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Only 8 Blockbuster video stores still standing after last store in Texas closes

You'll have to travel to Oregon or Alaska to find a Blockbuster nearest you

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(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – And then there were eight.

That's the number of Blockbuster video stores left in the world after the Edinburg, Texas, location just became the most recent casualty of modern-day movie viewing.

Not only was the Texas location the last of a dying breed, but it was also the closest store to Florida.

Six of the remaining eight stores aren't even in the continental U.S.

Alaska is ground zero for the one-time king of the home-video viewing industry, with two locations in Anchorage and one each in Fairbanks, North Pole, Soldotna and Wasilla.

The remaining two locations are in Oregon -- Bend and Redmond, to be exact.

Alan Payne, who owns the Blockbuster franchises in Alaska and, until recently, the one in Texas, called the latest closure bittersweet.

"If you would've come into this store on a Friday night 15 years ago, you would've seen this many people in here and they would've been running, talking movies and having fun," Payne told ValleyCentral.com, the local CBS affiliate's website. "But, the last several years, everybody knows the business has been in decline, to the point that this was the last store left in the entire state."

Technically, the store closed Jan. 21, but it reopened last Saturday for a liquidation sale. Customers walked out with stacks of DVDs to help complete their home collection.

 

Blockbuster was the giant of the home video-viewing industry in the 1990s. Yours truly even once toiled with customers' emotions as they watched me sift through the rental return drop box in the hopes that they could snag the week's hot-ticket movie before it ever got back on the display shelf.

But then came the rise of in-home delivery services (Netflix's early foray, which still exists as DVD.com) and, eventually, on-demand options from cable companies like Comcast, transforming Blockbuster into an antiquated pastime that our grandchildren will speak of much in the way my generation today speaks of the VCR or a phone tethered to a cord.

It's not all doom and gloom, though. Go to any Blockbuster store in Alaska and business is booming.

"A lot of them are still quite busy," Payne told The Washington Post last April. "If you went in there on a Friday night you'd be shocked at the number of people."

Believe it or not, there are some obscure movies that are frankly easier to find in a store than online.

Have you ever tried searching for "Vamp" on Netflix or Hulu?

So, the next time you're in Alaska or Oregon, swing by a Blockbuster and dust off those old membership cards and see if it still works. Maybe you'll be in their computer with an address that belongs to your parents in Jacksonville.