|He Believed in Co-operative Family Games|
A quiet country setting 12 miles from Perth, Ontario, is not exactly where you would expect to find the hub of a burgeoning toy and game empire, but by the same token, Jim Deacove never expected, or really wanted it to happen ... it just happened.
Back 20 years ago, Jim and Ruth's two young daughters, Tanya and Christa, were growing up. Jim was perplexed by the lack of educational toys and games he could buy for the girls. The games on the market then were all competitive. He wanted his children to have 'co-operative' games. Games they could play with together in a 'co-operative' rather than competitive manner. Jim, a very quite, patient high school teacher, set out to design a few games for them.
He first made a few co-op games as a hobby for his friends and family to enjoy. Jim's family is much like every other Canadian family ... sharing, helping and being kind to one another. Friends suggested they make their games in quantity and sell them. So, in 1972, Jim and wife Ruth and daughters Tanya and Christa, turned a hobby into a small business called "Family Pastimes", working out of their home. "When I started I knew nothing about business whatsoever. I was a high school teacher who had an idea."
The business grew, they moved their cottage industry out of their home and into a cottage of its own. The games and books were made in small quantities and sold to local craft shops. Soon orders began coming in from across Canada. Then the U.S., then Australia, England, the Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, Spain and Israel. Jim saw what was happening and registered the name 'A Co-operative Game' worldwide.
The Deacoves had difficulty filling the orders. The most they could produce was 40 thousand units and that was not near enough to meet demand. In 1989, the huge toy manufacturer, 'Playtoy Industries' began producing Jim's toys under a licence fee agreement. Now you'll find 'Co-operative Games' in Eatons, Canadian Tire, Sears and other major retail locations. "I never thought", Jim told me, "that I would ever see my games and books in these locations. We worked for 20 years to arrive at this. The first ten years were mighty lonely."
What started as a few games to involve children aged 3 to 7 has grown to 69 games and 4 books to involve children and adults as well.
What did he do different? "What I did different I guess was to have an idea that I strongly believed in. That's the key. It's to have something that you personally feel very worthwhile accomplishing. You also must have
plenty of physical and emotional stamina to carry it through.
"The Deacove family, Jim, Ruth, Tanya and Christa, turned their cottage industry into a major industry. Another example of Canadian Achievement.
Return to table of contents