For those who long for the Blockbuster Video days, they can find a little piece of nostalgia when they visit the Fly Vintage & Vinyl store in Robbinsdale.
Sitting outside the business, located on the 3900 block of 36th Avenue North, is a blue newspaper dispenser, called "Free Blockbuster." No pages and ink inside; instead it serves as a movie sharing and lending box with DVDs you might have found at an old Blockbuster, similar to the Little Free Libraries found across the Twin Cities.
According to the "Free Blockbuster Robbinsdale" Facebook page, the box was placed in front of the Vinyl store this week. Travis Stone, who had the idea to put the lending library in place, said the box will have movies "cycled in and out to keep it fresh."
Stone told Bring Me The News he is an avid movie fan and wanted to do something to provide people an alternate option to streaming services.
"Some may not afford or want to use streaming services so this provides a way for people to stay entertained," he said.
He said he came across the website freeblockbuster.org, which is an organization that has boxes of free movies all across the United States. It's started by a volunteer and then the idea is that the community takes over in taking some movies and adding to the collection.
Stone's box in Robbinsdale is one of eight locations in the state, with three found in Minneapolis, and others in Plymouth, Shoreview, Burnsville, Apple Valley.
But Stone, born and raised in the Twin Cities area, noticed that some of the boxes in the metro are "empty and dusty," and hopes his version of a little library stays active and well kept.
The decision to place the box outside the vinyl shop "just made sense."
"I drive by Fly Vintage everyday. Their stores is vintage, my box is vintage — I went in there and asked them one day [about placing the box outside the store] and they thought it was a great idea," Stone said.
He also had a volunteer help with stencils to put on the box. According to the organization's website, the boxes are placed strategically and volunteers help "build, maintain and stock" the take-and-replace boxes. Most of the boxes are near a volunteer's home. The box Stone chose is an old Star Tribune newspaper dispenser.
Stone said engagement on social media has "gone through the roof" ever since he opened the box to the community this week.
Last year, a Free Blockbuster box appeared in Minneapolis outside Heroic Goods & Games off of Minnehaha Avenue.
Blockbuster Video, which was ubiquitous at the height of VHS and later DVD movie rentals in the '90s, has just one store remaining: in Bend, Oregon.