Tuesday, October 19, 2021

36 years of Blockbuster Video

Gone, but not forgotten.

Blockbuster Video store in Nuneaton, Warwickshire

The first Blockbuster Video store opened in Dallas, Texas, USA on this day in 1985.

At its peak in 2004 there were more than 9,000 stores around the world. 500+ of which were in the UK.

There is now just one Blockbuster Video store left open. It's in Bend, Oregon, USA.

Blockbuster in the UK

Blockbuster Video Express in Billingham, Teesside
Blockbuster Video Express in Billingham, Teesside

Blockbuster ceased operations in the UK in December 2013. At the start of that year there were 528 Blockbuster locations in the UK. The number dwindled until October when only 264 shops remained. The remaining stores closed on the 16th December.

Blockbuster Video Express in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex
The most recent former Blockbuster store we visited was in Clacton-on-Sea. It was nice to see it had a ghost sign

There are still clearly visible remnants of the brand on the high street and on retail parks. And we've been to most of them!

Blockbuster Video Express in Shanklin on the Isle of Wight
A ghost sign at the old Blockbuster Video Express store in Shanklin on the Isle of Wight

Lost brands

I've spent a lot of the last two years reminiscing about 'the good old days' before the coronavirus pandemic hit the planet. One of my areas of interest is in old retail brands - I'm a marketer by profession and two of my first jobs in the 1990's and the year 2000 were at Tandy and Toys R Us. It's been fascinating to find remnants of a number of lost, dead and defunct brands on the high street and at retail parks.

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