Chips Computer Games Stores: Fun and Games for Graduate Franchisee

University graduate Ant Meehan has returned to his old stamping ground in Ormskirk - to set up his own business. The 24-year-old games fanatic has just thrown open the doors of his video games store, CHIPS, and is convinced it will prove a great hit in the town.

CHIPS Ormskirk in Church Street, buys, sells and trades new and second-hand consoles, games and accessories and it has already turned into a real family affair.

Ant and dad, Michael, are the joint franchisees and brother, Andrew, and sister, Caroline, will be helping out behind the counter. Meanwhile, university nursing lecturer mum Susan and Ant's fiancée, Jennie, will be giving support behind the scenes.

Ant, who gained his marketing and computing degree at Edgehill University, has been playing games since he was old enough to hold a controller and always dreamed of running his own video games store.

'Games are my passion but I always shied away from opening my own games store because I thought it would be too difficult without support,' he said.

'However, I was on the internet and came across CHIPS, the only games store in the UK to offer franchises, and started to investigate.'

Ant then set about convincing Michael, a Merchant Navy captain, to join the venture and after a visit to CHIPS HQ in Middlesbrough they both decided to take on a franchise.

'Ormskirk was my first choice for a store and I was delighted we were able to find the right site very quickly,' said Ant, who now lives in Southport.

'Over the years I have worked part-time for three of the major high street games chains but I much prefer the CHIPS' system. I did two weeks intensive training with two other franchisees while my store was fitted out and as each day went by I became more and more enthusiastic.

'I was a student myself in Ormskirk and had lived in the town before that so I just know it will be a great success, not only with the under-graduates, but with the rest of the town's residents as well.'

Ant's store is the 31 CHIPS outlet to open across the UK and the 21st franchise. It sells all major consoles including Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo, along with many retro consoles and titles. The store will be open six days a week from 9.30am to 5.30pm.

This month (June 2006) CHIPS, which was founded by Nik Agar and Don McCabe, is celebrating 20 years in business.

CHIPS Joint Managing Director Nik Agar said: 'Ant's marketing and retail background will prove invaluable for him and his fantastic passion and knowledge of the industry will really help.'

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 now 21 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, Glasgow West End and now Ormskirk. Another store will open this summer and there are more stores are in the pipeline across the UK.