Tony Reid chronicles the happenings inside Sports Zone, the Central Pennsylvania store where he works.
This past week at the shop was one where I definitely felt thankful to have people in place to have the work life balance that I do.
My son was competing in the final district track meet of his high school career on Tuesday and Wednesday. My wife and my father went on Tuesday and I was able to leave a few hours early and get there for the finals on Wednesday. The good news is that he earned medals in three events. Friday was his senior prom so we made another trip to Altoona (our third this week) to see him and his prom date Ella all dressed up before the big shindig. Again, I was able to leave work a few hours early so I wouldn’t miss one of those landmark occasions with my only son. Those moments are far more important than anything that is going on at the shop and I hope other shops have the same kind of teamwork in place that we do so I don’t have to miss them.
As far as actual news from the shop this week, we had our official Skype call with our PSA representative. It answered a few of questions that have popped up recently and we continue to send in stacks of cards through our dealer account.
One of our long time friends and a guy who wheels and deals and buys all kinds of stuff himself was in this week telling us of his successes on the Whatnot selling platform. He raided our $1 and 50-cent boxes that he sells there for five to ten times that amount, if not more. Everyone has a side hustle but when the money is that good–even a few bucks at a time–it’s understandable. The shop hasn’t dipped into the live selling arena much but whether it’s live sales or posting cards in Facebook groups, on Twitter or elsewhere, there are certainly plenty of outlets to do that today.
As you can see through our Brief Box Breaks series here on Sports Collectors Daily, we crack pretty much every new product that comes in the store. If you’ve been following along over the past few months, you can see that most of the time, our results have been less than spectacular. It’s a tad discouraging because we’re not even coming close to meeting our dealer cost let alone making money at a retail price point, so I understand the frustration of collectors who buy boxes to open and wind up disappointed. I’ve personally all but sworn off buying boxes and packs myself. I strictly buy the singles I want to add to my collection and I’m far happier in doing so than wasting hundreds, if not thousands, on boxes where I get five percent return on my money and don’t find the card I’m looking for anyway.
Here’s a quick update on our cat and mouse game with some of our distributors. The entire basketball world, including card collectors, are waiting for the first officially licensed Victor Wembanyama cards. Well low and behold, we are seeing his first autographs in the new 2022-23 Bowman University Inception product.
Naturally, we asked our direct account handler if we could get as many cases and boxes that they could supply us. I’m sorry to have to say we got absolutely zero. Not a single case. Not even a single box. I couldn’t even have bought a pack direct if I wanted to rip one. Of course, they tell us they are working on it but even after we’ve bulked up on the low end, the carrot still dangles as we try to get some higher end product direct. By the way, I want to add a nice Caitlin Clark auto to my PC as well.
The week ended with another local card show in our fair city at the Susquehanna Valley Mall. My daughter Izzy and I were excited to head the center court and see what all the dealers had in store at their tables. As always, I saw a number of familiar faces and even some eyebrow raising people with tables set up at the show. Our customers are turning into dealers and sellers. I love it. It is always great to see so many local collectors turn out. One in particular was a familiar face who’s been our customer for a number of years now. Ty Kurtz of Shamokin usually stops by the shop with his dad towards the end of business. They’ve bought countless boxes of mid to high end product over the years. We always love seeing them come through the door because it’s always great conversation and generally leads to a fun sale. I stopped by his table which he was manning with his mom.
Isabella and I were talking about what cards and players she was looking to add to her growing collection. Her favorite player is still Cooper Kupp. She also loves Ja’Marr Chase and Patrick Mahomes. She has good taste. We were going through few of the five row boxes and I managed to find a few nice and inexpensive Kupps for her including his 2017 Optic rookie, another rookie year card out of Contenders and a nice Mosaic Prizm from recent years.
When I walked over to Ty and asked how much he wanted he looked at me like I was crazy. He said ‘They’re for her, right?’ I said yes, they are for her. He simply gave the cards to Izzy and it absolutely made her day. She had a smile that lasted until she fell asleep on the car ride home. Those kinds of interactions really warm my heart not only from a father’s perspective but from a hobby perspective.
Shortly after we left the show, I did some running around and put some last minute finishing touches as I held a surprise 40th birthday party for my lovely wife that night.
Talk about a full week.
I wouldn’t have it any other way.