August 12, 2020

From the Archive: Retail Dive reminds readers of Blockbuster brand timeline

A decade ago, Blockbuster filed for Chapter 11, marking the end to an entire sector of retail. An end, except that bits and pieces of Blockbuster's former empire remained open for years (along with other smaller chains and indie video stores). Last year, a store owned by franchisee Ken Tisher in Bend, Oregon, became the last Blockbuster in the world. Now, as you might have seen, that Blockbuster itself is open for rental, as an Airbnb .

The journey from retail giant to lone, nostalgia-based novelty motel room took a few decades to unfold but not as many as you might think, given that we're talking about the rise and fall of an entire sector, in video rental. The story is about technology, hubris and a subculture that grew up around video rental, which has stirred some justified nostalgia of late.

I came of age in that culture, as a five-year employee of Blockbuster starting in my late teens, when the company was at the height of its trajectory. Last year, I wanted to take a closer look at the story of Blockbuster , its rise and fall, and what it says about retailing in a world undergoing numerous technological shifts. As the world's last Blockbuster enters yet another leg of its journey, we thought we'd remind you how the brand got here.

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