It seems like nostalgia is at an all-time high with Generation Z’s interest in Y2K fashion, hyper femme romantic comedies and the low-rise jeans, platform heels and baby tee holy trinity. Well, if the early 2000s are back then it’s only right for Blockbuster to make a revival — even if it’s on a smaller scale.
Located in the Santa Fe Arts District is a clothing resale store that promotes self-expression, sustainable shopping and unique finds. Strawberry Mountain stakes its claim in the eco-friendly community by repurposing vintage and otherwise overlooked products.
Sole owner Nadia MacKinnon came across a franchise with the perfect blend of nostalgia and purpose. Free Blockbuster can be found in boutique shops all over the nation. Its mission is to combat the myth of scarcity by providing free entertainment to as many people as possible.
The familiar blue and yellow bock lettering plastered on up-cycled mailboxes — which would have otherwise cluttered landfills — now provide a brief glimpse into what it was like renting a movie for the weekend from the late 80s to early 2000s.
With only a year and a half of business under its belt, Strawberry Mountain has already earned the titles of best vintage store and best thrift store in Westword’s Best of Denver 2022 reader’s choice poll. It wasn’t until early 2022 when MacKinnon added the Free Blockbuster to her shop — offering a take one, leave one opportunity for vintage media like DVDs, VHS and video games.
Like most Generation X and Millennial childhoods, MacKinnon enjoyed slumber parties with a handful of Blockbuster movies.
“It was always an event to go to Blockbuster growing up. I wanted to bring that idea and nostalgia back,” MacKinnon said.
As an avid thrifter, MacKinnon constantly keeps an eye out for the forgotten VHS, and in result has quite the inventory. Though the idea of this Free Blockbuster box is to take one, leave one — it is truly free and does not always require a trade. Her vast collection helps keep it in stock.
Some of the most popular films tend to be ET, Titanic, Legally Blonde, 90s coming of age films and even one of MacKinnon’s favorites, Cop and A Half. The product tends to be VHS heavy but since the access to VHS players is a rarity in modern America — DVDs and video games seem to be more popular.
“The box has a door that’s spring-loaded when it opens and shuts there’s a bit of a slam. I get excited when I hear that sound,” MacKinnon said.
This small but significant addition to her shop materializes the mission of Strawberry Mountain into one retro relic.
“It fits what we do, saving things from going in the trash and appreciating vintage,” MacKinnon said.
Strawberry Mountain is located at 825 Santa Fe Dr. Denver. Access to the Free Blockbuster box is synonymous with store hours, Tuesday through Sunday from 12-7 p.m. Closed on Monday. Also open during 1st Fridays 12-10 p.m. for Denver’s Art District on Santa Fe Art Walks.