The first home rebuilt on the Ridge is making the news again—this time for an equally poignant reason. Behind the beautiful blue paint job and gently waving American flag lies a garage full of games. Specifically, a collection of hundreds of video games for sale as part of “Gamer’s Paradise,” a home-based business recently launched by owner Travis Sinclaire.
Originally from Sacramento but at home in Paradise for the last 17 years, Sinclaire grew up playing video games, and it’s been a lifelong hobby ever since. “I had a good-sized collection before the fire,” Sinclaire said. “After the fire, I started going to thrift stores and garage sales again.”
He ended up with a variety of duplicates and decided to sell the extras online, which led to a booth at Chico-Con, where many people asked about a storefront and where he could visit. “At that moment,” he recalled, “I realized this is something I really want to do.” Once his wife gifted him with a business license for Christmas, it was only a matter of time, hard work, and cleaning out the garage before until a physical store could manifest.
With help from his daughter Emily, Sinclaire opened for business on June 28, 2020—and he couldn’t be more delighted with the outpouring of interest. “When people come to the store, we’ll sit there and chat about it, what they play and what I play. It doesn’t seem like work.”
He now looks forward to his Sunday open hours as he and Emily meet with customers and talk about their favorite pastime. “I like to interact with people,” Sinclaire said. “It’s a lot more fun than just selling online.” Just a little over two weeks after opening, he’s seen customers come from Chico, Oroville, Paradise and Magalia, in hunt for beloved games and hobbies to share with their families. “I think it’s special that people will come so far. The support is just awesome.”
At the same time, he’s invested a significant amount of time and money into the venture, and the business doesn’t come without its challenges. “I never thought I’d open a business when I came back to Paradise,” Sinclaire laughed. “It’s a big undertaking: what if I fail, what if I go into debt because of it?” Fortunately, Travis plans to hang on to his day job — 20+ years and counting at Safeway—and keep Gamer’s Paradise to his days off. “At least it’s in my garage,” he said. “Right now it’s a hobby and it’s fun.”
And the best part? “I get to hang out with my daughter and do something I love.”
Travis hopes his business will be one of many to make the Ridge their home. “I just get excited everytime I see a new house or a new business,” he said. “We need businesses to help the town survive. They will help people come back.” Specifically, he looks forward to other “speciality” stores returning. “Ace Hardware is open, Savemart, Holiday, Dollar General, both Rite Aids. You can get bandaids and over-the-counter medicine—there are the basics. But we need more than the basics.”
July 15 marks the one-year anniversary of their house being finished in Paradise, and the Sinclaires and Gamer’s Paradise couldn’t be prouder to be a part of the community and its renewal. “It’s not going to be a town in 10 years,” Sinclaire’s wife Victoria said with a smile. “It’s happening now.
Travis’ favorite games: Link to the Past from Super Nintendo and any of the Mario Brothers 3.
Emily’s favorite games: Mario Sunshine, Fortnight, GTA 5
Victoria’s favorite games: Animal Crossing