‘Little Free Blockbuster’ Debuts in Robbinsdale
Before the days of streaming, if you wanted to watch a movie, you had to physically go to a video rental store, pick up a movie and bring it home. For the most part, those days are long gone. But there’s a blue box in Robbinsdale that allows you to take a trip back in time
“Everybody who drives past this and was born before 2010 knows exactly what this is,” said Travis Stone, a Robbinsdale resident.
Stone is a movie lover with an extensive array of DVDs and Blu-Rays. He has more than 600 movies in his collection, and now, he’s sharing those movies with others through a “little free Blockbuster.”
“I have a lot of interest in movies and I collect a lot of movies,” Stone said. “So when I end up with duplicate copies, from upgrading or buying box sets, I used to give them to thrift stores and stuff and that just wasn’t very rewarding.”
He found a way to remedy that situation.
Through an internet search, he discovered the website, FreeBlockbuster.org and learned about a movement to provide free entertainment to as many people as possible.
So he bought an old newsrack online for $20, painted it blue and yellow (Blockbuster Video’s colors), and got the okay from Robbinsdale’s Fly Vintage &Vinyl near 36th and France to place the box out front on July 11.
“Blockbuster is vintage, this is vintage,” Stone said, referring to the store. “I thought it would be kind of a fitting tie-in.”
A sense of nostalgia
Once upon a time, Blockbuster was the top movie rental business in the United States with thousands of locations. Then competitors emerged, the company went bankrupt, nearly all of the stores closed, and people turned to streaming services.
“If you limit yourself to streaming, you’re missing tons, tons and tons of movies,” Stone said.
The Blockbuster box is a way for people to watch some of those movies you won’t find on Netflix, provided they still have a way to play them.
“It’s rewarding,” Stone said. “Hopefully nobody steals them all. I’m anticipating that will happen a couple of times. But you know, you can’t live your life to the lowest common denominator. I’ll just restock it, and I’ve got lots of movies.”