Mark Fugate, owner of a Cincinnati area card and memorabilia shop, didn’t wait to close his Sports Gallery. Days before the state of Ohio ordered the closure of all non-essential businesses, Fugate locked the doors on his store.
“Nobody wants to close,” he said. “It’s very tough. But baseballs and bobbleheads are not essential at this point in time.”
The Sports Gallery is also known for hosting regular signings with current and former Reds players and other athletes and doing private signings with players. That, too, has been put on hold. Some of those scheduled events turned into a bit of a logistical nightmare since the wheels were already in motion.
He told the Journal-News that he can survive a couple of months of downtime, but he’s trying to maintain perspective.
Long-time Atlanta area shop owner Joe Davis was also among the first shop owners to shut his retail store.
His business is another example of why having a strong online presence is vitally important for business owners. His ‘Got Baseball Cards’ eBay store has over 600,000 items including vintage cards and modern era boxes. His business also does box and case breaks.
With so many people asking how they can take advantage of what had been a strong and often explosive market, especially for new products, Davis says it’s the first piece of advice he offers them.
“It’s very tough to open a brick-and-mortar store and try to live off of that. I always encourage people before they open a brick-and-mortar store to build an online presence whether that’s an eBay business, launching a website, building a good social media with breaks or all of the above.”
He spoke with Geoff Wilson about the Coronavirus impact on the hobby and more.
Own a hobby shop but can’t open because of COVID? Know someone who does? We’ll put your website, Facebook page and/or eBay store onto a special page so folks can support you. Details here.