Blockbuster Is Closing Its North Pole Location and Even Santa Claus Is Upset
Many of today’s kids will never know the joy of going to Blockbuster on a Friday night and picking out a movie from the “New Releases” section to watch. The beloved video rental chain, which began closing its stores in 2013, announced last week that it would shutter its North Pole, Alaska location, thanking patrons for their many years of support.
But Blockbuster isn’t totally extinct yet. Although the once-ubiquitous movie rental company has shuttered thousands of locations across the country (at its height, the company operated some 9,000 locations worldwide), there are still six stores remaining, four in Alaska and two in Oregon.
While you may be surprised to learn that there are even Blockbusters still in existence, the brick and mortar video rental market found its niche in Alaska where the lack of high-speed Internet makes video streaming difficult, and mail delivery DVD rental has fallen by the wayside as Netflix has focused on online streaming.
In fact, when Blockbuster announced it was closing the North Pole location, many of its loyal customers expressed great disappointment.
“I feel like I am losing my childhood,” Sonja Yatlin wrote on Facebook.
Robert Campbell also lamented, "You don't know, that with every store that closes, a part of my life and heart goes with it!"
Rachael Stark wrote that her family has always used Blockbuster and “will continue to do so until the end.” They will keep getting their movie rentals from the neighboring Fairbanks location. She commented, “We and our kids enjoy the social experience as in going outdoors to get something. Going into stores will become a thing of the past that’s why as a family we never use Amazon or shop online. Shop local!!”
Even Santa Claus, a notable North Pole resident whose legal name is, in fact, Santa Claus, added his condolences: "Sad that North Pole Blockbuster is closing."
Most Americans haven’t seen a Blockbuster in years, since the chain announced bankruptcy in 2010. If you’re wondering what exactly a Blockbuster is, or want a dose of nostalgia for the analog video rental experience, here’s what it’s like at the last few stores in the country.
The store’s trademark blue and yellow signage hasn’t changed a bit:
And neither have the membership cards:
It seems the company has a sense of humor about losing much of its business to competitors like Netflix:
Inside, you’ll still find a New Releases section (with questionably “new” movies) and shelves are still stocked with multiple copies of the same DVD:
Movie rentals are a very affordable $0.49 per night!
Evidently people love paying homage to the original movie entertainment store. We’ll be sad when the last few close their doors too.