The owner was out of the shop last week as he headed down south in order to get a beach house he owns ready for the crazy summer season ahead. This fact left me manning the shop for the week. Over the past few years when he was out of town I was basically on my own with a few hours of much appreciated help here and there but beyond that the shop was a one man show.
To be completely honest, we are just way too busy for that to work anymore.
This past week I had our buddy Zach helping me ship out orders every morning, Monday through Friday. He would be in by 8 and help me ship up to about 10:30 or 11:0 AM, which was (and has always been) immensely helpful. We have a great system in place and like a good team, we know where the other one is going to be in order to get the job done. Well, that and we laugh our behinds off every time we work together, which is a nice added bonus.
Traci has been brought on in recent months to help with the afternoon duties. Whether that means listing new items for sale online, helping go through seemingly endless boxes to find something we need and/or a million and one other tasks, she is up for the job and has been tremendously helpful. Thankfully, she was working almost every day this week as well.
We are a wide-ranging hobby shop, stocking products that go well beyond sports cards and we sell a lot of it to customers all over the country. We recently hired a gentleman by the name of Felix who happened to be a long time customer and conveniently lives a block away from the shop. His interests and knowledge are geared (no pun intended) towards RC products including remote controlled cars, parts, paints, bodies, and all of those things that are well outside of my wheelhouse. He is still learning the ropes, as he’s only been here a few days but he was also helpful. Our shop owner’s dad was also here in the afternoons with things that, again, are way outside of my comfort zone.
And last, but certainly not least, we brought our good buddy Matt on for a few hours each afternoon just to tidy up with shipping and help out wherever we needed to put out fires. Matt and I have known each other since darn near elementary school as we played pee wee football together, battled on the baseball diamond and all that fun sports stuff as kids. He’s hopped right in and learned the basics of our shipping process pretty quickly so that’s been a huge help as well. Now, if I could just get him to stop talking about his glory days on the wrestling mats.
We definitely kept it moving this week as we were as busy as ever but I can’t even describe how nice it was to be relieved of some of that weight on my shoulders that I felt every other time Jason has gone away in the past. It’s not always about helping out with the big stuff. Sometimes it’s nice to have some help with the small stuff, too. I pride myself in working in an efficient and organized fashion and I think the staff appreciates that fact.
It’s all a testament to how busy we are and the machine that we have to keep oiled. As all shop owners know, there’s much more to a good hobby shop than selling cards, looking at collections and talking sports all day. Here’s hoping we always have great people to work with and great help every other time we are short staffed.
We are definitely busy enough to need all of that help. We’ve had some new customers come in this week who have been spending big bucks with us. Apparently a number of buddies have recently decided to partake in adult beverages in the evening while sitting around together and cracking open boxes of football cards. And when I say buddies I mean multiple buddies. When I say boxes, I mean multiple boxes of cards and when I say “often” I mean about every other day. They are darn near buying us out of 2020 Football but they seem to have an affinity for Select, Mosaic and Chronicles. That’s not saying they haven’t dabbled in other products but they are buying hot and heavy. It’s great to see them every few days and hear about their hits and even their misses. A few of the guys have told me they’ve been out of the hobby for nearly 20 years and I told them they are definitely making up for lost time.
I’ve been saying for a while now that 2020 Football is the new 2017 Football. With the incredible draft class including arguably the two best young QBs in the game in Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert along with arguably the best young receiver in the game in Vikings star Justin Jefferson coupled with the best young RB in the game in Jonathan Taylor, 2020 product is drying up and I suspect it’s going to keep climbing in value.
One of our best customers came in mid week to open a few packs and he was more than happy that he did. Dan opened two packs of 2020 Topps Update Baseball and pulled a Wander Franco #1 Prospect autograph numbered to just 25 copies.
To say he left with an ear to ear smile is an understatement.
2021 Phoenix Football has been out for a little while now and it’s been selling really well for us, especially online. We have Hobby boxes, H2 boxes and more. We’ve been selling through our supply of Hobby boxes at a fast pace and at the moment I’m writing this we literally have one box left.
2020-21 Revolution Basketball made its way to the store recently and I don’t think we have sold a single box. I think the production delays are starting to wear on certain customers and, beyond that, there’s definitely a level of confusion now as to what year’s products we are seeing. It’s getting harder and harder to keep it straight and as time and seasons pass, its not going to get any easier.
On the baseball side, we have brought in various iterations of 2021 Big League Baseball including Hobby boxes, blaster boxes and other fun stuff. It’s a really fun lower end product aimed at young people but really pretty enjoyable for all ages. At a price point south of $50 on the high end, its hard to argue against the bang for the buck on this one–even though it’s a much delayed product from last year.
The week when by quickly (and very smoothly), so I couldn’t complain if I wanted to. After a quick Sunday off we will be back at it again Monday morning.