Tony Reid chronicles the happenings inside Sports Zone, the Central Pennsylvania store where he works.
There has definitely been some good-natured ribbing back-and-forth in the shop over the last couple of weeks between the owner and I as he is a Boston Celtics fan, and I’m a Philadelphia 76ers fan. As anyone who follows basketball knows, this Eastern Conference semi finals showdown was a back-and-forth series that resulted in the Celts moving on to face to Miami Heat for the right to go to the Finals.
It was a great series with Jayson Tatum showing why he’s one of the top five players in basketball and my guy, Joel Embiid, playing like an MVP (for the most part) while James Harden was maddeningly inconsistent. He’s given us some great games and some below average games. There have been big leads grown and blown on both sides of the court and it was a back and forth slugfest until Sunday’s Celtic blowout. After his 51-point Game 7 record breaker, I suspect we’ll be seeing some strong interest in Tatum cards at the shop in the days ahead. The big stage can definitely drive interest in players who perform well on it.
As I’ve mentioned in previous Shop Talk pieces we are far more than a sports card shop. Among the variety of things we carry is a large selection of Super 7 action figures as well as the vintage styled Mego figures. The vast majority of these action figures sell really, really well for us, especially online, and are a staple of our inventory and daily sales. This past week we got a huge restock and new order shipment to keep us busy for a while. It was a lot of little plastic men.
On a somewhat related note, we made the decision to update our long existing Sports Zone Toys & Comics logo. After nearly two decades of the same thing, it was time for a little update and jump into the new millennium. We went from straight red, black and silver text to adding a little graphic and a softening of the font a bit. I think it’s definitely an upgrade. It looks more professional, more sleek and modern than our previous logo did. We had four images that were in our Final Four and ultimately decided on this one. It really encompasses the variety of items we offer at the store and online.
Something else we are doing this week to build our Sports Zone brand was to add yet another in-house product. We’ve worked hard in developing and growing our Gem Mint boxes, our In the Zone boxes, our Mint product as well as a number of other offerings. A few years ago, we had what we called our gold, platinum, and diamond subscription boxes. Each box consisted of a number of packs and guaranteed hits and sold pretty well for us, so we’re going to bring those back in a similar format. The very near future to expand our own portfolio of products.
There was some pretty rainy and chilly weather in our area last week and our walk in traffic dipped a bit. We haven’t seen some of our regulars, which is not good. However, I worked Saturday and had a great conversation with two kids who were in with their father. These youngins were extremely passionate about football cards and knew a ton about the sport and the hobby. It’s always refreshing to have young people that really know what they’re talking about.
A nice added bonus and job perk for me personally is the fact that, over the course of the weeks and months and years I’ve worked at the shop, I’ve been able to buy and sell a lot of my own sports cards. From social media posts to walk ins or people I’ve known or developed relationships with over the years, it’s been a really fun and fulfilling part of my job to be able to buy and sell a few cards here and there. That really helps me feel like I’m in a real true baseball card shop each day every day, which is the dream. Obviously, I don’t step on any toes and, for the most part, the shop gets first dibs but I’ve been able to acquire a nice inventory, especially in recent months. The picture below is a small sampling of my stuff that has begun to overtake parts of the store.
After a Saturday in the shop, my older kids made their way home and along with my young daughter, we took my wife out to celebrate Mother’s Day Saturday afternoon and evening. It was a great day with those I love most. I hope each of you had the opportunity to celebrate with the special ladies in your lives.