After 30 years with the business, Manuel and Christine Stanatakis have announced their retirement from Mega Games in Penrith.
Though the store is known for its organised gaming events and wide variety of board and card games, Mrs Stanatakis noted that it wasn’t always this way.
“We bought a computer software and hardware store, so that’s how it started. Not anything like what it is today!” she said.
“We ran it like that for a little while, but we just started to get different things in – a board game here, a board game there – and then when we moved to Top Ryde, it was pretty much all board games and no computers!”
The store finally made its way to Penrith 17 years ago, moving again to its current location after outgrowing the initial space, now home to Mr Watkins.
During these 17 years, Mr and Mrs Stanatakis have had a fierce passion for fundraising, driven by their appreciation for the community.
“We collect all the bottles and cans, and those go to Penrith Community Kitchen twice a year, we’ve also done a lot of fundraising for the Nepean Neonatal Unit, Camp Quality, we also do baking every week and all of that goes to charity,” she said.
“I think it’s very important to give back to the community that gives things to you. We’ve been community focused all the time, it’s not just a shop for us, these guys are part of the family.”
Mrs Stanatakis said that these relationships she’s been able to cultivate with regular customers and players alike have been some of her favourite things about her time at Mega Games.
“We just recently went to the wedding of two of the players that met here. They have a small child now, and he was quite ill for a little while there, and it turns out the machines that we were fundraising for at Nepean Hospital, he was actually on some of those machines, so it’s good to see what we do at work,” she said.
“We’ve had quite a few weddings, we’ve seen all of these guys grow up, get married, have kids of their own.”
It’s because of this that for many, the announcement of Mr and Mrs Stanatakis’ retirement has resulted in a rollercoaster of emotions.
“There was a mixed reaction. They’re very happy for us, but we’ve also had some people who have been very sad that we won’t be here anymore,” she said.
Though they are officially ending their time at the store this weekend, with celebrations on Friday and Saturday complete with prizes, party food and games, Mrs Stanatakis assures that they’re not fully stepping away just yet, and probably never will.
“We’ll be around for a little while longer, because we’ve got to ease the new people into the way that the tournaments run and things like that,” she said.
“We want this store to be around for another 30 years. The store will continue, what we do will continue, just with new owners. I will miss it, but we’re local, so we’re still going to pop in from time to time!”
Cassidy Pearce is a news and entertainment journalist with The Western Weekender. A graduate of the University of Technology Sydney, she has previously worked with Good Morning Macarthur and joined the Weekender in 2022.