The gentleman who stopped by the shop with a stack of cards last week including a nice 2011 Topps Update Mike Trout RC that I purchased, was back in the store this week, casting a line deep into the water and pulling more out of the Trout stream in his closet. This week, he was carrying another group of cards he was looking to sell, including another Trout Update rookie.
It does seem like more and more people are walking in off the street trying to sell cards to us. We had more people in this week than we had in the previous two months. Unfortunately, much of the stuff thrown on our counter wasn’t worth buying or dealing with but we are always happy to offer a new home for popular cards if the price makes sense for us. Either way, we are more than willing to look at whatever walk-ins happen to come through the door and try to treat everyone with respect.
We’ve had a few collectors come in selling large WWE wrestling figure collections, which we buy (and sell) as well. As a shop, we’ve never been afraid to deal in different items, which attracts more customers than we would if we were strictly cards.
Having visited with Steel City Sports Cards in Pittsburgh on multiple occasions this year, we were excited to open a wholesale account with them this week. They have some incredible price points on some really nice items and we made a relatively large purchase this week. We’re happy to be working with them moving forward, especially with the holidays approaching. Some of the items we ordered have already rolled in. It helps that they’re not that far away.
One of our distributors called this week to ask why we hadn’t signed up for the upcoming National Hobby Shop Day promotion (Dec. 10). Shops are required to order $5,000 worth of products from them and in return, receive free pizza and drinks, giveaway items including autographed jerseys, a couple of modestly priced boxes, some supplies and a few other items. The program has been taking place for several years and is aimed at bringing customers into shops during the holiday season. They try to have 150 participating shops around the country.
Unfortunately, we found many of the products we would have to buy can be purchased cheaper by shopping around on eBay and many of the eligible boxes were from unlicensed manufacturers or were products that don’t sell well for us. It would mean spending $5,000 or more, with the potential to lose a significant amount of money on those items as well as the time and resources involved in carrying out the program on a specific day. While we like the general idea, we decided we could find more reasonable and effective ways to let our customers know how much we appreciate them.
Just like Best Buy, Walmart, Target, and the other big time stores, we have our own Black Friday ad. It’s a two pager that was finalized this week and we were happy with how it turned out. It’s aimed at local shoppers, of course, and features a good selection of the wide array of categories we offer, from remote control cars to action figures to the very successful graded card repack boxes.
While we’ve already seen some holiday shopping, it should really pick up on Friday and Saturday.
On Saturday, we had another local card show at the Susquehanna Valley Mall. I try to attend every time it comes up on the calendar. My wife worked and I was off, so I had my young daugher Isabella with me and we decided to get down to the mall early.
Izzy has become a fan of sports and sports cards, so going in she was looking for Roberto Clemente cards, Ben Roethlisberger cards and Michael Jordan cards. Generally, the show is at center court in the mall but with Santa in town they bumped it down towards the one anchor store. We didn’t see much at our first table but by the time we got to the second dealer we had picked some nice (and really, really cheap) Clemente cards for Izzy. She was a happy camper.
We did a few laps around the show and all the dealers that we interacted with were incredibly kind to her. It really was heartwarming seeing the community come together and appreciate a little kid who already has a love for and appreciation of the hobby. One of our local dealers gave her a Spiderman card. One of the gentlemen who I bought cards from gifted her another Clemente card.
We couldn’t leave without buying a few items for our collections. I was in the Saturday College Football mood and picked up a few Penn State stars for my PC, Including a PSA 10 Larry Johnson Ultimate Collection RPA and Miles Sanders Immaculate Collegiate RPA. Izzy picked up a blaster box of Panini licensed Penn State cards which I might do as a special Brief Box Break in the near future.
I think I saw every single person from our local card collecting community in the mall that day, from all of our regular customers to those we haven’t seen in a while and all of the dealers we interact with. It was so great to see everyone’s face and see everyone still passionately involved in the hobby.
It was a great way to start a college football Saturday as we made it home in time to get warm and watch some games.