College Avenue Blockbuster Closing

A patron leaves the Blockbuster store at 3112 N. College Ave. in Fayetteville Jan. 19 amid signs of the store’s closing.
A patron leaves the Blockbuster store at 3112 N. College Ave. in Fayetteville Jan. 19 amid signs of the store’s closing.

— Northwest Arkansas will have one less video rental store by the end of next month.

Blockbuster, next to Hobby Lobby on College Avenue in Fayetteville, is closing by the end of February, said Jeff Bartchak, district manager.

The store is merging with the stores at 2222 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in Fayetteville and 1975 W. Sunset Ave. in Springdale.

The other Blockbuster in the two-county area is at 2811 W. Walnut St. in Rogers.

Bartchak said there are no plans to close any of the other stores.

He would not comment on whether the employees at the College Avenue store will have jobs with the company.

The closing comes as Blockbuster works to reorganize. The company filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy Sept. 23, 2010, and was recently granted an extension to Feb. 11 to present its reorganization plans to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York.

Chapter 11 is a form of bankruptcy reorganization available to individuals, corporations and partnerships that has no limits on the amount of debt. It is the usual choice for large businesses seeking to restructure debt.

Last year, company officials announced plans to close 182 stores by March 31. Blockbuster has closed about 1,000 stores in recent years in an attempt tolower costs.

Blockbuster is fi ghting for customers with competitors such as Netflix, the moviemailing and online streaming company, and Redbox, which operates movie rental vending machines.

Blockbuster is evaluating its U.S. store portfolio, and closing decisions are being made on a storeby-store basis, a company spokesperson stated in an e-mail.

Business, Pages 23 on 01/23/2011