When you own a sports card store, there are two words that bring an unparalleled level of excitement like none other. No they are not Exquisite NBA Returns (although it could be), those three words are not Kris Bryant Rookies and they are not Free Black Boxes (but that is rather close).
Since 2011, the phrase that pays big time has been Panini Black Friday.
Plain and simple, there is no other promotion that pushes more collectors into my 1,600 square feet (soon to hopefully be 2,400 square feet) than for the chance to be the first to bust open these two card packs.
As I have shared in previous testimonials, prior to the debut of this promotion in 2011 there were some days after Thanksgiving where I would watch to see what the online retailers were pumping out that day. Since then, for the day after Thanksgiving and the few that follow, participating card store owners get to own the coolest place in their respective shopping centers. It’s been a huge victory for brick-and-mortar.
This year, I topped the $15,000 mark in bringing in case after case of assorted MLB, NBA and NFL offerings for our customers. Carrying the one and using new math, I will have about 900 of these two card bonus packs to share starting at 10 PM Thursday night when we kick things off. That means only 39,100 packs are out there for other card stores to work with.
Yes, at 9PM or so, I will take my body filled with L-Tryptophan and my mom’s famous cherry cheesecake over to Colorado’s Best Card Shop to prep my store before I give my collectors the first possible chance to hunt for the elusive numbered rookie year cards, low-numbered parallels, autographs and relic cards.
The first year we tried this insanely timed opening, we did $11,000 in sales between 10PM and 1AM. Apparently that type of success makes it easier the next year to sell the wife on why it is necessary to unlock the shop instead of putting away dishes or getting the kids to sleep.
This year, Panini threw shops a curve that would have made Sandy Koufax and Three Finger Brown jealous. Usually I get the feeling that Black Friday and Father’s Day is a chance to empty out 2-3 football sized warehouses of last years “could have been” releases. Looking at the list of products that collectors must purchase to get Black Friday packs, Panini made a radical change and included mostly incredibly current and still popular issues. That should mean even bigger sales for us and even happier collectors.
The Black Friday cards include 26 rookie cards numbered to 55, randomly inserted autographed cards of Kris Bryant, Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell and others, along with some of the first memorabilia cards of this year’s NBA Draft class including, yes, cards made of actual headbands.
When you are mapping out your attack plan for Friday morning, these are the participating products and the amount of Black Friday packs you should expect to see with the purchase of each box or case.
2015 Contenders Baseball – (3/36)
2015/16 Hoops Basketball – (3/60)
2015/16 Court Kings Basketball – (2/30)
2015/16 Contenders Draft Picks Basketball – (4/48)
2015 Prizm Draft Picks Football – (5/100)
2015 Prestige Football – (4/48)
2015 Certified Football – (2/48)
2015 Gridiron Kings Football – (4/60)
2015 Prizm Football – (2/24)
Parallel people, please peek here.
Please give a look at the Salute To Service relic cards at this link.
Insert aficionados, we have your hook up as well.
And for the eight of you who make base cards a priority, Panini thought of you, too.
OK, slight self-serving rant time here. Sadly, shops will not be able to start sharing these packs with their collectors on Wednesday as we have in the past, but why should that be an issue when we can open up our stores and work until midnight on what used to be one of the guaranteed days off each year? But that’s another matter.
In the future, it would be not only convenient to do so, but would allow shops to sell box after box to those who are going through the woods to Grandma’s house out of town and also allow us to tap into funds that will otherwise be going to Best Buy for this year’s 80” TV sacrificial lamb for those who camped out.
Hey, if this is my biggest gripe for a promotion that should help us do over $20,000 in sales before December hits, then I will take it every year. Perhaps this will be read and something as simple as a couple of day calendar change could make Panini Black Friday 2016 that much better.
I would urge you to take a minute and find a local card store near you to see if they are part of Panini Black Friday. Seriously, don’t get trampled at Walmart or get your tent dirty as you camp out in front of Target for a $18.46 microwave or a $29.82 collection of every Christopher Lambert movie set on DVD.
Help your LCS remain local by picking up a box or three of recent MLB NBA or NFL offerings and may Panini Black Friday be the start of an over the top holiday season for us all.
Mike Fruitman owns Mike’s Stadium Sportscards in Aurora, CO. Normally, his column focuses on what products are selling best in hobby shops. He’s got thousands of cards for sale on COMC.com under the ID cardmn5150. Enjoy new arrivals and big hits from Mike’s on Twitter. Mike’s is always looking for more friends on Facebook and you can email him [email protected]