I say often that I’m actually a really big fan of rain. Most people’s first reaction to that is some level of bewilderment.
This week even put a rain lover like me to the test and had me asking Mother Nature what the heck was going on.
Between Wednesday and Thursday, we saw over seven inches of rain fall in our fair city thanks to the remnants of Hurricane Ida. That’s a large amount of water but ultimately not that big of a deal other than some minor flooding on streets and roads around town… until your roof begins to leak in a multitude of places.
We are in an older building but have nearly completely revamped and renovated it top to bottom with the exception of our roof. Some of that rain made its way into our building during the ongoing deluge. Thanks to a quick fix by our construction guys it didn’t become a major issue. We did actually close the shop down early Wednesday to avoid having to swim home.
Daryl McKay, head of WE Are, LLC, has been a long time friend, advocate, supporter and on some level a partner of ours in getting quality products in our store. He ran Oyo and knocked Super 7 action figures out of the park for us among many other lines. He is now launching a new product called Jersey Fusion, which incorporates game-used relics onto existing cards.
I have long been a proponent of legitimate game-used pieces and swatches on cards and have been completely turned off to “event used” type material which, to me, is just random decoration rather than a piece of the game which collectors expect.
Daryl spent time set up at The National and upon his return home sent me a care package which included an old Upper Deck Ted Williams card turned into a piece featuring Williams’ game-used pants from 1969, when he managed the Washington Senators. It’s a unique way to combine existing cards with new pieces of memorabilia. I think Daryl could be onto something here and he’s definitely doing things the right way.
We have been saying for quite some time now that we needed to open accounts with the major grading services and start offering bulk submissions and things along those lines. Well, clearly we waited too long to pull the trigger on that but we were recently able to open a dealer account with CSG and we will be fulfilling orders and sending cards in through that company shortly. We’ve been getting a lot of questions in the store about what CSG is all about and I think it will be a great partnership moving forward.
While I’m talking about topics that we were late to pull the trigger on, you can put box breaks on that list, but that’s about the change. The shop’s summer assistant, who has some breaking experience, is going to help out. In working with us while he was off from college this summer, we had approached Kyle about the idea of breaking for the store, as the two of us who manage the place simply just don’t have the time. He’s agreed to do it, so in the near future, you will see Sports Zone Toys & Comics doing live breaks for the first time ever. It’s another element that we hope will connect collectors to the store, no matter where they’re located.
When you’re shipping several hundred packages a week, the schedules and services of UPS, the USPS and FedEx are kind of a big deal. There were a few days this past week where we weren’t getting our UPS deliveries until 3 PM or later. Some of those packages we typically receive include cards or other items fulfilled by Amazon that we normally try to get out to customers who’ve ordered them the same day either via the post office or FedEx. Those late deliveries from UPS mean any hope of getting the orders out in our normal manner isn’t possible because our mail carrier and FedEx driver have already come and gone for the day.
Our UPS driver told us that they are on a new system where their entire routes are calculated, monitored and all but big brothered all day long. The new route has him doubling back, dropping off on the other side of town, on the other side of a one-way street and all kinds of logistical nightmares. Better yet, if the drivers break away from their assigned route, even if it’s the logical thing to do, they’re actually being disciplined up to and including termination. As with a lot of things that come down from the corporate level, it really doesn’t make a lot of sense in day-to-day application. Here’s hoping they review the process again and we can get back on a normal schedule.
It is the season for vacations and I will be taking my turn shortly so Shop Talk may take a break next week. I’ll be sure to check back in soon, though.