Last Blockbuster store in Billings closing

2009-09-14T11:10:00Z Last Blockbuster store in Billings closingBy JAN FALSTAD Of The Gazette Staff The Billings Gazette
September 14, 2009 11:10 am  • 

Seven months after the Blockbuster Video store went out of business in Billings Heights, the last Blockbuster in Billings, at 1212 Grand Ave., is closing this week.

Bravo Entertainment in Kansas City, Mo., owns the franchises for both stores. Communications director Brad Scott blamed the closure on the tough economic times and increased competition in the video rental market.

"Netflix hits us hard and Red Box. There is one in almost every store. They've really come on strong," Scott said.

Red Box is a national business with more than 15,000 vending machines dispensing mostly new release movies for $1 a day. Locally, Red Box vending machines can be found at Albertsons grocery stores.

Bravo Entertainment regional manager Nicole Dinman is in Billings for the store's final sale. She could not be immediately reached by phone.

The Grand Avenue store was closed Monday morning, but will reopen Tuesday at noon and sell off all its inventory, from DVDs to Wii games, for $5 each, according to Scott. The going-out-of-business sale will run Tuesday through Thursday from noon to 7 p.m.

When the Heights store closed in February, the Blockbuster chain had 4,600 stores and Bravo Entertainment ran 49 stores in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and New Mexico. Now Bravo runs just two stores in Idaho and one in Kalispell, according to Scott.

No information on the number of Billings employees affected was immediately available. Some of the employees at Grand Avenue store had transferred there from the Heights Blockbuster store, so this will be their second job shakeup since February.

Billings is an isolated situation, Scott said, and Bravo has no plans to close the other three stores.

Contact Jan Falstad at jfalstad@billingsgazette.com or 657-1306.

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