Blockbuster Video has been dying a slow, painful death since it first filed for bankruptcy in 2010, the lights going out at locations across America one by one like bulbs burning out in a marquee. Until recently, though, Blockbuster was still a viable business in Alaska, where slow internet speeds—the slowest in the U.S. by far—make the use of streaming services frustrating to impossible. (Stringing miles and miles of cable across the frozen wilderness is a difficult undertaking, turns out.)
But the streaming revolution cannot be stopped, and next week the last two remaining Blockbuster stores in Alaska will close, leaving a Blockbuster location in Bend, Oregon as the lone survivor in a chain that once had more than 9,000 locations across America. (Those would be the Anchorage and Fairbanks stores; Wasilla, North Pole, and Soldotna closed earlier this year.) Owner Alan Payne says that the stores are still profitable at the moment, but sales have been declining quickly, and so he decided that renewing their leases for another year didn’t make financial sense.
The last Alaska Blockbusters—which, incidentally, would make a good title for a movie about this whole affair—will close for business on Monday, July 16, and reopen the following day to liquidate its remaining inventory. The fate of Russell Crowe’s leather jockstrap, which John Oliver donated to the Anchorage location in April, is currently unknown; store manager Kevin Daymunde says, “the memorabilia is probably going to go back to the owner, which is fine, because I don’t want a jockstrap in my house.”