La Grande Blockbuster closing

By Bill Rautenstrauch, The Observer June 16, 2010 12:28 pm
BILL RAUTENSTRAUCH/The Observer The Blockbuster store in business at Fourth Street and Adams Avenue since 1999 is closing for good this week. Shazam Entertainment, the franchise owner, said competition from many other in-home entertainment services contributed to the decision to shut the doors. Staff is clearing out merchandise in a sale that began Tuesday and continues through Thursday.
BILL RAUTENSTRAUCH/The Observer The Blockbuster store in business at Fourth Street and Adams Avenue since 1999 is closing for good this week. Shazam Entertainment, the franchise owner, said competition from many other in-home entertainment services contributed to the decision to shut the doors. Staff is clearing out merchandise in a sale that began Tuesday and continues through Thursday.
Blockbuster Video has called it quits for good in La Grande, closing its store at Fourth Street and Adams Avenue.

Blockbuster, a downtown fixture since November, 1999, shut the doors Monday as workers prepared a final sale of DVDs, electronic games and other merchandise.

Jim Porterfield, a manager for franchise owner Shazam Entertainment, said the store is closing because of problems competing with new-fangled modes of acquiring in-home entertainment.

“It’s no longer economically feasible to keep it open,” Porterfield said. “People are going to the Internet and Redboxes and subscriptions. They just have a lot more options when it comes to getting their entertainment these days.”

Blockbuster stores have been struggling nationwide, with hundreds closing in the last several years.

Until a couple of years ago, the chain included two outlets in La Grande. The Blockbuster at the La Grande Town Center closed in August 2008, idling nine workers.

Local Blockbuster employees tried to get Blockbuster to reverse the decision to close, providing customers with a toll-free number to call to register objections. Blockbuster remained adamant, however.

After the Town Center outlet closed, Beall’s clothing store moved into the space formerly occupied by Blockbuster and Schuck’s Auto Parts.

Nicole Dinsman, a regional manager for Shazam Entertainment, said Monday that the downtown La Grande store employed seven workers. Most were part-time employees, though there was a full-time manager.

“We had to close it down. It’s unfortunate,” she said.

On the bright side, movie and electronic game enthusiasts can buy favorites at bargain prices this week. DVDs, Blue Ray discs, and games made for Wi and Playstation are going for $5.

The sale started Tuesday and was to continue through Thursday. Hours are noon to 7 p.m.