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Bemidji Blockbuster to close after all

News Bemidji,Minnesota 56619
Bemidji Pioneer
Bemidji Blockbuster to close after all
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

BEMIDJI -- The Blockbuster in Bemidji will close by the end of the year after all.

Dish Network, the ailing video store chain's parent company, announced last week that it would close its remaining 300 Blockbuster stores early next year. The Bemidji and Grand Forks, N.D., locations appeared to be safe because of their status as franchise stores.

But Kevin Seeger, general manager of North Central Management Group, which owns and operates the two locations, said Monday they have since found out support services provided by Blockbuster would be cut off early next year.

"The locations that we have remaining are performing well," Seeger said. "Unfortunately, (Dish Network) is closing the IT or software support unit. And therefore we won't be able to manage member accounts, process transactions or do anything like that."

That fast-approaching deadline made it infeasible to launch its own system locally, Seeger added.

Seeger said Blockbuster has offered to convert their franchise agreement into a license agreement, which would allow them to continue using the brand name.

"However, there are so many unknowns," Seeger said. "And that, coupled with the software problems, we just couldn't withstand that interruption of business."

Seeger said there are about 30 employees between the Bemidji and Grand Forks Blockbuster stores. The Bemidji store would have been the last one remaining in Minnesota had it survived the mass closing of the chain's stores.

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