Tony Reid chronicles the happenings inside Sports Zone, the Central Pennsylvania store where he works.
The shop’s owner was in the Carolinas again last week as he continues the process of remodeling a recently purchased retail spot for a future Sports Zone location.
I haven’t really gone too deep into this aspect of hobby shop management in past pieces, but when the owner of a business leaves the area for an expanded period of time, which in our case is becoming more frequent, it’s vitally important that the lines of communication with employees left to run the place are open before and during that time. Spending years as a retail store manager and restaurant manager in previous lives, I know what it’s like to receive endless calls and texts about non-emergencies and things that can be dealt with at a later time or easily resolved by people at the establishment, so I try not to bother Jason when he’s away.
On the flipside from the perspective of the folks that are left behind in Central PA, it’s always good to know if we can expect three skids of merchandise on a Thursday afternoon. It’s helpful to know if there have been delays in shipments. Surprises are generally not received in a positive light when staffing is short. Regardless of what may happen, we always try to roll with the punches and get everything done that we need to accomplish each and every day.
While the owner is away, we take ownership of the store and treat it as our own. If supplies need to be ordered, we order them. If calls need to be made, we make them. That being said, if we find a dusty sign in the back that we’ve had for 17 years and have never, ever used, we toss it. If I have a box of single cards that I think could sell, I’ll price them, and they will find their way to the counter with a nice bright sign on it
Things can get stale at the shop no matter how busy you are, and if new concepts aren’t offered or new ideas aren’t proposed, with some being implemented, it can become very monotonous. Almost every single person has a different managerial or ownership style, but many can be blended or incorporated together, and those ideals can all work out under one sports card roof.
Speaking of pitching in and stepping up, I developed a really awful headache Thursday afternoon to the point where I couldn’t even see straight and I could barely stand up, so by 5 o’clock I was headed out the door. My colleague Felix stepped up and spent the last hour at the shop and went through all of our closing procedures while I proceeded to go home and stuff my face in a pillow in my own comfy bed. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve left the shop early or called in sick over the course of my entire time there, so this is very unusual but when the situation called for it I had to step away so it’s great to always know I have someone I can count on.
This Just In…
We had an absolute pile of new sports card releases come through the door this week.
2022 Topps Chrome Sonic Lite made its inaugural appearance.
With a smaller card count and a (ray)wave of inserts and parallels, it should do well for us heading into Spring Training. Sales are already off to a strong start. People do love just about any Topps Chrome product.
For those who love to pull a bunch of autographs out of a box, 2022 Elite Extra Edition Baseball was a welcome sight.
It’s always fun seeing the first cards of teenagers who may become superstars or may never pan out and do anything at all at the professional level. This annual release from Panini packs ten hits in a 25-card box.
We also saw 2022-23 Panini Revolution Soccer take the field. Truth be told, I’m not much of a soccer guy, so we will price this product accordingly and hopefully, many soccer fans get it in their hands or on their feet.
We even have the high-end 2022 Immaculate WWE jump off the top turnbuckle into the store, brother.
Later on in the week we received our first shipment of the brand new 2022 Donruss H2 Football with Bills QB Josh Allen gracing the box. These boxes also offer some rookie content that isn’t found anywhere else.
Thanks in part to the products that have been released over the last two weeks, we had steady store traffic all week so these seven days pretty much flew by. After working Saturday I was ready for a quiet Sunday at home but we’re back to flinging cardboard as this week unfolds.