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News broke on e-mail lists over the weekend that the Blockbuster on Columbia Road NW is shuttering—-hardly a surprise, since the former behemoth announced last fall its plan to close as many as 960 stores nationwide by the end of this year, reported the AP.
It means that there’s just one Blockbuster left in the District, at 410 8th Street SE, as DCist reported today. Beyond that, there are seven more video-rental stores in the District—-for a total of eight, by our count, which isn’t quite as dire as the figure of four that TBD came up with today. Beyond the Blockbuster, they are: two locations of Potomac Video; Lamont Video in Mount Pleasant; two Capital Video Sales on Connecticut Avenue NW and off 8th Street in Southeast; Royce’s Video (specializing in adult, family and oldies) off Georgia Avenue in Northwest; and Woodner Video in Columbia Heights.
Blockbuster seems to be scaling its effort down to kiosks—-why pay $5.30 for a video when a beer costs the same? Blockbuster currently has 23 kiosk locations within a 10-mile radius of the City Paper, with $1 daily rentals. Redbox, meanwhile already has over 50 locations in the District in various grocery stores, 7-Elevens and McDonald’s.
The main problem with those wonderful boxes? They mostly offer recently released films. As for Netflix and Amazon, they’ve got just about anything you want, if you don’t mind waiting (or streaming). But there’s something sweet about being able to run to the store and browse films from the archaic to the new to the dreadfully awful. So the closing of any video store is a shame, even a Blockbuster. Or even worse, the shuttering of a place like Alexandria’s Video Vault, which housed 60,000 titles and specialized in cult films. It closed this spring.
Photo by Jonathan L. Fischer.