Meet Me at Whalley’s Corner – Part 1: Sprite Multimedia Systems
This multi-part feature series explores the Whalley historic district with stories about some of Surrey’s long-standing businesses and their owners and new comers who are making a difference to the city and its residents. In 1925, Arthur Whalley opened a service station at what is now the intersection of 108th Avenue, Grosvenor Road and King George Boulevard. This busy commercial hub became known as Whalley’s Corner.
Today, Whalley’s Corner is the entrance to the Historic Whalley District which includes City Centre and the surrounding neighbourhood. Whalley is the most densely populated and urban of the six town centres in the city of Surrey. This diverse community of residents and businesses, some of which have been operating and living in the area for decades. These long-standing and new businesses are passionately committed to area and through involvement with the Whalley Community Improvement Association and the Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Association are committed to revitalizing this enduring district.
The first installment of this series introduces Mike Nielsen, owner of Sprite Multimedia Systems Ltd.
As a young man, Mike Nielsen discovered his love for computers when he bought his first Commodore computer. He gained his business acumen by working at different companies, learning the ropes from the ground up, as well as maintaining part time employment at a computer store. Mike always dreamed of owning a business and capitalizing upon his love of computer technology realized this dream when he opened Sprite Computers in 1983. For 34 years, this independent store has been operating at the corner of King George Boulevard and 108 th Avenue.
From the start, Sprite Computers became the go to place for “geeks”, hobbyists and home users to purchase the popular Commodore 64 system. Throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s, Sprite sold and serviced these and other computer systems. In 1993, after Commodore went out of business, Mike began to build his own systems — Micro-Star.
Today, Mike has revamped his store, now called Sprite Multimedia Systems, by specializing in building high-tech, advanced computer systems specifically for die-hard gamers and diversifyinginto the popular home theatre entertainment industry — adding a virtual reality station and a state of the art media room.
When you ask Mike to talk about his business, his passion for the industry cannot be mistaken. He comes alive as he describes the trends in technology that he sees on the horizon — the increased interest in virtual reality, the move towards smaller and faster devices and the more pivotal role the internet will play in our everyday lives are all areas he predicts will advance in the coming years. “The gaming sector of computer technology is growing by leaps and bounds with more and more people looking to purchase high-speed, high resolution computers dedicated to gaming” he says as he points to a sleek looking desktop. He explains that gamers want power, speed and cutting-edge graphics in their systems and having the ability to build these systems for customers is a key element in staying competitive in this industry.
Asked what he feels are the challenges and the joys of running a business in one of the most densely populated and urban areas in Surrey, Mike replies “Certainly, there are challenges in this community — we are facing an increase in homeless people here and there is an uptick in crime related to drugs, etc. but with the involvement of the Whalley Community Improvement Association, the Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Association and the City of Surrey, we are galvanizing our efforts to solve these modern day problems. The other challenge that Sprite faces is the rapidly changing advances in technology and the increase in online shopping.” He goes on to explain that diversifying into the home theatre and entertainment side of the industry has been quite successful. Also, he says, the focus on virtual reality has increased customer interest and added an element of fun.
Mike is enthusiastic about the location of his business. He is committed to helping the community of “Whalley’s Corner” thrive. He is a dedicated member of both the Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Association and the Whalley Community Improvement Association and is determined to help promote and revitalize this historical neighbourhood.
If you are looking for a new computer, laptop or gaming system, or need your current system updated or repaired, visit Sprite Multimedia Systems. While you’re there ask to try out the virtual reality system — you’ll be hooked.