Blockbuster stores used to be a common sight in city and suburban strip malls. Soon, the video rental stores will go the way of the ancient BetaMax. All done.
The Business Journal reported that Dish Network, which owns the chain, announced that it will close all of its remaining stores and end its DVD rental by mail. The Associated Press says that will close some 300 stores nationwide. About 50 U.S. stores operating under franchise agreements will remain open. One of them is in Bemidji.
Blockbuster's website lists four metro outlets, in West St. Paul, Minneapolis, Bloomington and Rosemount. The Blockbuster By Mail service will end in mid-December and the Blockbuster stores will come by early January.
Dish bought Blockbuster out of bankruptcy in 2011 for $234 million. Dish began closing stores last year. In Feburary, Blockbuster closed stores in Edina, Cloquet and Iron Mountain. In 2012, the company closed its outlets in Woodbury, Cottage Grove and Hudson.
Dish will keep the Blockbuster name and its video library and focus on delivering streaming moves to its satellite-TV customers.
The stores have been repurposed in various ways. Earlier this year, KELO in Sioux Falls, S.D. had the news that Sanford Health opened a second location for its weight loss program, Profile by Sanford, in a former Blockbuster store. The Edina Patch had the story of the going-out-of-business sale at the local outlet, which has been transformed into an upscale hamburger restaurant.