Vintage game, comic book and toy store open in Bay Shore

BAY SHORE, NY – Richard McWilliams has long dreamed of opening a brick-and-mortar store selling vintage video games, toys and collectibles. A lifelong collector and enthusiast of vintage entertainment, he believed the shift to online shopping was leaving something out of the shopping experience.

His store, which opened in December at 125 W. Main St., is called Blast From the Past and has thousands of comic books, retro video games and toys. The collection is so vast, he told Patch, that he can’t just catalog it online, and that element of finding unknown objects adds to the experience that his customers appreciate.

McWilliams, a Bay Shore native who now lives in Islip with his wife, says he’s had an enthusiastic response from the community and shoppers of all ages drop by regularly. It sees adult customers looking for pristine collectibles to display as well as parents introducing their children to their favorite Nintendo and PlayStation 2 games from the 80s and 90s.

“People this year have more free time,” he said. “We’ve seen a tremendous increase in the number of video games and toy and comic book collections.”

Even kids used to the graphics and sophistication of contemporary games can get into the classics, he said.

“I love seeing it. Some of these games are classic for a reason: they’re fun.”

Adults also come to a certain stage in life when they like to relive the entertainment of their youth, and the enormous amount of media produced during these years remains appreciated by thirtysomethings, who might be hunting in toy bins in bulk for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles bring home.

This hunt, McWilliams says, is something that cannot be replicated by shopping online.

“I see the joy everyone feels walking around the store, getting souvenirs – it’s fun and positive and it’s needed now more than ever.”

A brick-and-mortar store is a place where you can let your kids run around and choose something, and have a first-hand experience of exploring items, he explained.

“We wanted to give our hometown of Bay Shore that missing piece.”