(Update: Adding video, comments from store manager)
Blockbuster and Airbnb work out fun special 3-nights 'room' reservations
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- A visit to the world's last Blockbuster in Bend can be a blast from the past -- if only for a few fleeting moments of finding and renting that new or favorite movie. But what if you could spend the night in a sleepover, watching movies to your heart's content?
The world’s last Blockbuster is going up as an Airbnb listing as a show of thanks to the Bend community for supporting the store during times of uncertainty.
The Bend store is the last remaining Blockbuster in the world. In recent years, its business model had to compete with video-streaming services like Netflix and Hulu.
This year, Blockbuster faced another foe: COVID-19.
But store Manager Sandi Harding, who has operated the Bend store since 2004, told NewsChannel 21 Tuesday the Bend community has kept the business going.
Now, it is offering people a chance to relive the ‘90s by transforming the store into an Airbnb, for a limited time: 3 nights of sleepovers, with all the video fun you can handle.
“If you close your eyes and think about the ‘90s, that’s what the room is going to look like,” Harding said.
Starting Monday, Aug. 17, people can book a one-night reservation for Sep. 18, 19, or 20. The store will be prepared following CDC, state and local COVID-19 guidelines.
Mattie Zazueta, an Airbnb representative, told NewsChannel 21 there have been other iconic listings in the past, including a Goodyear blimp and a Barbie Malibu Dream House, but he said this is the first listing for a functioning video store.
Harding will be the Airbnb host, making sure all of the shelves are stocked with people’s favorite movies.
The reservation costs $4 per night.
“It’s only a penny more than what we would normally charge for a three-night rental or a brand new release,” Harding said. “The whole point again is to give back, and to be able to experience that. It’s not meant to cost a lot of money.”
There are some rules, though. Due to COVID-19, guests should adhere to local and state guidelines.
The reservations are only open to residents of Deschutes County and only four guests per household are allowed per reservation.
The store will be cleaned and prepared in accordance with CDC guidelines and the Airbnb enhanced cleaning protocol.
Harding said security will be present on all three nights, to make sure the guests and the store are safe.
She said she hopes it will give families a chance to reconnect during a time when COVID-19 has changed so much.
“Bottom line is without Central Oregon, we could not stay,” Harding said.
Here is the full Airbnb news release:
"It’s impossible to forget the feeling, smells and sounds of a BLOCKBUSTER® store’s possibility-filled aisles.
This summer, the world’s last BLOCKBUSTER store manager Sandi Harding, who has kept the Bend, Oregon, establishment running ‘like buttah’ since 2004 and has preserved the same spirit that was once found in locations around the world, will be listing their store on Airbnb for a very special reason.
In appreciation for all that the local community has recently done to support the last-of-its-kind during these uncertain times, this end of summer sleepover will offer movie lovers in Deschutes County the chance for a 90s-themed stay to relive the bygone Friday night tradition just as we remember it.
Starting Monday, August 17 at 1 p.m. PST on Airbnb, Deschutes County residents can call dibs on (aka book) a totally rad, yet intimate slumber party at the world’s last BLOCKBUSTER store by requesting to book one of the three individual, one-night reservations that will take place on Friday-Sunday, Sept. 18, 19 and 20.
While a movie rental will cost you $3.99, for just a penny more you can book one of these stays for $4 (plus taxes and fees) for an unlimited movie marathon.
Sandi will be your Airbnb host and will stock the shelves with all the movies your heart could desire before handing over the keys. But, before dusting off those BLOCKBUSTER membership cards and jumping into the minivan for this end of summer stay, all guests who book should adhere to COVID-19 safety guidelines around wearing masks and social distancing in a public space.
Interested guests should also note host rules that are in adherence with local guidelines, including that those who request to book must be Deschutes County residents and come from the same household to minimize risk.
This private sleepover has been planned with safety in mind, and guests can rest assured knowing that the store will be cleaned and prepared in accordance with CDC guidelines and consistent with the Airbnb enhanced cleaning protocol.
After the final guests check out, BLOCKBUSTER customers can check out the living room space during store hours for a limited time. If you aren’t among the few to snag these bookings or visit—because you’re somewhere else in the world—but are in need of a fresh movie suggestion, host Sandi has you covered!
Call the store’s number at +1 (541) 385-9111 to take advantage of the store’s Callgorithm. Tell the staff what you like and don’t like, and a real human will give you tailored recommendations.
Or to score some gear to further support the store during this challenging time, visit their online shop here.
To celebrate the last BLOCKBUSTER in the world and its community, Airbnb will make a donation to the Humane Society of Central Oregon, a longtime partner of the store close to Sandi’s heart. If you find yourself aching to relive the glory days of home entertainment, you can request to book* these stays beginning on August 17 at 1 p.m. PST on airbnb.com/BLOCKBUSTER.
*The one-night experiences in the Bend BLOCKBUSTER store is not a contest.