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Blockbuster Store Closes on Lee Highway

by ARLnow.com | January 28, 2011 at 1:04 pm | 1,797 views | 95 Comments

The Blockbuster video store at 5400 Lee Highway has closed up shop.

We’re not sure when it closed — no one is answering the phone, unsurprisingly — but the store’s signs have already been taken down. A number of people could be seen inside the store today, apparently cleaning out the remaining video inventory.

The store was one of Blockbuster’s larger locations, and was noted for having a sizable video selection.

Blockbuster Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September. It expects to close many of its 3,000 stores and focus more heavily on its rental-by-mail and digital businesses, the Wall Street Journal reported.

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  • From the Hill

    Panera! Panera! Panera!

    • Dude Where’s My Car

      Isn’t that what the Japanese yelled as they would gentrify American territory?

  • Anon

    They closed last week, a Petco is supposedly going in there.

    • JoeSchmoe

      Petco? WTF. There’s Dominion Pet Center and Dogma right across the street in the Lee Harrison center, which are perfectly good. Why do we need a chain pet store there? I won’t shop there, that’s for sure.

      • Local

        Not everyone who has a pet has a cat or dog!

  • bred

    Petco would be nice, but I would think that CVS, whose right next door, would want the space.

    • Anon

      went in a few weeks before it was to be closed, manager said Petco (seemed kinda peeved at the goings on). Space doesnt look big enough to me.

      • Lou

        They have smaller footprint store models. I bet this space is bigger than the Petco that just opened in the new Georgetown Safeway.

      • Clarendoggy

        The Petco that was in Clarendon was probably smaller.

      • directorsdaughtr

        I was there as well once a few weeks ago when the manager was telling someone near me about the closure. She too stated it would become a Petco, and that they were forced to not re-sign their lease. Apparently the landlords wanted Blockbuster out, according to what the manager was saying. And yes, she was not happy discussing this to anyone. Apparently the rug was pulled out from under her as well.

    • ByeByeBlockbuster

      Ditto, how about a whole new CVS, Rite Aid, or Walgreens. There’s a major lack of “drug stores” on the Lee Hwy corridor that specialize in candy and little plastic toy shit.

  • Andrew

    You mean you had to go to a STORE to get videos, Grampa? Wow!

    • Courthouse Resident

      And if you didn’t adhered to the “Be Kind Rewind” rule of thumb you got charged $2

      • FrenchyB

        Fortunately, I bought me one of them new-fangled DVD rewinding machines.

        • grandpa

          What? Speak up, sonny, I don’t have my earhorn with me!

      • Andrew

        That’s right! I remember they used to sell tape-rewinding machines to keep your VCR — which you could barely program anyway — from wearing out.

  • mehoo

    Looks like that block is finally busted.

    • Bury the Damn Power Lines

      4

      • mehoo

        Why do you reply to every single blog post? Instead of assuming you are unemployed or just wasting your boss’s time, I just want to ask. You comment on just about every posts, numerous times. What is up with that?

        • Bury the Damn Power Lines

          It’s my lunch hour. What is your excuse?

        • Mehoo2

          This coming from Mehoo, who cannot let a story uncommented on? afraid of the competition?

          • mehoo

            If you are Bury the Damn Power Lines, you should know that this is your own words, verbatim, quoted for ironic effect, which you still don’t seem to get.

            If you aren’t BtDPL, now you know.

            Either way, it’s funny.

  • Rover

    Expect the book stores to go under next, Kindle users.

  • http://arlingtondirt.blogspot.com/ TGEoA

    I can’t believe that store lasted as long as it did. We went in to rent the Hurt Locker last year and it took them 35 minutes to process the order.

    • KArlington

      Concur – I’ve rarely experienced such slow and surly service for a truly non-taxing transaction. It was typical for there to be a line 15 deep with one register open and 3 people standing around.

    • NomNom

      It is better than three days in the mail.

    • Pigpen

      And that’s pretty much how the old Petco in Clarendon was – they should just keep the old Blockbuster staff and it’ll be just like old days.

  • charlie

    bring back three chefs.
    or safeway, dart drug, fantles, trak auto.

    • Bluemonter

      There is a two chefs on Wilson Blvd.

      • mehoo

        Not enough chefs! Must have a minimum of three!

        • Bury the Damn Power Lines

          5

    • Rick

      theres a safeway across the street from it…

    • charlie

      you newcomers don’t appreciate history.

      • Lou

        You left out Drug Fair and A&P

        • charlie

          yes, but those are across the street.
          How about El Sombrero?? ha.
          or the slot car race track…
          or… Buckaroo Steak House, one of my favorites.

    • TGEoA

      Giffords

  • S

    OK, I have a bit more info on this one. I believe they stopped renting movies on Jan. 16th and were accepting movie returns through Jan. 22nd when they finally closed up for good.

    I was told by one of the employees before closing that they had a issue with the landlord not wanting to renew their lease. They told me that even with the Blockbuster bankruptcy that that was not the issue. In fact, that this location was the busiest and most profitable in Arlington. Blockbuster corporate had not had this one on the list to close, but the landlord must have been a bit spooked by the bankruptcy and decided to lease it to Petco. Apparently Petco outbid Blockbuster to retain the lease and the landlord gave Blockbuster very little notice of needing to vacate. She said Petco had been after this location for a couple of years.

    She said that they would likely look for another location, but she had no idea when or how long it would be to find that location. Of course, there is always the chance that they will never reopen in that area.

    As a resident of this neighborhood, I find it very disturbing. Like we need a Petco in our village center! There is already a big Pet Smart in Seven Corners. I was already quite annoyed (and I am not the only one in my neighborhood who feels this way) that the Sleepy’s took over the old Hollywood Video building. Like we need a huge mattress store in our little shopping center which should be geared toward stores and services that serve a daily need…grocery, drug store, cleaners, restaurants…that is what should be there! Let the big specialty stores go to a big shopping area!

    What I am afraid is that Petco has the aim to take over the whole building and build a big store which would displace the CVS (and Auto Zone). They better not run off my CVS! I will never patronize that Petco just like I will never patronize the Sleepy’s!

    • Bluemont John

      Look on the bright side: At least it’s not a bar or a 7-11. Or a restaurant with a bar that’ll stay open till 2AM. I honestly don’t think a Petco will be that annoying to nearby residents. I think it’ll mostly be your neighbors shopping there, mainly because of the Petsmart you mentioned at Seven Corners.

      • S

        My issue is not with the possible noise that Petco would bring (I doubt it will be any noise). It is with the type of store it is. I would use the Blockbuster, but not a Petco. I am not currently a pet owner, but I used to have a cat, but I didn’t even shop at Pet Smart then either. I bought my cat food from my vet in Falls Church.

        I actually would welcome a restaurant in that location. And I doubt 2 AM would be a problem. The Taqueria El Poblano and Pietanza across the street both serve alcohol and they don’t stay open to 2 AM. I believe they close by 10 PM.

        • Lou

          Back in the day there were some nice, large restaurants in that block. A Mexican joint where Hollywood was, a big steakhouse in the shopping center across Harrison. Both names escape me right now.

          • LPS4DL

            McHenry’s Sombrero at the Sleepy’s location and The Rustler SteakHouse at Lee Harrison featuring the Jim Bowie Steak Dinner.

          • Lou

            Ah, Rustler was it, right next to Drug Fair. Cafeteria style steakhouse. We need something like that in Arlington.

        • Burger

          Wait a second. You live nearby but never went to Blockbuster but would have gone. Seriously, chain type video stores are this generations Wolworths. Even Netflix is going, in the near future, to streaming only and not doing mail delivery.

          • S

            Ummm, I didn’t say I never went to Blockbuster. In fact, I went all of the time. I was saying that that is the type of store I would use, not a Petco.

        • TGEoA

          If you want to decide what type of business goes in there, then shut up and buy the place.

          • S

            Some of us have other careers and are not interested in owning a store front or restaurant. Doesn’t mean we can’t voice our opinions about what stores we would like to see in our neighborhood.

    • JimPB

      S — you say you want grocery stores, drug stores, cleaners, restaurants — they are already represented to well represented in shopping centers at the intersection of Harrison and Lee (see below). The market will rule as to what is economically viable.

      grocery — 2 already in shopping centers at intersection of Harrison and Lee
      drug store — 1 already; two pharmacies plus other drug store items in grocery stores in shopping centers at intersection of Harrison and Lee
      cleaners — 1 already
      restaurants — a number in immediate area

      • S

        Well, I am not going to debate with you about the grocery store situation, it is a bit of a waste to have two big grocery stores across the street from one another. But my point was that those are the type of services I like to have near by, ones that people use on a daily basis. I am sure there are lots of people that will use the Petco. I have more of an issue with the Sleepy’s. That is the type of store people would shop at once every 10 or 15 years when they need to replace a mattress.

    • TGEoA

      I’m psyched they are going to open a Petco. The petshop in Harrison center is overpriced, and now I don’t have to haul to 7 Corners to get the cat his dinner.

      • Frank

        I’m sure they wouldn’t still be in business for almost 20 years in the same location if they were overpriced for their products. And you can’t say it’s because the area is so wealthy – it wasn’t until the last 10 years or so – you don’t succeed if your items are overpriced compared to the competition. And they have some competition quite close by…

    • Mehoo2

      Hey, if you want the Clarendon experience, then move to Clarendon!

      • Dan

        +1

    • Arlington

      Amen! I feel like everyone in the neighborhood feels the same way.

  • MaydayMalone

    I think the next casualty will be Dominion Pet Center across the street in Lee/Harrison if Petco moves in.

    • Deb

      I buy non-animal digest containing high-quality pet food at Dominion. This food is not sold at either Pet Smart or PetCo. If you want POISON…go to the major chains…or any retail food store…if you want to feed your pets high quality food…go to Dominion … just do your homework…animal digest is used as a “protein” source in many commericial grade foods… including Purina One, etc. PetCo or PetSmart may go into this retail space…but SO WHAT? Just because they build does not mean that the smart Arlington shopper will shop there. DUH! I had a wonderful German Shephard who suffered because of my ignorance on this topic. No other pet-friend I have will suffer because of my past-ignorance on this issue. Animal digest is the rendering of proteins from “dead, dying, diseased, or disabled” animals that is added to commericial pet foods (remember the Chinese and their issue with melamine as a protein source in OUR PET FOOD AND THEIR HUMAN INFANT FORMULA….from wikipedia :cooked-down broth made from specified or unspecified parts of animals (depending on the type of digest used). If the source is unspecified (e.g. “Animal” or “Poultry”, the animals used can be obtained from any source, so there is no control over quality or contamination. Any kind of animal can be included: “4-D animals” (dead, diseased, disabled, or dying prior to slaughter), goats, pigs, horses, rats, misc. roadkill, animals euthanized at shelters, restaurant and supermarket refuse and so on[citation needed].

      FDA: Digests, which are materials treated with heat, enzymes and/or acids to form concentrated natural flavors. Only a small amount of a “chicken digest” is needed to produce a “Chicken Flavored Cat Food,” even though no actual chicken is added to the food. –

      OK…all of you “animal” lovers go to PETCO…I will be at Dominion…just because it is cheap…doesn’t mean it ISN’T….Geez…

      • Dude Where’s My Car

        I was hoping you were making up the bit about Animal digest, but alas, no. The more I looked into it, the more it looked like Soylent Puppy Chow was made from real puppies. And yeah, most pet food looked pretty disgusting — like it’s mostly GMO corn (because that’s what most food is made from today, RIGHT, MONSANTO?) with liquified “animal digest” proteins sprayed onto the corn to make it sort of taste and smell like meat. Bleah. Anyway, I found a good web page at The Dog Food Project (http://www.dogfoodproject.com/index.php?page=betterproducts) that tells you what to avoid, including animal digest. Thanks for cluing me in!

      • http://arlingtondirt.blogspot.com/ TGEoA

        Petco carries Hills Science, which is what my vet suggested. About 20% cheaper at Petco than Dominion

      • Mehoo2

        Deb, you are one of those annoying people I don’t miss having in my life.

  • Dog Lover

    There will be three small businesses who will likely lose signficant sales due to Petco going in. Wild Birds, Dogma Bakery and Dominion Pet Center all right across the street. Since the County Board says they are pro small business…how about thinking about our neighbors who have worked hard for 10 or more years – I think Dominion has been around for about 18 and is family-owned…

    If they allow a Petco in to the site, it’s likely all three will be gone within a short time. They will not be able to compete with the prices. It will be very sad to see them all go. Let’s hope they will be able to find a way to keep their customers from going to Petco for cheaper prices.

    • ByeByeBlockbuster

      Petco coming in, next to an Auto Zone, across from a large mattress store? Starting to look like the dump of Baileys Crossroads around here.

    • cj

      “If they allow” a particular store? Since when does the county get to decide which retail enterprises — except those needing special licenses — go where?

      • Frank

        Uh, every day for a variety of reasons. Type of retail establishment, what services they plan to offer (some Petco’s offer grooming, boarding, etc.) number of parking spaces per square foot for that particular business…all part of the zoning for what business can go where. All retail is not considered the same.

        • charlie

          that site is a retail use for ever. any retail use is okay unless it requires a special permit — drive thru, entertainment or auto repair. Almost anything can go in the existing building.

          I personally would like to regulate who buys the house next to me.

          • Frank

            Not accurate; but that’s ok.

          • charlie

            how so?

  • Rick

    As for Dogma, Dominion, Wild Birds.. It will hit them but I would imagine them all being able to stay in business. All of those businesses have high end goods. No one (I know at least) goes to Petco or Petsmart for quality. Having owned fish, I know that super petz in annandale is far superior to chain petstores, I would imagine wild birds is the same way. Dogma as well.

    • mehoo

      Yeah, anyone who would patronize a bakery for dogs isn’t worried about price.

  • Dog Lover

    Let’s just hope for their sake you might be right. Petco’s strategy in 2009 -2010 was to lease smaller footprint stores and they began carrying holistic and organic foods and treats. Those are the items Dominion and Dogma carry and why a lot of us patronize those stores.

    We’ll keep going, but there will be quite a few who might be lured over because parking is always such a crap shoot at Lee-Harrison because of the lower level kids activity centers and the restaurants and HT. Lots of long-term parkers so it’s difficult to run in for a short trip for errands or just to browse for fun.

    I just hope for their sakes you all are right, they are all nice people and have worked hard to make their businesses succeed and this could really impact their bottom line – and I’ve talked to all of them over time – and they aren’t getting rich by any means.

    • Bluemont John

      Is parking really that bad at Lee-Har? The underground garage beneath Hairy Titty is great. I would bet that you could park there for the other stores and not get caught.

      • Dog Lover

        Parking is really that bad.

        Unless you’re there in the middle of the day during the week, forget about even the underground garage. That’s why you’ll see every SUV or minivan ever made going around, and around, and around…..and around…go visit on a weekend. You’ll want to kick yourself for getting stuck in the quagmire.

        • Westover

          I can always find a spot at one end or the other, as long as I don’t want one right up front.

          • Rick

            I stopped going there during weekdays.. not worth the frustration to get in and out of that place

          • Clarendude

            That is my experience as well (finding spots at the edges pretty readily). However, when I make the mistake of cruising first along the first row near the stores, I always get stuck behind people that are waiting for someone to pull out.

        • Bluemont John

          I must just be lucky, because I’ve gone there right after work and on the weekends, and I always get a spot somewhere. I usually don’t go mid-day on weekends, though.

  • DL

    Whaaaa! Petco in the ‘hood! I sure would’ve loved to have a Trader Joes open up over there.

  • ByeByeBlockbuster

    Goodbye Blockbuster, and Good riddens! Does anyone actually rent from them anymore? Waste of store space, waste of parking, terrible color schemes, computer/register equipment system outdated by nearly 15 years. And who the hell wants to pay $5 for a movie? Oh, but you can keep it for 5 nights, and watch it over and over and over and over again. Lame! I’ll just go green and keep streaming movies from Netflix, or walk down to the redbox.

    • Pigpen

      How is that being “green”? You realize that tons of toxic materials still have to be generated to manufacture the servers and huge IT infrastructure it takes for a company like Netflix to stream movies to you right? And same goes for all the electronics that people have to purchase that can consume that service, most which will be used for a few years and thrown out, and then the electricity that has to be generated to power the whole thing. Ever think about the oceans of plastic and trash that are generated just to create the sets for a single film, most of which will never be used again? I’m not saying you shouldn’t use Netflix or watch movies – I love them myself – I just think it’s ridiculous for anyone to walk around thinking they’re saving the planet by doing so – if being green is the goal then turn off the TV and do a crossword.

  • novaqt

    The shopping center across the street is nice now. I have live here for many years and there use to be a really nice very popular restarant where Sleepy’s is called the El Sombrero. Lot’s of military from the Pentagon went to Happy Hour there. We don’t need a Petco there which will take business away from the smaller pet stores in the Lee Harrison shopping center. Perhaps the owner of Lee Harrison can buy out that small shopping center and make it an adjunct to Lee Harrison and attract more quality businesses like Lee Harrison. The Garden City Shopping Center also needs a makeover. The shops there need to be more Village type stores instead of the cheap junk that is there now. Yorktown Bistro could not make it and walked out. The citizens associations had better start holding meetings and hearings to decide what we want there.

    • Bluemont John

      Garden City. Ugh. Good luck with that albatross–that island of urban decay sandwiched amid upscale suburbia. Truly an eyesore. We used to eat at Thai Thai all the time (till the panang got watery). The problem with doing anything with that strip center is that each unit is individually owned. And there’s not enough room for parking. In 100 years, it’ll probably look just like it does now.

      What the area really needs is another Starbucks–because the Lee-Har one is absolutely packed on weekends.

      • Rick

        From what I heard all those slots are condos, owned by several sets of people. That is the biggest eyesore in Arlington County by far. Granted, the scenery across the street isn’t that much better but I always thought townhouses would look nice there, maybe recessed from the street so we can get a fifth lane on lee for turns

        • Suburban Not Urban

          Never happen – county only removes lanes – not adds them. Regardless of thw wonts or needs of the avg joe.

          • Rick

            To their credit, they did turn 4 lanes into 5 at lee@harrison and lee@george mason… would be nice to not have to stop behind wendys traffic every time I drive on lee

  • Savvy Guy

    Darn, I was hoping for something more in line with adult needs. We should push for MVC!

  • Burger

    Who cares If a Petco is going in there? It is a pretty crappy location and with no large chain store to support it I can’t see a huge demand change to impact the pet stores in Harrison. If the Petco does, thawt is just the nature of retail. If you aren’t growing you a dying in retail because some is eventually going to come along and beat you at your mown game. See A&P and Woolworths that were replaced by Sears and JC Penny that were replaced by wal-mart and Target. This isn’t any different.

    I mean this thread reads as if the buggy whip business was still profitable. It is progress.

    The only thing bad about the Sleepys is that no one is ever in there but mattress stores seem to hang on like a dead fly clinging to a flyswatter and that means nothing will go in there for a long time.

    • Frank

      It’s across the street and has the buying power to wipe out the three small businesses there. The people who own those businesses are your neighbors, might be your friends, and leave a lasting impact on the community they serve. Large chains come and go and just aren’t all that interested in making a positive impact in the community. Let’s hope any new Petco is cleaner than the former Clarendon Petco that closed, has better quality products than the former Claredon Petco and all around does a better job.

      Let’s hope the three small businesses impacted across the street can find a way to keep their customers, pay their rent and be successful. Again, they are our neighbors and have worked hard to be an asset to our community – that should count for something.

  • Rick

    Mattress margin is absurd. They probably don’t have to sell a lot to stay in business. I heard a lot of chipotle requests when Hollywood closed but I doubt that parking lot could handle a chipotle

  • Nomo Blockbuster

    One down, 3,000+ to go.

    • ByeByeBlockbuster

      Amen Brother. It’s a conspiracy everytime I used to walk in and they accused me of being late!

      • Blockbuster Police

        Perhaps you look guilty. They know you never returned that Facts Of Life complete series set.

  • Around the corner

    A Petco won’t hurt Dogma or Wildbirds, but I don’t mind if it gets Dominion back on their toes – I was just in there to buy some dry food for my puppy and immediately found myself wondering just how long the bags had been on the shelves and the whole place looked dingy. Instead I had to run to the Pet Smart to get more food (no they don’t sell only crap). A Petco working to gain neighborhood customers could be just fine. I’d rather see Sleepys go!

    • Ariel

      I’ve had Dogma special order food for me; they have another store in Shirlington where they carry a lot of specialty foods. They had it there and just brought it over which was very nice. I was too lazy to drive to Shirlington.

  • YHSPatriot

    Chipotle would make bank at that location! Speaking of banks….please not another one!

  • Supportlocals

    Arlingtonians needs to take a stand and support the local small businesses that have supported their community for years. Dominion has been in business for years… Since the early 80′s if i remember correctly. This neighborhood does not need a big chain coming in to try to drive small businesses out of business. I hope other Arlingtonians join me in saying NO to big chains.

  • Arlington

    It is going to be a Chipotle.

  • wilber

    Petco?? Bleah! I will still drive to the petsmart.

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