Located in Bend, Ore., the video emporium-turned-temporary Airbnb invites folks to the ultimate slumber party.
3 min read
This story originally appeared on PCMag
Make it a Blockbuster night — literally. The world’s last remaining Blockbuster Video store is opening its doors next month to a handful of lucky movie lovers for the ultimate sleepover.
Located in Bend, Ore., the rental emporium-turned-temporary Airbnb invites groups of up to four guests to grab some snacks, pop a movie into the VCR, and cozy up on the sofa bed for a one-night-only experience.
More than just a creative fundraiser, this summer’s sleepover is a love letter to “all that the local community has recently done to support the last-of-its-kind during these uncertain times” — including hosting a pop-up drive-in viewing of The Last Blockbuster documentary. The event, according to Airbnb, “will offer movie lovers in Deschutes County the chance for a ’90s-themed stay to relive the bygone Friday-night tradition just as we remember it.” And at ’90s-themed prices: A one-night stay — with unlimited movie marathon — costs only $4 (plus taxes and fees).
Starting Monday, Aug. 17 at 4 p.m. ET, local residents can call dibs on a rad (yet socially distanced) slumber party on Sept. 18, 19, or 20. All guests should adhere to COVID-19 safety guidelines, meaning each group must come from the same household. “When you call dibs on this stay, you’re booking a night back in the ’90s, but this time you won’t have to beg your parents to rent the latest horror flick — we’ll give you the keys to the entire store,” the Airbnb listing said.
Image credit: Blockbuster/Airbnb
While only a dozen people will have bragging rights, all customers are welcome to check out the living room space during store hours (after the final guests check out) for a limited time. And, any time you’re looking for a fresh movie suggestion, simply phone the Bend store at +1 541-385-9111, tell the staff what you like and don’t like, and an actual human will provide tailored recommendations.
With the advent of streaming services, brick-and-mortar Blockbusters became a relic: The company filed for bankruptcy protection in 2020, before its remaining 1,700 stores (down from 9,094 in 2004) were bought by satellite TV provider Dish Network. And while the Blockbuster brand is mostly retired, Dish maintained a small number of franchise agreements, allowing some locations to stay open.
As of this year, just one store remains off Third Street in Bend, Ore. “I wondered which one of us was going to hold out the longest,” Harding said in a 2019 interview, following the closure of shops in Western Australia and Alaska.
A newfound novelty for physical businesses has seemingly re-energized people to leave the couch and rent movies again. “We probably open up 10 accounts a day,” according to Harding, who has run the Bend location since 2004. “It’s crazy the amount of people that come in and want a Blockbuster card. I don’t foresee the store closing. I think we are good for a while.”
In celebration of the last Blockbuster and its community, Airbnb this week announced it will make a donation to the Humane Society of Central Oregon, a longtime partner of the store.