by Kelly Whiteside
For 12 years, James McIlwraith and Scotty Rivest talked about starting a business together. This year, they decided to make their dream a reality. The announcement for the new specialty store came at the beginning of February. On September 18, The Two-Headed Giant, a comic book and video game store, opened their doors to the public.
Their opening day saw overwhelming success, as the business had advertised themselves well ahead of time. In the months before opening, the Two-Headed Giant was consistently active on social media as well as out in the community. They held giveaways upon reaching 250 likes on Facebook. The store attended Nanaimo’s first gaming convention as an exhibitor at VIU on September 12. The following weekend, The Two-Headed Giant held a charity BBQ for the Nanaimo Women’s Centre, which received 25 art donations and raised over $700.
The Two-Headed Giant is a community-oriented business. Both McIlwraith and Rivest grew up in Nanaimo, and they want to give back to the local community. They would like to provide services that weren’t available for them. Currently, the duo is working on supporting local schools’ DND clubs, as well as bringing comic books into Nanaimo’s libraries. The Giant hosts “Newbie Tuesdays,” which features a new game each week that inexperienced players are encouraged to come try. The store is decorated with local artists’ work, such as drawings, paintings, and jewelry available for purchase.
McIlwraith emphasizes the casualty of the store. He says that the goal is to create a casual, comfortable, and inclusive environment to hangout and discuss comics and gaming. Everyone is welcome, whether they are knowledgeable about comics and/or games or not. Inside the store there are tables to gather around, a couch to sit on, a TV to play games on, and sometimes they even offer coffee.
The Two-Headed Giant is located in University Village at #504-530 Fifth St.