Ibby Hussain really is a chip off the old block.

After joining CHIPS video games stores 17 years ago as a Youth Trainee, the 34-year-old has taken the plunge and become the boss of his very own CHIPS store in Stockton.

Ibby has just signed up as CHIPS latest franchisee and bought the Silver Street store previously owned by Chipsworld Ltd. Now after a complete new look, the store is open again for business with Ibby and his brother Naseer behind the counter.

CHIPS, which was awarded Best Independent Retailer at the INDIN Awards, now has 24 outlets across the country from Edinburgh to the south coast and Ibby is the latest franchisee to sign up.

For the last few years Ibby has held the title of Operations Manager at CHIPS and trained many CHIPS franchisees.

“Opening CHIPS stores for other franchisees really started me thinking,” said Ibby, who lives in Thornaby with partner Linda. “Since I joined CHIPS as a 17-year-old I have always wanted to open my own store, so this really is a dream come true.”

Ibby is following hard on the heels of fellow former classmate and colleague Steve Morton, who opened CHIPS Hartlepool as a franchisee almost exactly two years ago.

“Steve and I were in the same class at Brackenhoe Secondary School,” said Ibby. “We both joined CHIPS within a month of each other in the 80s and Steve was Group Area Manager before he opened his own store in Hartlepool.

“I have watched him make it a great success and I have opened many other CHIPS stores around the country for other franchisees and seen them prosper. After discussing the matter with my father and brother we decided to take the plunge.”

CHIPS in Silver Street has been run by Chipsworld Ltd for the last 15 years, buying, selling and trading new and second-hand games, consoles, DVDs and accessories.

Ibby is the company’s 17th franchisee to sign up and his store has a smart new look both inside and out.

“I used to work in Stockton as a manager years ago and I am really looking forward to welcoming my old regulars back again. Video games are my passion and Naseer and I aim to provide a service second to none in the area,” he said.

“My parents have been fully behind the venture. Apart from the financial help, they have been extremely supportive and have held prayers at the store.

“I have known the joint MDs of CHIPS Nik Agar and Don McCabe for many years and am delighted to join the franchise system and finally run my very own store.”

CHIPS Stockton is open Monday to Saturday, 9.30am to 5.30pm, and sells all the latest Playstation, X-box, GameCube and GameBoy consoles, games and accessories plus a host of PC, retro and second-hand products.

Joint MD of CHIPS Don McCabe said: “We are sorry to lose Ibby as an ops manager but delighted he has opened his own store. He has been with us almost since the start of CHIPS and has a wealth of experience and knowledge.

“He is the second CHIPS manager to open his own store which is a great boost for our franchise business. If anyone had the experience to open a store on their own it would be Ibby but he has chosen to become one of our franchisees which says a great deal about our systems and network.

“Nik and I know he will be a great success. Thankfully he will still be on hand to train new franchisees along with Steve Morton, so we won’t be losing him completely.”

CHIPS, which is based in Borough Road, Middlesbrough, has six company-owned stores in Middlesbrough, Redcar, Darlington, Northallerton, Sunderland & Letchworth and an award-winning e-commerce site, www.chipsworld.co.uk.

Stockton is the 17th franchise store. Others are Bishop Auckland, Chester le-Street, Consett, Chorley, Chorlton, Edinburgh, Guisborough, Hartlepool, Skipton, Stafford, Lytham St Annes, Arnold, Norwich, Yeovil, Portslade, near Brighton, and Orpington.

More stores are planned including stores in Leicestershire, Berkshire and Yorkshire.

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