Sandi Harding: Where is the Last Blockbuster’s Manager Now?

While Blockbuster opened its first store in 1985, the brand grew exponentially through the entire 1990s and was a household name worldwide. While it started out as a video and video games rental store, it, unfortunately, started facing stiff competition from Netflix, Redbox, and other video-on-demand services, which, coupled with the Great Recession between 2007 and 2009, led to Blockbuster’s downfall. By 2014, their corporate branches were shut down, and only 50 franchise stores remained scattered around the world.

Eventually, in July 2018, a Blockbuster store in Bend, Oregon, became the last Blockbuster on earth, which made fans rush to the location for a whiff of nostalgia. The 2020 documentary ‘The Last Blockbuster’ follows the store’s General Manager, Sandi Harding, as she details the issues that come with maintaining a video rental store in this day and age. Thus, with fans eager to find out where Sandi Harding is at present, we decided to jump in and find out!

Who Is Sandi Harding?

You would be surprised to know that the video rental store in Bend, Oregon, wasn’t a Blockbuster store from the beginning. The store was initially established in 1992 as the second location of their own company, Pacific Video, and it even competed with local Blockbusters in the movie renting business. However, since the competition was too tough, the owners, Ken and Debbie Tisher, decided to join the Blockbuster brand in 2000, which immediately increased their sales and popularity.

Likewise, in 2004, 33-year-old Sandi Harding began working at the Bend Blockbuster store. Soon, she proved herself to be a diligent employee and rose from strength to strength, and her immense movie knowledge and customer interaction helped her rise up the ranks. Thus, it is no surprise that Sandi is affectionately known as the “Blockbuster Mom.” Sources even say that she married a fellow Blockbuster employee and has children who worked at the franchise.

In fact, Sandi even adopted her pet, a cat, from an animal adoption event that took place in a parking lot near the Blockbuster store. Initially, when Ken and Debbie Tisher turned their Pacific Video store into a Blockbuster, they had Dan Montgomery as the Store Manager, who served in that position for 12 years. However, once Sandi Harding proved herself, she took over as Store Manager and has been running the store ever since.

Talking about her experience in running the store and its present condition, Sandi said, “Everything is exactly the same as it was 20 years ago. People a lot of times think it’s because we have terrible Wi-Fi that must be why we have a Blockbuster still, that is not the case.” However, even she is seemingly unsure about the store’s lifespan, although a 2022 report mentioned that Sandi believes they still have a few years left.

Sandi Harding is a Proud Family Woman Today

At present, Sandi Harding still serves as the General Manager of the Bend, Oregon, Blockbuster store and works closely with the owners to help the business stay alive. Naturally, after the release of the documentary, ‘The Last Blockbuster,’ the interest in the Bend, Oregon, store increased exponentially, with people coming in from all corners of the United States just to experience the nostalgia. Moreover, with Sandi featured heavily in the documentary, she was propelled into the spotlight, much to her surprise.

Yet, the newfound fame did not distance Sandi from her job, as she continued her job with the same level of diligence as her very first day. People visiting the Bend Blockbuster can now rent movies as usual, while the store also sells T-shirts, caps, and other merchandise. Additionally, one can get a souvenir membership card for $2, although they are all handwritten and not printed as the originals once were. While Sandi is now happily married, a proud mother, and resides in Bend, Oregon, with her husband, she remains hopeful about the future of the video rental store.

In a 2019 interview, Sandi even explained her way of keeping the Blockbuster franchise relevant, saying, “We have several years left on our lease and, as long as we can continue to pay our staff, we’ll stay open. Becoming the last store has given the business a boost and we’re selling Blockbuster T-shirts, souvenirs and memorabilia. I’ve watched enough movies to realise there’s an end to everything – but hopefully the ending of this story is a long way off.”

Read More: Where Are Last Blockbuster’s Owners Ken and Debbie Tisher Now?