In a corner of Dargaville, the final credits are rolling for the town's last remaining DVD and movie rental store.

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Above the Blue 2 Video store is a Blockbuster sign - a relic from days gone by. When the store closes at the end of the month, there will be only one Blockbuster video store left in the world: in the town of Bend, Oregon, USA.

Dargaville's Blue 2 Video, which houses 21,000 individual movies, as well as Blu Ray DVDs and games, will close at the end of the month.


Owner Chris Cucurullo said the business had fallen more than a year behind on rent and wasn't earning enough to keep the doors open.

After 26 years in the industry, the last six as a store owner, Cucurullo said he wasn't happy to say goodbye to the shop.

"It was my life, I loved the industry," he said.

"I've seen it from video tape, all the way through to DVD and progress to Blue Ray and then disappear, virtually."

Blue 2 Video will close at the end of January. Photo / Supplied.
Blue 2 Video will close at the end of January. Photo / Supplied.

The number of video rental stores has increasingly dwindled since the rise of pirating movies and subscription services such as Netflix and Disney Plus became synonymous with a night on the couch.

Only a few weeks ago, The Herald reported that Civic Glenfield, dubbed NZ's largest remaining DVD rental outlet, was closing.

Its closure followed that of the iconic central Auckland arthouse rental outlet, Videon, shutting up shop.

Cucurullo remembers the "hey-day" of the industry, and said that the rise of film-watchers illegally downloading films was the main problem.


Renting DVDs for as little as $1 a week cheaper than a Netflix subscription, Cucurullo said it still wasn't bringing in enough cash.

"I was just about giving them away to people to rent for a week and I still wasn't getting enough call for it."

With two weeks to go before the store closes, Cucurullo has been selling the store's immense amount of product, with DVDs going for as little as $1 each.

The store is holding a sale of all products ahead of it's closure at the end of the month. Photo / Supplied
The store is holding a sale of all products ahead of it's closure at the end of the month. Photo / Supplied

"The end of this month is the end of this era," he said.

The store was still trading under rental giant Blockbuster when owner Cucurullo bought it in 2013, but the previous owner didn't know what franchise the Dargaville rental was with.

"We now call ourselves the last Blockbuster store closing," Cucurullo said.

Cucurullo said he still has regular customers coming to the store, and that he miss the people he encounters the most.

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AP reported last year on the trials and tribulations of the last officially recognised Blockbuster store, in Bend, Oregon.

The computer system must be rebooted using floppy disks that only the general manager — a solid member of Gen X — knows how to use. The dot-matrix printer broke, so employees write out membership cards by hand. And the store's business transactions are backed up on a reel-to-reel tape that can't be replaced because Radio Shack went out of business.

Yet none of that has kept this humble franchise in an Oregon strip mall from thriving as the advent of on-demand movie streaming laid waste all around it.

"It's pure stubbornness, for one. We didn't want to give in," said general manager Sandi Harding, who has worked at the franchise for 15 years and receives a lot of the credit for keeping it alive well past its expiration date. "We did everything we could to cut costs and keep ourselves relevant."

The store was once one of five Blockbusters owned by the same couple, Ken and Debbie Tisher, in three central Oregon towns. But by last year, the Bend franchise was the last local Blockbuster standing.

A tight budget meant no money to update the surviving store. That's paying off now with a nostalgia factor that stops first-time visitors of a certain age in their tracks: the popcorn ceilings, low fluorescent lighting, wire metal video racks and the ubiquitous yellow-and-blue ticket stub logo that was a cultural touchstone for a generation.

"Most people, I think, when they think about renting videos — if they're the right age — they don't remember the movie that they went to pick, but they remember who they went with and that freedom of walking the aisles," said Zeke Kamm, a local resident who is making a documentary about the store called "The Last Blockbuster" with a friend.

"In a lot of towns, the Blockbuster was the only place that was open past nine o'clock, and a lot of them stayed open until midnight, so kids who weren't hoodlums would come here and look at movies and fall in love with movies." - with AP