Marvel comics, circa 1983. Retro Barbie dolls, decked out in neon outfits. And nearly every Nintendo Entertainment System video game cartridge that could be dreamt about.
These are just some of the classic items available at Blast From The Past, the latest retro video game and comic shop to hit Islip Town.
Located at 125 West Main Street in Bay Shore, shoppers can take a trip down memory lane with collectables, most of which date back to the 1980s.
“The store is pretty much the ’70s and forward,” co-owner and Islip resident Richard McWilliams said, “with a heavy focus on ’80s and ’90s toys and video games and comics.”
McWilliams, 34, co-owns the shop with wife Christina. Born on Long Island, McWilliams got his first NES around age 5 – and has been interested in video games, toys and movies ever since.
He recalled walking into local pawn shops and video game stores in Colorado as a child, eager to trade his video game cartridges for others.
“Over the years, it turned into collecting and saving, instead of trading,” McWilliams said.
Eventually, Richard and Christina started attending video game tours and vending at conventions across the country. In August 2019, he was a vendor at the Long Island Retro Gaming Expo in Garden City.
But the desire to open a storefront on Main Street in Bay Shore has been a goal for the two Bay Shore High School alumni for nearly six years.
“I felt we were a good fit,” McWilliams said. “There’s not a lot of retail in the area – and my retail brings something new to the table.”
Similar vintage stores are usually geared toward video games or toys – but not both, McWilliams said. Blast From The Past will offer something new to every community.
Most of the relics for sale are from McWilliams’s personal collection. To create the store, he had to cathartically let go of some of the belongings – but he’ll always be a collector, he said.
Christina, who is not a big collector, has supported Richard’s lifetime of collecting. It was a pleasure to see his collectables in a location outside of their home, she joked.
Richard also serves as a district manager for Home Depot, while Christina works as a vocational counselor for Access VR. They’re currently raising their 1-year-old child, Leonardo.
Video games offer an escape, McWilliams said – something that’s critical to reduce stress during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think that escape is good for the mind, especially in the world that we're living in,” McWilliams said. “I think people want a reminder of their past, and to kind of live for even just a few moments, in simpler times – remembering when you were a kid, just playing Mario Kart with your buddies.”
The shop will host its grand opening Dec. 11, and plans to host costume contests, giveaways and gift card raffles.