The Rise and Fall of Blockbuster and How It's Surviving With Just One Store Left

At its peak in the late 1990s, Blockbuster owned over 9,000 video rental stores in the U.S., employing 84,000 people, and had 65 million registered customers. Once valued as a $3 billion company, Blockbuster earned a whopping $800 million a year in late fees alone. Fast-forward a decade and Blockbuster ceased to exist, having filed for bankruptcy with over $900 in debt. So, what happened? Simply put, rather than build up its online business and prepare for the rise of streaming, Blockbuster did exactly the opposite. They even had the opportunity to buy Netflix for $50 million but passed on the deal. As a result, Blockbuster walked away from the first major development of wide-scale moving streaming. Its failure to adapt to a changing retail environment was the beginning of its downfall. Today, the world’s last ever Blockbuster store — in Bend, Oregon — is still open, despite commercial pressures that the ongoing coronavirus crisis have brought to retail stores around the world, and is actually still thriving.