In December 2019, the ThriveNorth program successfully completed its five-year mandate. Managed by Futurpreneur Canada, the program helped young entrepreneurs in Northern B.C. launch and grow their businesses by connecting them with resources, financing and mentorship.

For Dan Plugboer, opening a “nerd store” came to life

when the opportunity arose to take over a retail space in his hometown of Houston B.C. Excited to create a social hangout for gamers in his community, Dan started Basement Dwellers and was able to generate sales and bring new products in faster with support from ThriveNorth’s Small Projects Grant.


Learn about Dan’s business, how he got started, and why small business works in Northern B.C.



What is Basement Dwellers?


Basement Dwellers is both a game store and a place for people to play games together while having a coffee, drink or snack.


I wanted to create a place that game players could call their own, and a reason to get out and be with others doing what they love – playing games.


Where did the name come from?


The term “Basement Dwellers” is a fun reference to the demographic of someone who doesn’t get a lot of sunlight, not in a degrading way, but rather to praise the people who find comfort in game-playing. I wanted to say, “This store is for you guys”.


Why should people consider Northern B.C. to start a business?


I’ve been all over B.C. – gone to college, lived rurally, lived in the lower mainland – but every time I move I keep coming back to Houston. That is the power of home I guess.


As a new entrepreneur, Northern B.C. offers an area to get your feet wet without having to make a huge investment. I don’t have a massive investment of money in this business, but it makes enough to pay its rent, whereas if I was to try the same thing in Vancouver, this business couldn’t survive. The rent, overhead and risk would just be so much higher.


We don’t have as much of a saturated market here as with other more populated areas where I might be competing with four other game stores. Up here I may be the only game store in a number of towns for the entire region.


In Houston specifically there is a huge amount of potential in retail operations and outdoor recreation businesses.


Can you recall some of the milestones you’ve celebrated since launching your business?


There is a new milestone in almost every day – when you sell something, when you make a new customer, when you pay off another bill, and when a new person comes down to play a game that you’ve never seen before.


Apart from that, the renovations were also a big job that was about a two-month process, and I’m really happy with the results we have with that so far.


For anyone thinking about or in the process of starting a business, what should they keep in mind?


If you are creative and are willing to get in contact with others and ask for help, you will find great ideas for businesses that people will spend money on.


Be prepared and willing to wear many, many, different hats. Not only are you the guy who sells the products, but you must also be willing to be the person who sweeps the floors, cleans the shelves, does the bookkeeping…these are the things that must be done to pay the bills and stay in business.


Remain humble, ask for other people’s advice, and listen to your customers because they know what they are looking for.



Find out more about Basement Dwellers by connecting with them on their Facebook page: @basedwel

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