World's last ever Blockbuster Video rental store turned into Airbnb

From 9000 stores to none.
From 9000 stores to none. Photo credit: Blockbuster

It's likely more decisions have been made inside these walls than inside the Oval Office, with years of movie night plans being decided by battles of rock, scissors, paper or negotiations such as "let's get that one next week".

But those days are over, as the last Blockbuster Video store closes, but not before offering locals the chance to celebrate the now distant era of the VHS.

The owner of the Blockbuster in Bend, Oregon has decided it's time to press stop on their video rental business, finally giving in to the world of online streaming - a plot twist they didn't see coming when they took over the store in 2004. 

But before they rewind the life of the store back to the beginning, ready to pass on to the building's new owners, they're giving the store a nostalgic '90s send-off.

Store manager Sandi Harding has listed the property on Airbnb, offering a series of movie sleepovers to locals.

It's a post-credit epilogue for one of the most dominant brands of the '90s.
It's a post-credit epilogue for one of the most dominant brands of the '90s. Photo credit: Blockbuster

For just US$4 each, you and a pal can take part in a movie marathon slumber party, with three themed nights planned so far.

Harding will greet guests when they arrive and make sure the shelves are stocked with as many films as possible, before handing over the keys and leaving guests to party.

The first Blockbuster store opened in 1985. 

Located in Dallas, Texas the shop stocked more than 8000 VHS movies and 2000 Beta tapes (What are Beta tapes? That's a whole other story).

The chain eventually reached New Zealand where it operated a small chain of video rental stores as well as acquiring the Sounds Music retail chain.

There is some debate as to whether it is in fact the Blockbuster store in Dargaville that was the last in the world to close when its credits rolled in January.

At its peak, the company had over 9000 stores and brought in US$5.9 billion in revenue (around US$8 billion when inflation adjusted to 2020), but dramatic market changes in the early 2000s saw the company's value cut by 75 percent.

Comedian Tommy Campbell posted on social media about how different lockdown would have been if it had happened in the 1990s.

"People have Netflix, Prime, Disney+, Spotify, SiriusXM, PS4, Hulu AND they're still complaining about self isolating," Campbell said.

"If this happened when I was a kid I'd be stuck watching my late charges rack-up from the one movie I managed to rent from Blockbuster."

While this experience is only available to locals, the store is also offering a 'Callgorithm' which invites anyone from around the world to call, let the staff know what kind of movies you enjoy and have "a real human will give you tailored recommendations".