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What’s Hot in the Shop: Panini’s Black Friday Ready To Stuff(ing) Stores

by Mike Fruitman

Last year when Panini first offered their Black Friday promotion, my customers and I could not have been more excited.   For too long, the holiday had been mostly overlooked by the hobby other than one particular online retailer.  Each year since opening in 1992, I would put together some great specials and reasons for shoppers to make visiting my store part of their day after Thanksgiving routine.

While they were always better than average day, it had been hard to compete against big-screen TV blowouts at Best Buy or the season’s hottest gift for kids getting pimped by Toys “R” Us.  That all changed in 2011 with close to 1,000 2-card packs getting snatched up at my store on Black Friday and continued with the madness in the days that followed until they were all gone.

Panini loaded the first year Black Friday packs with some incredibly sweet autographs and relic cards that still have collectors hunting for them.   A recent search of eBay showed a robust 300+ listings with some of them still garnering significant dinero like this 1 of 1 Calvin Johnson auto.

Between the Super Bowl pylon cards, numbered Elite rookies featuring Newton, Dalton and the other 2011 rookies in their pro uniforms, Kobe shoe cards and an autograph list with something for collectors of each sport, many stores said that it was the best promotion they had even been involved with.

Panini has done an incredible job building on last year’s rookie season and for proof, please check out these previews for some of this year’s singles.

While Cam, Andy, Von and many of the other stars from 2011 captivated collectors, the buzz surrounding Luck, RG3 and some of the other NFL rookies is significantly stronger.  Of course there is more to this set than simply football players, but let’s face it, the pigskin moves the hobby more than any other sport (sorry Canada).

Based on last year’s success, I decided to ramp up things a bit.  Well, more like 1,000 more bits.

(Each of the boxes above contains 50 Panini Black Friday packs)

In order to satiate the collectors at my store, we will be offering more than 2,000 2012 Black Friday packs and for the first time ever, we will try opening on Thanksgiving from 9:30PM – midnight.  Fortunately, being in the Mountain Time zone, our customers can start receiving their packs at 10 PM and hopefully counteract the L-tryptophan from their turkey dinners.

I am hoping they will choose to continue consuming cardboard after the NFL games are over and that they will visit their local card stores.  For a listing of the participating card stores, please click here to check out this list for the 400 stores who will be part of the fun.

(Here is about half of the Panini product we are bringing in for Black Friday 2012)

I would urge each of you to pry yourself away from your computer and support your local hobby shop this Black Friday.  Please check out the shop list above in this article to find the store near you, and thanks to Panini for bringing back the most successful manufacturer promotion my store has ever seen.

Mike Fruitman owns Mike’s Stadium Sportscards in Aurora, Colo.  You can read his column here every week, focusing on what products are selling best in hobby shops. 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 at  [email protected]

About Rich Mueller

Rich is the editor and founder of Sports Collectors Daily. A broadcaster and writer for more than 30 years and a collector for even longer than that, he's usually typing something somewhere. Type him back at [email protected].

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