Blockbuster closing last area stores

Stores beginning to liquidate inventory

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March 28, 2014 | 11:37 am

Blockbuster is closing most of its Iowa stores.

The stores at 3140 16th Ave. SW in Cedar Rapids, 1705 Boyrum St. in Iowa City, 2930 W. Locust St. in Davenport and 2609 Second Ave. in Muscatine began liquidating inventory Monday. They are scheduled to close in April.

Kathleen Ory, a marketing specialist at Blockbuster, said the location at 502 N. Ankeny Rd. in Ankeny will remain open.

Englewood, Colo.-based Dish Network, Blockbuster’s corporate parent, said in late January that it planned to close about 300 stores and lay off about 3,000 employees nationwide. Dish spokesman John Hall said the stores scheduled for closing this year were either underperforming or nearing the end of their leases.

Blockbuster, which has seen video rentals and sales decline with the emergence of Redbox DVD rental kiosks and Netflix mail order rental and video streaming, closed its northeast Cedar Rapids store at 130 Collins Road NE in 2011.

Blockbuster opened the 7,500-square-foot Collins Road NE store in spring 1994. The chain debuted the 7,500-square-foot west side store in late summer 1994.

Blockbuster Music, a sister business sold off in 1998 to Torrance, Calif.-based Wherehouse Entertainment, operated a store from 1994 to 1999 in the Northland Square Shopping Center on Collins Road NE. The store closed after Wherehouse Entertainment could not reach agreement on a new lease with Sansone Group of St. Louis, which owned the shopping center at that time.

Dish Network acquired Blockbuster back in a 2011 bankruptcy sale. At that time, the chain operated around 1,700 stores.

Dish Network had planned to leverage Blockbuster’s brand name to push its streaming service to compete with Netflix and Redbox. Dish Network last year shuttered about 500 locations.

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