Blockbuster Video Locations in the US from 1986 to 2019
Between 1985 and 2010, Blockbuster Video opened thousands of stores across the US. This map shows the locations of US Blockbuster Video stores over time.
Blockbuster opened their first store in Dallas in October of 1985. They weren’t the first video rental company, but they did have the largest selection of movie titles, over 6,500, which was more than any of their competitors at the time. Their first store was a huge success and throughout 1986, they opened three more stores in Texas.
While Blockbuster’s store concept worked really well, it wasn’t unique enough to be patentable. They knew that other companies would likely start copying their business model. To overcome this, their strategy was to grab as much market share as quickly as possible to stay ahead of any potential competitors. Throughout 1989, they purchased another four established rental chains and by 1990, they had opened over 1000 stores.
Through 2005, Blockbuster began closing their most unprofitable stores while they struggled to return to profitability. By this point, in addition to Netflix, they were also facing competition from Redbox which pretty much offered the same product as Blockbuster, just as a vending machine instead of an entire store.
In 2010, they continued downsizing and closing stores and by the end of the year, they filed for bankruptcy. Blockbuster was eventually acquired by the television provider Dish Network. Dish initially had plans to keep around 1,500 stores open and launch their own streaming service to rival Netflix, but these plans never ended up happening.
The last surviving store is located in Bend Oregon, it’s not only the last store in the US, it’s the last one left in the entire world. They’re a small owner operated store which is supported by loyal local customers as well as tourists stopping by to experience the nostalgia of visiting a Blockbuster store.
In the end, Blockbuster’s competitors simply had a better product and Blockbuster was just too slow to innovate.