If this past weekend’s Dallas Card Show were, a restaurant or a hotel you would probably expect a five star rating. Vendors, card collectors and promoter Kyle Robertson all expressed a welcomed surprise for the success of the hobby’s first sizeable show to open its doors while the nation is still reeling from the pandemic. His event at the Delta Marriott Convention Center in Allen, TX brought out dozens of dealers and hundreds of collectors over the show’s three day run.
“I didn’t know what to expect with the turnout,” Robertson admitted Saturday. “I was just happy to have the show.”
Not all of Robertson’s regular vendors were quite ready to resume meeting and greeting the public. With fewer tables than normal, there was room to social distance if you were so inclined. Some attendees wore masks. Most did not. Hand sanitizing stations were set up. Some dealers took time to wipe down areas of their booths where others had been spending time.
“I’m actually a person who runs some smaller shows in the area so I’m glad to see that people are willing to come out because this is a very nicely laid-out room,” said long-time collector Rich Klein. “My only disappointment would be that not more people are actually wearing face masks because of everything going on.”
Most shows across the U.S. and Canada went into hibernation in March, once the pandemic’s impact began to be felt. Dee Witt of D’s Sports Cards & Memorabilia of Odessa, Texas was happy to see a sense of normalcy return. “It’s been a great response. I think people are kind of tired of being at home. It has been a great turnout and people are excited about getting out and doing their favorite hobbies again.”
Witt was also using the show to replenish his inventory, which had been depleted by strong online sales over the past few months. “It’s getting tougher and tougher because like in the example of basketball that is going through the roof, you sell something and when you go to replenish it it’s costing more than what you’re selling. It’s always a work in progress.”
Dallas show regular Brian Livingston was also there to stock up. “When COVID-19 hit, it coincided with us shutting down some of the restaurants we owned and selling them off.” Livingston then took to eBay. With no restaurants to run, his wife had a lot of free time to help with online sales. “She spends 3-4-5 hours a day doing the work which now lets us get a lot more out there and get things moving again.”
Livingston’s new business model has prompted him to only do one show a year now and use his other time buying inventory from other dealers who physically set up at shows, paying cash and then taking those purchases online. “I bought up a lot of inventory here today spending over $2,500 as I picked up a lot of stuff that was maybe was slow selling for them but we can list it on eBay.” He encourages others to follow what he and his wife have been doing. “I think it’s important for the hobby to have a mix of internet and eBay dealers and physical show dealers. That is helping the hobby tremendously in North Texas,” said Livingston.
The show came with its own emcee, local sportstalk host Kevin Hageland of 105.3 The Fan. “Man, I talked to a bunch of the vendors and everybody has been super hyped-up. There’s a lot of people here,” said Hageland. “I think we’ve had three months, more or less, of build-up and anticipation. I’ve seen an ungodly amount of cash just sitting on some of these tables.”
Ryan Larson of R J Duke Sports appreciated Robertson’s efforts to get the show back up and running. “I’m very proud with what Kyle put on here with the situation that we’re all in with the pandemic. Just being able to bring folks back together again. I think everyone seems to be very happy about this great big room. It’s excellent place for a card show.”
Here’s one collector’s video from inside, including a look at a newly-graded BGS 9.5 1993 SP Derek Jeter: