Tony Reid offers his weekly dose of happenings inside Sports Zone, the Central Pennsylvania shop where he works.
It was another week full of new releases at the shop.
We managed to secure a solid amount of 2022 Topps Chrome baseball. One of the more popular products by any measure, we received hobby boxes, jumbo boxes and blaster boxes, all filling our shelves. A few of our regulars were in before I even got the boxes priced, anxious to rip a box or two. The guarantee of two autographs in each is a draw, even if prices are well beyond what they used to be.
Topps had done quite a bit of promotion for Chrome and they’ve been offering three different configurations on their website. It’s become quite a staple in the hobby, having debuted way back in 1996 as quite the groundbreaking product. Thousands of singles have already been pulled from boxes by collectors, breakers and dealers and listed for sale including plenty of Julio Rodriguez, Oneil Cruz, etc.
Update 9/20: Over the weekend, it was discovered that there were none of the advertised SSP rookie cards in the product because of a communications issue between Topps and the company that actually packages the cards. We’ll have to see how this unfortunate issue plays out but we’re hoping they’ll make it right with customers at all hobby shops.
We also got a very limited selection of 2022 Immaculate Baseball. This higher end product is a strong seller that offers a very nice card design, high end hits and some of the better rookie cards and inserts in the hobby. We moved our few boxes online before we even had a chance to sell any in store. Even without MLB licensing, the four autographs and two memorabilia cards per box offer a pretty decent back for your buck with boxes at just over $300.
We carry a wide array of Imports Dragon sports figures and we got the newest series of football players in this week. This fun line and cool new series features Cincinnati Bengals quarterback and wide receiver duo Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase. Kansas City Chiefs all pro tight end Travis Kelce, Los Angeles Rams all-world wide receiver Cooper Kupp and Philadelphia Eagles Heisman Trophy winning wide receiver Devonta Smith are also included.
These have sold so well for us both online and in store that there have been times in the past that we’ve had over 100 sealed cases in storage, ready to crack and ship. It probably comes as no surprise but the Josh Allen figure from the last football series has been on fire, as we sell double digit figures each week. The Patrick Mahomes piece from the previous series is still selling well for us, too. “Sports card” shops who overlook demand for these types of collectibles are missing a pretty good potential revenue source.
As I’ve mentioned many times, we serve more than just the sports collectible side. Easily one of the least favorite aspects of my job is our weekly (Friday) RC car part delivery and, in turn, relabeling and shipping to Amazon. This process is more than tedious as we print labels for and repackage and ship thousands and thousands of small RC car parts to send and sell FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon). The owner is a big RC guy and to keep this ship (or car) moving full steam ahead, we do what we have to do.
It’s important, though, that we make an effort to connect with every customer who comes into the shop, even if they’re not traditional collectors. We do sell a wide variety of products and a good portion of people that come in aren’t looking for baseball cards, so when we do have those folks come in my ears perked up and I go out of my way to be the person that takes care of them.
We have customers of all ages, personalities and quirks.
Over the past few months we’ve had a special young man probably in this early 20s named Nathan come in for cards in a very regular basis. Sometimes he wants to buy ultra modern boxes or packs looking for autographs or memorabilia and other times we piece together two, three or four row boxes and sell him random singles from our inventory at the store. He’s always a trip. Sometimes he comes in flashing a lot of money and other times he swipes his card five different times before he leaves but he always does it with a story and a smile. One of our other customers had seen him earlier in the week walking around town with two young ladies in tow. He took a great deal of kidding and gave us a special strut before leaving the shop.
I hope everyone reading this had as good of a week as Nathan did. Until next time.