Block­busters in Alaska set to close; 1 store left in US

Manteca Bulletin - - Opinion/ Dollars & Sense -

AN­CHOR­AGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska’s last two Block­buster video stores are calling it quits, leav­ing just one store open in the U.S.

The stores in An­chor­age and Fair­banks will close for rentals af­ter Sun­day night and re­open Tues­day for video liq­ui­da­tion sales through the end of Au­gust, said Kevin Day­mude, gen­eral man­ager of Block­buster Alaska.

“It’s go­ing to be crazy,” Day­mude said of the tem­po­rary re­open­ing. He said res­i­dents were sad when they heard the news and many peo­ple have been rem­i­nisc­ing about their Block­buster mem­o­ries.

The news was an­nounced to Alaskans on Block­buster Alaska’s Face­book page.

The clo­sures come just two months af­ter the host of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” sent a jock­strap worn by Rus­sell Crowe in the 2005 movie “Cin­derella Man” and other items to the An­chor­age store, which dis­played it in an ef­fort to ramp up busi­ness.

Day­mude says the buzz from the Oliver con­nec­tion brought more peo­ple to the store.

“You would not be­lieve how much busi­ness we got just from that mem­o­ra­bilia alone,” he said. “I can’t thank John Oliver or his show enough.”

But it wasn’t enough to counter a planned lease in­crease at both Alaska lo­ca­tions.

The jock­strap will prob­a­bly go to the fran­chise owner, Alan Payne, who lives out­side Austin, Texas.

A re­quest for com­ment from HBO was not im­me­di­ately re­turned.

In its hey­day, Block­buster had 15 stores in Alaska, Day­mude said. Some stores in more remote, less pop­u­lated parts of the state be­gan clos­ing in the early 2000s.

In re­cent years, Block­buster stores have van­ished in most of the U.S.

But their sur­vival lasted longer in Alaska, with some cred­it­ing ex­pen­sive in­ter­net as a fac­tor in keep­ing many peo­ple rent­ing videos rather than stream­ing.

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