The Last Blockbuster Video Store is in Bend, Oregon
I have an uneven relationship with Netflix. I remember when I signed up for my account over ten years ago; I had just graduated high school and my mind was blown by how many movies and television shows were just waiting for me to stream. After the dust had settled a few years later, I started to build my personal movie collection.
When I started dating my wife, she worked at the now-closed Hastings in Richland. I would go visit her as she worked in the coffee shop and peruse through the movies. Ever since I was a kid, I have loved finding movies. I can't describe the way it feels when I go searching for something obscure and I actually find it. It just makes me feel warm inside. That's just something you can't replicate with streaming apps. Netflix always seems to have something I'd like but not what I'm searching for. To complicate matters further, there are far too many streaming services out there and it negates the revolutionary concept that Netflix brought to the table: having everything in one place. Even worse is the constant shifting of streaming rights. A movie can be in your queue and gone before you can actually watch it.
While not directly responsible, Netflix helped bring the end of something I love. The video rental store. Sure, you can still find the occasional one here and there. I walked into one this summer in Seaside, Oregon and it was a lot of fun. But it's special and not the norm. Any time I visit a video store in the wild, I take my time and take it all in.
Blockbuster Video was the biggest name in home video rentals, an empire spanning decades. It all came crashing down during the Great Recession and when Blockbuster turned down a potential purchase of Netflix, their fate was sealed. Now, one Blockbuster Video remains and it's located in Bend, Oregon. This sole Blockbuster sees people trek from across the country to get a taste of yesterday and has been such a sensation, a documentary was made about it featuring actors you probably know. Get a look at what it's like at the last Blockbuster in Bend.
I've yet to make a visit but it's been on my bucket list for a long time. Here's to you, Bend Blockbuster. Glad you're here.