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Blockbuster to close its doors

THE BLOCKBUSTER at 500 Fifth St. W. will be closing by Oct. 31. /Bill Hoban/Index-Tribune

THE BLOCKBUSTER at 500 Fifth St. W. will be closing by Oct. 31. /Bill Hoban/Index-Tribune

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Blockbuster rented movies out to customers for the last time on Sunday.

The Sonoma store was informed Wednesday, Sept. 4, by Blockbuster that it would begin the process of closing this week, store manager Janey Eslick said.

Earlier this year, Blockbuster’s parent company Dish Network announced it would close hundreds of stores across the U.S. due to a changing marketplace. The Blockbuster, located at 500 Fifth St. W., is the last movie rental store in Sonoma.

Eslick, who has been at the store since it opened in October 1999, said she and employees are sad to be going, but video rental stores are not what they used to be. “The rental industry is not really profitable anymore, it’s a thing of the past,” Eslick said.

With final rentals out, Eslick and employees will prepare for a storewide liquidation sale that is slated to begin on Wednesday, Sept. 11, and last through Oct. 31.

Everything will be for sale, Eslick said. The movies, the games, the counters – even the gumball machine.

But for Eslick, now it’s about helping her employees and peers find new jobs. “We have great employees who are locals and really big on customer service,” Eslick said. “They’d be a good fit anywhere and I’m just hoping we can find a home for them.”