Plano, TX

Plano Man Keeping Blockbuster Alive

Larry Lease
54-year-old David Carrera is supporting the last remaining Blockbuster store in Bend, Ore.Sean Benesch/Unsplash

Before the days of streaming, physical renting was a popular activity on a Friday night. The video rental place that became a popular destination was Blockbuster. There was a man from Plano that was one of the first to enter Blockbuster when it opened its doors in October 1985. Showing his love for Blockbuster, he still has his membership card from the original store in Medallion Center.

David Carerra has become a Blockbuster legend, over 30 years, Carerra went from a Blockbuster customer to a store employee, and later became a corporate IT employee. At the peak of the video rental company, he helped manage computer operations for more than 6,000 locations out of the store's office in McKinney. David told me he met his wife working at the Blockbuster call center in Lake Highlands.

As the launch of streaming and video-on-demand began to take its toll, and Blockbuster was forced to deal with layoffs, downsizing, and outsourcing, Carerra managed to stick around. Blockbuster was eventually bought by Dish Network, which announced in 2013, that it was closing all company-owned stores. For the franchisees who stuck around, they needed a centralized computer system to operate, and that is where David stepped in.

While they couldn't upgrade the ancient software Blockbuster used, he managed to gather a handful of ex-Blockbuster employees to create a system to control the franchisees remotely. Since then, Blockbuster stores have dwindled down to just one: a location in Bend, Oregon, where fans flock to take photos and peruse the aisles of DVDs. But this store couldn't rent out a movie without Carerra's handiwork running the servers in his home office.

Carerra has managed to visit the store in Bend once. He was able to walk into the store and see the familiar setup, configuration, and look. Carerra told me that when the store eventually does close, it wont be due to the computer systems, but because people stop coming and renting.

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I specialize in crime, entertainment and political stories. I have spent eight years as a freelance writer and journalist.

Dallas, TX

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