One of the hobby’s largest buyers and sellers is expanding. Baseball Card Exchange, which specializes in vintage unopened material, but also buys and sells virtually anything related to sports cards, has signed a lease on a new 12,000 square foot location in the greater Chicago area that will include its first-ever retail store.
The new home base for BBCE is in the town of Schererville, IN and will serve the company’s warehouse and mail order needs in addition to housing the retail store.
“We truly feel having a retail presence in northwest Indiana will complement the current BBCE business model and make us a significantly stronger company,” company president Steve Hart said. “Trust us; this will not be the run-of-the-mill local card shop.”
The move comes almost exactly 23 years to the day owner Hart opened his first retail shop, a 400 square-foot location in Lansing, IL. The store succeeded thanks in part to the success enjoyed by the Michael Jordan era Bulls and the resulting influx of new collectors.
In July 2002, e-commerce was booming and BBCE closed its retail store and switched strictly into internet sales. They moved into a 4,000 square foot warehouse, launched a website, and continued to use other internet outlets to grow the business.
Outgrowing that location in less than five years, they moved again to their current 6,500 square-foot business, located within a self-storage facility. Buying out shops and collections from coast-to-coast has often forced Hart to rent as many as seven other storage units as well.
Hart says Baseball Card Exchange hopes to be fully operational in the new facility by the beginning of December but its day-to-day business won’t be affected.
Work on setting up the retail store will continue into 2014 with a targeted opening date of MLB Opening Day.