie I went searching for in the store first was TERMINATOR 2. I got to the section and it was already rented out! And the Blockbuster employee just finished checking through all the returned movies. He checks his system and it was rented out and 1 day late in the return. Then, I searched for Pulp Fiction. Rented out! It was like the best and worst feeling because it brought me back to those exciting days when you didn’t know for sure that you’re film would be there! ❤️🎥🎞❤️❤️ Oh and I had the employee make me a membership card. I went outside and put this Blockbuster shirt on to get a picture and then went walking around the store. At one point someone stopped ask me a question because he thought I worked there. 😂😂