760 Yates St.
Retro video gamers will be a go-go for Fan Favourites, a new video games and movie store located in Millie’s Lane in Victoria. That’s an alleyway located beside the Odeon Theatre, where a “second nerd row” may well be developing in this garden city. This store is tucked between Chef’s Quest, a D&D themed diner, and Dragon Impact, a Martial Art Equipment & Supply store.
Ben and Jen Wolchuk are the owners and operators of this new addition to the geek culture of Victoria. They bring a lifetime of passion for video games and movies, and to open this store is a natural evolution of their desire to share what they know to the local community. Their knowledge of this scene is vast, and their lifelong passion is fondly recalled. Ben noted that one of the first games he owned was Scooby-Doo on the Intellivision, and Jen admitted that although she was deprived from owning a machine, she found a way to get her video game fix.
“Every time I went to a friend’s house and they had a console, I would force them to play Nintendo for hours. I mainly watched them,” laughed Jen Wolchuck.
Both of them followed the trends of those times and they developed more than twelve years of retail experience to earn their credo. After working for other bosses, they decided to make the plunge to work for themselves. Mario could not be any more prouder.
Ben has the electronics experience to refurbish the used video game consoles so that the Limited Edition Nintendo 64 Gold console will work when it’s taken home. Every unit gets a thorough cleaning before it gets resold and these older consoles have a three-month warranty. Parts may be swapped out of a broken unit and placed in another so that a fully functional unit can be made. That kind of care and attention is important. When Ben described a situation where Microsoft did not seem to care about the casing, a Hello Kitty Crystal Xbox, in a warranty repair a long time ago, he told how upset the owner was when he received his unit back, housed in another enclosure.
That will not happen here, if collectors want their special edition console fixed. Both he and Jen were talking about possibly making this service available for gamers looking to give their cherished limited edition device or classic Nintendo Entertainment System a second life.
“We really want to give second-hand life to everything we sell,” said Jen, “We don’t want to keep [our product] too current or retro. Because when that product is good to someone — it reminds them of their childhood, their upbringing — we want to provide that service for everyone.”
Fan Favourites is quickly getting noticed by the local Victoria community. And in due time the speciality products they sell will make this place the happening place to visit for replacing broken Nintendo 64 controllers with new ones, or to buy some stuffed dolls from Adventure Time and other video game toy properties.
The Wolchuck’s have a few distribution deals in place to help bring a few unique products to Victoria, but as for used video games and films, the prices are very decent. The current selection may seem slim since this store is new, having opened Sept 1, but that will eventually grow as products are being brought in for sale or trade.
Even disk repair is offered at this store because sometimes that cherished game from long ago can no longer be played. Fortunately, some scratches and wear can be buffed out, and that’s the risk one gets when people buy used products. When asked about competing with online auction houses like eBay, Jen revealed that there is always a risk, because buyers will not be able to tell what the condition is like. They only have the word of what’s written and hopefully that is not a lie. One person’s idea of mint may well be another’s definition of very fine.
“People shouldn’t be afraid to buy something online, because they can always get it repaired here. They can factor what they can get it for online and what they have to pay to repair it for here ($3 at this store). And sometimes it’s worth the risk,” said Jen.
Fan Favourites can be found on Facebook or Twitter @FanFaveGames