Tony Reid offers his weekly dose of happenings inside Sports Zone, the Central Pennsylvania shop where he works.
It was back to work and back to reality last week after a memorable five days at the National Sports Collectors Convention in Atlantic City,
It was somewhat nice to be back in the typical routine but at the same time I was still going back to last week and sharing my experiences from The National with so many people who came into the shop. I’m already looking forward to my next trip.
For the first time since I’ve worked here, shop owner Jason and I were out of town on Saturday, so there were some challenging times for the people covering for us. They made a number of calls early on to Jason and they made the best of a different situation and to be sure, we appreciated their ability to step in. Running a sports card shop has plenty of challenges beyond just acquiring product and manning a register and staffing is just one of them. Collectors expect you to be open during normal hours and we try to be as much as we possibly can.
We got our first run of 2021-22 Prizm Basketball blasters in store this week.
Not surprisingly, our collectors were all over them. I quickly refreshed the computer and our Ship Station account and we literally sold out of the blasters with in minutes. Some customers were ordering quantities of one or two and some were ordering quantities of five, six or more but they were gone in an instant. Many of them seemed to sell on our Wal-Mart account, where we also sell. By late morning on Thursday, we had everything shipped up and shipped out.
We received the news midweek that GTS was going to be losing the Topps account at the end of the year and that left us wondering what the future holds for our situation in terms of acquiring products and receiving allocations moving forward. It’s definitely an interesting time and the landscape of the of the hobby and business is changing rapidly.
We had one of our new guys at the counter with a few young customers late this week as Jason and I were busy doing other things. Our guy was taking an extended period of time with these young men, who didn’t seem to be making any purchases. I came out front from the backroom at one point to see our new employee handing boxes to the customers so they could choose their own pack. Anyone that’s been in the business five minutes knows exactly what that means. They were trying to feel for thicker packs to hopefully hit a jersey, memorabilia or an autograph. We didn’t jump in the middle of the transaction. We let it play out and, interestingly enough, the fat packs the kids chose didn’t hold anything of any significance but we made sure to pull our guy aside after the fact and explain why that can’t be done. Just another learning experience and some light shone on some nuances of the hobby that newer employees might not be fully aware of.
My son was once again off on a couple of football recruiting visits this week. During my Thursday lunch break i was able to join him at Susquehanna University, which is just a few minutes down the road. It has a beautiful campus, great academics and a very strong football program. It’s definitely towards the top of his list. I raced back to work to finish the day strong. That being said, I will be working at 5AM on Sunday mornings for a few weeks to make up for the hours I lost while attending The National and all that my kiddos have going on in the upcoming weeks. I’m lucky to work somewhere that I can take an hour here and there when need be because family comes first and those moments with them only happen once. The orders and everything at the shop can wait.
On Friday, we got more new product including 2022 Panini Legacy Football and 2021-22 Recon Basketball which generally sells really well for us. We also recently received a few boxes of the new Pro Set Multi-Sport product. Friday afternoon we decided to open one for the store. I was a fun, fast break, as the boxes consist of two cards, both autographed and encapsulated. We pulled two all time NFL greats in Ray Lewis and Troy Aikman.
After a Saturday off to spend time with my family, it’ll be back to work on Monday. The summer has been a busy one in the hobby and it’s been fun to be in the middle of it all.