This week was another busy week in store and online just as we expected. We continued to see increased traffic in store and increased online sales. We openly wondered when it would slow a tad, as the various shipping services are getting to the point where items aren’t guaranteed for Christmas day arrival. That pending fact hasn’t stopped our online shoppers.
Luckily for us, we really haven’t seen any major issues with supply and demand chain in the lead up to the holiday. Other than the usual few products we sell through that we are scrambling to get back in stock from our vendors or suppliers, it has been smooth sailing. One piece of advice or warning that many of our vendors are giving us is that we can expect to see shipping rates and costs go up drastically come January 1. That’s obviously not ideal but we will do what we have to do to make things work and make sense in our day-to-day business.
One trend we’ve seen recently is that of people coming in to sell us raw cards at graded prices. Now this isn’t anything new if you are a member of any of the thousand card collecting Facebook groups but we really haven’t seen it ourselves in store until a few people came in with this perspective this past week. We had one on one gentleman come in with single cards to sell with a printed out Excel spreadsheet inventory of the cards he had and what they were selling for at PSA 10 prices. The only problem was that the cards he brought in were raw. So, conveniently for all of those involved, next to his PSA 10 prices he had a column of what he thought these cards would grade at and, in turn, sell for and that’s what he was ultimately looking for in cash or trade value. I can’t make this stuff up. Clearly, we were not buying any ungraded card at a PSA 10 price point and we sure as heck weren’t accepting this random customer’s assessment of what the cards would grade out at…not we can even get cards graded at the moment anyway…unless you want to shell out a two or three Benjamins for each one.
Saturday was National Hobby Shop Day, an annual event that’s designed to increase store traffic between Black Friday and Christmas. With prizes and free food, it’s always a lot of fun and we see an increase in store traffic.
The event sponsor, GTS Distribution, promotes it well and sent us some great stuff to use as giveaways. Earlier in the week, GTS a huge care package that included a hobby box of 2021 Topps Baseball. We received a wide array of loose packs to give away including old Player of the Day, Father’s Day and other promotional packs. We received break mats, Sports Illustrated for Kids uncut card sheets and a number of other cool items to give away. GTS also send sleeves, top loaders and boxes as a part of the prize pack.
The grand prize (or prizes) were two certificates for a free card grading from Beckett Grading Services. At this point in time those have a retail value around $200-$250 each.
The company was not specific in terms of guidelines as far as how to handle the giveaways, so we improvised. First of all and most importantly we had pizza. Plenty of nice, greasy pepperoni pizza for me. That’s always a good start to the afternoon.
We offered a gift bag for any purchase, while supplies lasted. That consisted of the SI for Kids sheet, a couple of loose packs, stickers, mini balls and other goodies.
We offered the bag plus an Upper Deck Hockey break mat and two more higher end loose packs for every hobby box purchased, while supplies lasted.
We offered a ticket for our end of the day drawing for every purchase of $25 or more. So, you got one ticket for each time you spent $25. If you spend $100 you got to drop four tickets in our prize box drawing. The end of the day drawing consisted of us giving away the two BGS certificates, a few Panini Soccer cereal boxes and other various packs and lesser items.
We had a solid turnout once the day really got rolling, with strong sales. Two of our regular customers won the top prizes and we had a good time chatting with everyone about the hobby, sports and anything else that came up.
All in all, it was a very successful promotion and a lot of fun was had by all.