The world’s last physical Blockbuster store — a lone Oregon-based holdout from the days when the video chain was king — is now available to rent on Airbnb.
Airbnb’s Twitter account made the announcement on Tuesday, and the Blockbuster account — dormant since 2014 — briefly rose from the dead to tell the world that this “90s themed sleepover” was no joke.
The Bend, Oregon, store is the only physical Blockbuster location remaining in the world, and only residents of Deschutes County, where Bend is located, are eligible to book the Airbnb listing beginning on Aug. 17.
For $4 an evening, the listing notes, up to four people can enjoy a “socially-distanced movie night, just like those of decades past,” on either Sept. 18, 19, or 20.
The Airbnb listing comes complete with all the accouterments of the era of COVID-19 — face masks, disinfectant and copious amounts of hand sanitizer — as well as all of the nostalgia of Blockbuster stores in the ’90s, including snacks like NERDS and Raisinets.
Bend’s Blockbuster, in service since 2004, pays an annual fee to continue using its name, which is owned by Dish Network. It is staffed by only 12 employees, including general manager Sandi Harding, who is in charge of buying all of the movies on sale.
Frequented by a dedicated legion of local fans and tourists who appreciate the store’s nostalgia value, Bend’s Blockbuster was previously offering curbside delivery due to COVID-19 restrictions. Harding, occasionally known as the “Blockbuster Mom,” told Oregon Live that the Airbnb event came about as a means of thanking supporters who chose to flock to the store instead of depending solely on Netflix and other streaming services.
“Without the renters coming in every week, we can’t survive,” Harding said, adding that due to the coronavirus, “people want to feel good, and for some, Blockbuster makes them feel better.”
At its height in 2004 — the same year that the Bend location opened — Blockbuster owned approximately 9,000 stores worldwide and employed 60,000 people. In March 2019, the last Blockbuster in Australia closed, making the Bend location the final brick-and-mortar repository of all those ’90s Blockbuster memories.
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