I want to start this week’s Shop Talk piece off by talking about a shop other than ours, or at least our relationship with another shop in our area.
Long before I got hired at Sports Zone, our shop owner, Jason, dealt with another shop in our region to fill some of his inventory needs. Truth be told, it really wasn’t much of a relationship because the owner of the business was almost always short, uninterested, and bordering on bending flat out rude to Jason on many occasions. Although I never dealt with this owner directly, I’ve heard more than enough stories from many worthy sources over the past few years to form a pretty solid opinion of this gentleman.
If it wasn’t for the fact that Sports Zone was spending tens, actually hundreds of thousands of dollars buying overstock inventory from this shop, there really wouldn’t be a relationship at all as the owner made no effort to really even be decent, but business is business. Somehow, it worked for both of us but it was certainly a less than perfect situation.
Well lo and behold, after nearly four decades in the industry, the owner sold his shop to another gentleman we’ve known for quite a few years.
In just a few weeks time, it’s been like night and day. Now when we call this shop, the new owner is outgoing, understanding, flexible and generally great to work with. If anything, he’s bending Jason’s ear daily as he tries to learn his way about the business of running what to him is a very new, very large shop. We even went so far as to trade product this week as we needed a few boxes of this and the owner needed a few boxes of that. A shipping label or two later, we all had what we needed. It was a beautiful thing. I can’t say that ever happened in the decade of relationship with the prior owner. We’re definitely looking forward to many years of a great relationship with the new man in charge.
A Winning Walk-In
My favorite moments in the store are when customers bring collections in for us to buy. Luckily for me, that scenario happened multiple times this week. One situation arose when a customer called to say he had tubs full of cards and a few other somewhat organized boxes he was hoping to get rid of. Obviously, when someone calls and says they have tubs of cards thrown together, you’re not expecting anything other than bent corners, rough edges and far, far less than mint condition cardboard.
The customer brought in exactly what he said he had, which was tubs full of cards. They met their fate after a snafu where some of them fell from the shelves where they’d been stored. The guy also brought in some pretty well organized stuff, some of which Jason bought and some of which I bought myself.
I went through the five row box that Jason bought and I was amazed by the content and quantity of awesome stuff. As I thumbed through the first row, I pulled a raw 2012-13. Prizm Klay Thompson rookie in pack fresh condition. We pulled a ton of early Bryce Harper and Mike Trout cards, a seemingly unlimited amount of color, serial numbered and parallel cards of many superstars. It was just an absolute win.
I bought a small box and, of course, I am now the proud owner of three monstrous Rubbermaid tubs full of mishmash. For what I paid, I couldn’t possibly pass them up. Combing through them as I initially made my offer, I saw a Travis Kelce rookie card, so I made an offer based on that alone.
Luckily, I found a second one as I was going through stuff after the fact and also found a number of other solid rookies and parallels. Of course, I found plenty of beat up junk wax, too, as is often the case with collections like this.
Of course, you always wish walk-in collections are full of Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron and Sandy Koufax, but deals that have popular modern cards are a win-win for us and for the person who just wants to be rid of them.
I can’t tell you how much fun I had going through those cards. I saved a handful for myself. I gave a few boxes to Goodwill next door and I threw out the stuff that just wasn’t salvageable.
If It Doesn’t Fit, You Must Resubmit
Sometime mid- week I received a missed call from my good buddy Neil. I didn’t get a chance to reach out to him before he started texting me his good news.
If our readers remember a few months back, he submitted a 2000 Victory Tom Brady rookie card to PSA through the shop. Unfortunately, it came back ungraded as “miscut.” We weren’t quite sure why. Well, he sent the same card out through another dealer and came back a PSA 10. As anyone who has ever graded cards knows, sometimes the second time (or third time, or fourth time…) is the charm.
He was overjoyed and I was overjoyed for him. He’s a collector, not a flipper and that’s definitely a long-term PC hold for him.
I also finally pulled the trigger this week and reserved a table for the next card show at our local mall. So, I’m organizing cards, brainstorming ideas for sales and I’m securing a few showcases. That experience will definitely be the topic of a few pieces I write moving forward.
Well, that about wraps up a fun week. We had a pretty busy, card filled Saturday. Now it’s home to watch some college football Saturday afternoon and then watch my fantasy team make me want to quit fantasy altogether and turn the TV off Sunday, if they take the field at all.