Tony Reid offers his weekly dose of happenings inside Sports Zone, the Central Pennsylvania shop where he works.
When you run a store that deals in sports products, you can expect a fantasy league of some sort to break out and we’re no exception. Aside from our always eventful Monday morning madness, the biggest highlight of last week was our annual Sports Zone Toys & Comics Football Draft.
It’s a much talked about and ballyhooed event that the store has held for almost ten years now. We make a reservation at our local Buffalo Wild Wings and play our live draft out in person in real time on the patio.
Many of the shop’s employees are in the league as well as a few friends outside of Sports Zone walls. We’ve got food and beverages, big posters with draft prospects and lot of preseason pigskin talk.
The draft went really well and I, of course, feel like I drafted the squad that will be the last team standing at the end of the season.
On to the week at the shop….
It was definitely noted by everyone at the shop when the 1952 Mickey graded an SGC 9.5 sold for a record 12.6 million late last month. Although it was big news with employees there weren’t many customers that mentioned it or made note of it. I did bring up the topic to a novice customer who literally didn’t believe what I was telling him.
Panini Legacy Football has always been a fun product for us. Although clearly not super high end, this mid to lower end product has always offered great bang for the buck. At a price point of just a few hundred bucks— which in today’s market isn’t bad–we’ve always seen some very nice hits come out of one of the shop’s favorite releases. This year was no different as we opened a box for packs and immediately saw a beautiful Aidan Hutchinson Futures RPA.
The Detroit Lions’ top pick is featured in his Michigan uniform accompanied by two pieces of the Capital One Bowl logo found on his jersey, a sticker auto and the nice cracked ice style gold background.
Another fun, lower end product we saw this week was the brand new Wild Card Matte. For less than $50 you could pick up a box of this product and hit four autos.
We got a limited amount in the shop and once one box was opened, we ran through pretty much all that we had. We had customers pull autographs of many of the young skill position players including Breece Hall, Garrett Wilson and others. It’s hard to beat pulling autos of players you have actually heard of for just a few Andrew Jacksons.
They’re available on eBay for just a couple bucks more.
Along with unopened boxes and single cards you find in a typical hobby shop, we have an eight foot section dedicated to pretty much any cardboard box, top loader, sleeve, album, page or any other protective item that you want for your collectibles.
So what sells best these days? I’m glad you asked. We go through piles of the 3, 4 and 5-row “monster” boxes every month.
We also carry one row sizes ranging from 100 to 800-count but the majority of those aren’t great sellers in the shop.
As you might imagine, we sell standard top loaders at a high clip and standard penny sleeves as well. We carry many of the thicker toploaders but they are not good sellers for us in part, due to the popularity of magnetic cases, which we also carry in a wide variety of thicknesses. We carry binders and pages traditional collectors like but those are rare sales at the store. At least in our experience it seems like people looking for sleeves and pages are either newer, very young collectors or older folks who are going through boxes trying to find a way to display their cards. Few customers between the ages of 18 and 35 purchase binders. I’m sure I’ll get a comment or two at the store this week from people who are advanced collectors who use binders, so I will wait for them to come in and talk to me.
An item that’s kind of random that has always sold really well for us are the 187MM vertical booklets. We started carrying them about a year ago and have them listed online. We sell multiples of them darn near every single day.
The week ended with me heading to Altoona for my son’s second high school football game of the season. It was one for the Reid record books as he led his Altoona Mountain Lions to a big win over Taylor Allderdice of Pittsburgh by a score of 35-14.
My guy had a nice 38- yard touchdown reception early in the game. He followed that up with a key interception on the goal line to end a long drive by the opposition. He then had a four-yard touchdown run that put us up big in the second half. He closed the game out with a game sealing second interception late in the 4th quarter. Tyson was named the Altoona Mirror Player of the Game.
I’m proud of him for his on the field efforts and also for leadership in the huddle…and I’m collecting more pictures of him in action these days than I am of any football card.