IT will be fun and games at CHIPS stores across the country this weekend (June 2/3/4) when the video games chain celebrates its 20th birthday.

The chain, which is now the UK’s biggest independent video games retailer, opened its first store on June 2, 1986, in Middlesbrough and this weekend its party time.

CHIPS’ 30 outlets across the country, including its many North-east stores, will be handing out CHIPS badges, balloons and specially-minted CHIPS chocolate coins to celebrate. There will also be T-shirts and goodies for the winners of in-store competitions.

Each CHIPS store buys, sells and trades video games consoles, games, accessories and DVDS, both new and second-hand.

2006 has proved to be a milestone year already with the opening of its 30th outlet and its 20th franchise. CHIPS also reached the finals of the prestigious MCV Excellence Awards in the Independent Retailer of the Year and Most Improved Retailer of the Year categories alongside such high street names as Virgin, HMV and Game.

Nik Agar and Don McCabe, the two Joint Managing Directors of CHIPS, founded the business in 1986 with a £7K bank loan and a lot of hard work.

They opened their first store in Linthorpe Road, Middlesbrough, in 1986 and over the years the business has grown to a 30-strong chain stretching from Scotland to the south coast.

“We opened our first store in 1986 because there were very few places in the North-east to buy video games,” said Joint MD Nik Agar. “It really was a niche market and we never thought in our wildest dreams we would be where we are today.”

Don McCabe, Joint MD, added: “We have been around in the industry for a very long time. We hope our customers will all come along to help us celebrate this milestone.”

CHIPS opened its first franchise store in Bishop Auckland in 1999 and since then it has gradually grown its company stores from six to 10, launched an award winning e-commerce site,, and opened another 18 franchises.

The 31st outlet will open in Ormskirk on June 21, another will follow this summer and there are a number of prospective franchisees going through the CHIPS recruitment process.

The company has just published its 18th CHIPS Magazine which celebrates its 20 years in the business and will host its fifth annual conference in October in the North-east.

“CHIPS really has grown from strength to strength and as well as being the UK’s largest independent games chains, we are also one of the oldest and most experienced,” said Nik.

Don added: “Our aim has always been to have the best store in town, offering the best customer service and offer the widest range of products and I think we do achieve that. Every industry has its ups and downs and we have weathered those and we think CHIPS will only get bigger and better.”

CHIPS has nine company-owned stores in Middlesbrough, Sunderland, Darlington, Redcar, Northallerton, Bishop Auckland, Letchworth, Chorley and Hereford. There is also an award-winning e-commerce site,

There are 20 franchise stores in Stafford, Skipton, Norwich, Hartlepool, Arnold, Lytham St Annes, Yeovil, Consett, Chester Le Street, Guisborough, Edinburgh, Chorlton, Portslade, Orpington, Stockton, Otley, Newcastle-Under-Lyme, Woodley, Ashford and Glasgow West End. CHIPS Ormskirk will open on June 21 and another will open in Midlands just weeks later. More franchise stores are also in the pipeline.

May 06

NB CHIPS is capped up. It stands for Computers, Hardware, Interface, Peripherals & Software

For more information contact Debra McCabe on 0870 013 0028 or email Company information, photographs and logos can be downloaded from . Click on All About CHIPS at top.

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