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World's last Blockbuster a tribute to Gen X past

Updated : 2019-03-19 11:55:13

A Blockbuster Video in Oregon is the last one on the planet after the only other Blockbuster video rental shop, in Australia, announced it is closing on March 31. Employees of the dated franchise in Bend say running the store has its challenges. The computers must be rebooted using floppy disks. Workers write membership cards by hand because the dot-matrix printer broke. And business transactions are backed up on a reel-to-reel tape that can't be replaced because Radio Shack went out of business. But the store is now booming with business from longtime locals as well as tourists from as far away as Taiwan who come to snap selfies and buy souvenirs. General manager Sandi Harding ordered T-shirts and other souvenirs that say "The Last Blockbuster on the Planet," and orders are already streaming in. Harding says the location has several years left on its lease and isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

Local documentary filmmakers Taylor Morden, left, and Zeke Kamm, pose at the last Blockbuster on the planet in Bend, Ore., on Monday, March 11, 2019, with a promotional VHS tape of their upcoming documentary about the store titled The Last Blockbuster. When a Blockbuster in Perth, Australia, shuts its doors for the last time on March 31, the store in Bend, Ore., will be the only one left on Earth, and most likely in the universe. (AP)
Local documentary filmmakers Taylor Morden, left, and Zeke Kamm, pose at the last Blockbuster on the planet in Bend, Ore., on Monday, March 11, 2019, with a promotional VHS tape of their upcoming documentary about the store titled The Last Blockbuster. When a Blockbuster in Perth, Australia, shuts its doors for the last time on March 31, the store in Bend, Ore., will be the only one left on Earth, and most likely in the universe. (AP)
In this Monday, March 11, 2019, photo, Sandi Harding, general manager of the last Blockbuster on the planet in Bend, Ore., poses for a photo outside the store. (AP)
In this Monday, March 11, 2019, photo, Sandi Harding, general manager of the last Blockbuster on the planet in Bend, Ore., poses for a photo outside the store. (AP)
Sandi Harding, general manager of the last Blockbuster on the planet in Bend, Ore., poses for a photo inside the store on Monday, March 11, 2019. Harding is holding up the floppy disc she uses to reboot her computer and the reel-to-reel tape used to back up transactions. (AP)
Sandi Harding, general manager of the last Blockbuster on the planet in Bend, Ore., poses for a photo inside the store on Monday, March 11, 2019. Harding is holding up the floppy disc she uses to reboot her computer and the reel-to-reel tape used to back up transactions. (AP)
Returned movies wait to be shelved at the last Blockbuster on the planet in Bend, Ore., on Monday, March 11, 2019 as a customer checks out movies in the background. (AP)
Returned movies wait to be shelved at the last Blockbuster on the planet in Bend, Ore., on Monday, March 11, 2019 as a customer checks out movies in the background. (AP)
Elizabeth Gilless, of Memphis, Tenn., shows her children John, 3, and Ellen, 5, a movie from the children's section at the last Blockbuster on the planet in Bend, Ore., on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. The family was vacationing in Oregon and stopped by the store to buy souvenirs on their way to Portland, Ore., after hearing it was the last Blockbuster on the planet. (AP)
Elizabeth Gilless, of Memphis, Tenn., shows her children John, 3, and Ellen, 5, a movie from the children's section at the last Blockbuster on the planet in Bend, Ore., on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. The family was vacationing in Oregon and stopped by the store to buy souvenirs on their way to Portland, Ore., after hearing it was the last Blockbuster on the planet. (AP)
Floppy disks containing the original software that is still used for rebooting the computer system at the last Blockbuster store on the planet sit on a counter in the Bend, Ore., store on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. (AP)
Floppy disks containing the original software that is still used for rebooting the computer system at the last Blockbuster store on the planet sit on a counter in the Bend, Ore., store on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. (AP)
A sign advertising locally made souvenirs from the last Blockbuster store on the planet sits in the store in Bend, Ore., in this Tuesday, March 12, 2019 photo. (AP)
A sign advertising locally made souvenirs from the last Blockbuster store on the planet sits in the store in Bend, Ore., in this Tuesday, March 12, 2019 photo. (AP)
Employee Ryan Larrew alphabetizes returned movies before re-shelving them at the last Blockbuster store on the planet in Bend, Ore., on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. (AP)
Employee Ryan Larrew alphabetizes returned movies before re-shelving them at the last Blockbuster store on the planet in Bend, Ore., on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. (AP)
Tia Thiel and her son, Micah Knox, 7, browse a selection of movies at the last Blockbuster on the planet in Bend, Ore., on Monday, March 11, 2019. Thiel is a regular at the store and says she goes to the store for the older movies she can't find on streaming services like Netflix.  (AP)
Tia Thiel and her son, Micah Knox, 7, browse a selection of movies at the last Blockbuster on the planet in Bend, Ore., on Monday, March 11, 2019. Thiel is a regular at the store and says she goes to the store for the older movies she can't find on streaming services like Netflix.  (AP)
Debby Saltzman, of Bend, Ore., poses for a photo on Monday, March 11, 2019, in front of the last Blockbuster store on the planet with her twin brother, Michael Trovato. Trovato was visiting from Melbourne, Australia, where he lives. Taking the photo is Saltzman's husband, Jeremy Saltzman. (AP)
Debby Saltzman, of Bend, Ore., poses for a photo on Monday, March 11, 2019, in front of the last Blockbuster store on the planet with her twin brother, Michael Trovato. Trovato was visiting from Melbourne, Australia, where he lives. Taking the photo is Saltzman's husband, Jeremy Saltzman. (AP)
Employee Ryan Larrew reshelves movies that have been returned to the last Blockbuster store on the planet in Bend, Ore., in this Tuesday, March 12, 2019 photo. Larrew's sweatshirt advertises the store as the last one in America, but the store has ordered new sweatshirts and T-shirts saying it is the last Blockbuster on the planet. (AP)
Employee Ryan Larrew reshelves movies that have been returned to the last Blockbuster store on the planet in Bend, Ore., in this Tuesday, March 12, 2019 photo. Larrew's sweatshirt advertises the store as the last one in America, but the store has ordered new sweatshirts and T-shirts saying it is the last Blockbuster on the planet. (AP)
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