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A COLLECTOR'S STORY: 8-BIT HALL OF FAME IN BONITA SPRINGS, FLORIDA

Updated: Apr 13


three cars floating in flood water

“A treasure trove of video game classics” is how one local news outlet described Jason Crosser’s store. “A Lifestyle Not A Trend” is how Jason puts it on the store’s Facebook page. Original Nintendo Entertainment System to PlayStation 5 and virtual reality games–his collection was strong.

This former elementary school history teacher and Iowa transplant decided to follow his life-long passion for gaming and open the 8-Bit Hall of Fame in Bonita Springs, Florida, in 2014. With his own sprawling collection and the community’s inputs, business grew quickly. What was a weekend hobby ended up becoming so successful that after not too long it was his full-time job. And what a job it was!

Even though he was too busy to actually play the vast collection of games he housed, Jason was able to enjoy interacting with what became a wide array of customers. From handling trade-ins and sales to updating inventory, posting to the store’s Facebook account, and cleaning and stocking games, Jason had a lot going on in his passion-project-turned-employment gig.

8-Bit Hall of Fame was all that Jason thought it could be, but of course a dream’s reality is never quite what we might imagine. In this case, it was so much more. In fact, an inventory of an estimated tens of thousands of games topped out at about $2 million or more. But besides the physical, tangible property, there was an undeniable aura to 8-Bit Hall of Fame that made folks happy and fostered real connection. It was a slice of history, and folks appreciated his preservation efforts.

Fast forward to late September, 2022, when hurricane season was in full swing. Jason knew that he took his chances setting up shop with valuable inventory near the coast, but he had weathered storms before. That said, nothing could have prepared him for what was about to happen. Hurricane Ian slammed into the Florida coast on September 28th, 2022, leaving destruction, death, and an altered landscape in its wake.

And this time, Jason’s beloved store wasn’t spared. His three-storefront establishment, a landmark and a pilgrimage site for gamers and collectors, sustained catastrophic damage. The building was even underwater at one point–16 feet submerged. The majority of Jason’s collection floated away. Games were strewn for miles east and west of the store, and those that were physically intact were ruined by the salty ocean water. The worst part of this story? Jason’s multi-million dollar inventory was insured for $150,000.

We aren't here to engage in victim blaming–that’s not what this is. We’re just as sad as everyone else in the community about this tremendous loss. And while a store and an inventory can’t compare to the loss of life in the area, this is a loss that can profoundly change a life. In fact Jason says that he might move back to Iowa, get back to teaching, and eventually set up a new shop in an area less prone to natural disasters. After what he’s gone through, it makes sense that a little more stability is important.

But really, protection from the unknown and a shield against life’s what-ifs is always key. And that’s what insurance is made for. Here at Protect My Collection (PMC) by Zinc, we’re so bummed by Jason’s loss and the upheaval he now has to face. Friends and patrons of 8-Bit Hall of Fame set up a GoFundMe page to help Jason out, and we love seeing the community rally around one of its own. But there’s more to this story.

As Jason and all his neighbors try to pick up what’s left of their property and rebuild their lives, it’s a sobering reminder that the value of insurance cannot be overstated. Whether you collect video games for personal use or (especially, arguably) if you’re looking to turn a profit in the gaming space, insurance is a definite, absolute, gotta-get-this must-have. And not just any insurance policy, but one that’s custom-built for your collection. Because while those vintage or collector games are priceless, replacing them isn’t.

For a totally affordable cost the massive investment you’ve made in your collection can be protected, even when faced with nature’s worst. So get in touch with our team of folks who are just as passionate about collectibles as they are about protection, and learn how a policy from PMC and Zinc can keep your prized possessions safe. We’re so ready to chat. Reach out to get yourfree quote today.

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This blog post does not provide insurance advice and is intended for information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional insurance advice from a licensed representative. Never ignore professional insurance advice because of something you have read in this blog post. Contact your licensed representative if you have any questions about your insurance policy.

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