About Me

Saturday, January 10, 2009

I am opening a card shop.

No gimmick, not a joke. On January 2, 2010 I am opening a card/coin shop with my dad in cottage grove Oregon. I am focusing on supplies, wax, a minimum of high end singles, and set building singles. When I say a minimum of high end singles, I mean very few if any. It will bepretty small and I intend to keep it that way. I haveprojected startup costs at 10-20k because of cheap rental space in the area, I need very few display cases and I don't intend to have a wall of wax. I am not looking for this shop to provide much income although a profit would be nice.

So my question to my readers is: what do you like/not like about your local shop? High box prices. Bad hours? Lack of set building singles from sets such as heritage, Allen ginter, etc? Too much crap? Lack of good wax? Please comment or email me with thoughts.

Some may think my startup projection is low, but consider rent in the area is ~$500, I'm not moving an existing shop nor am I focusing on building a huge stock of singles. Please please comment with thoughts and ideas. Does anyone buy autos, jerseys, or other memorabelia at their local shop?

14 comments:

thenennthinning said...

I think one of the biggest ways to stay competitive is to offer things other than just baseball or other sports cards. Local stores in my area (which are far away) sell mainly sports memorabilia such as player-signed jerseys and balls and such. People are always interested in those for presents and such. Another way is to have events such as player signings, which are always popular and bring scores of people into your store. Lastly, the prices have to be fair and competitive with eBay. One last note is to do what Dr. Wax Battle does at The Backstop on YouTube and that is to have live breaks filmed and posted, which will certainly get more ad time for free on the internet. Maintaining a website for your shop is also a great idea. I have a bunch more ideas if you want to hear them.

stusigpi said...

I would like to hear all of your ideas. Being in central Oregon ian no sure how feasible it is to bring in athletes for signings, but autos jerseys, balls and such might be something I could carry. Rip parties are another possibility as well as trading nights, and even gaming cards. I am looking at having a site but I want to keep my Internet presence at a minimum because of the time committment, I don't want to become too big for my britches, but a YouTube video break channel is a good idea.

Laurens said...

As difficult as it maybe, only have autograph memorabilia [even for display purposes] from companies like Steiner, UDA, et al. You may not be really selling much, but it shows you are dealing with quality.

Too many unscrupulous people figure the local baseball card shop as an easy mark to unload forged autographs and such.

With regular and new customers, show them your shop is a place where they have a friendly face to associate with trading cards. Help collectors by identifying an obscure card, make sure you cater to regular collectors' wantlists or giving away from some freebies i.e. a pack of soft sleeves with purchases over $20, if a collector needs it.

While you have your costs to consider, realize that you'll have products on the shelves for a long time if they are double or triple as much as they would realistically go for online.

Do charge a premium on most products, but gauge which trading card products will fly off the shelves anyway.

Don't be so arrogant to believe people in your community who may collect, do not have access to the Internet.

With some strict rules in place, you can also help local collectors sell their items on Ebay under an account you've established.

Make the store a family friendly place, where mom can pick up a single of a local player who plays professionally or has played professionally.

Have things organized and basically accounted for.

deal said...

I think you will have to get into the memorabilia business.

Clearly mark your prices.

Be friendly to customers.

I don't buy anything but cheap autos in my card shop. but I think that is where they make their money on local teams.

Good Luck and let us know how you make out.

freeandylaroche said...

The thing I love about card shops, as a set builder, is boxes upon boxes of singles to rifle through. There's nothing more frustrating to me as a collector than seeing glass cases full of jersey and auto cards of players I don't want.

The other thing I absolutely loathe is when the shop is so disorderly no one knows where to find anything.

If you could combine the vast selection of vintage and modern singles that Hooker's in Eugene has, with the organization of Mitchell's in Beaverton, and the exact MSRP prices of Thunderbird in Roseburg, I would be beyond stoked.

Sooz said...

One thing I liked about a card shop that I went to in Tampa, they had crazy late hours. It was open till midnight at some night.

They had hours like 1 p.m. to midnight. Since I wake up at noon everyday, those hours were perfect.

Holy Hitter said...

1. Competitive Wax Prices. If prices were within 5 to 10 (10 being the max) dollars of prices I could get at Blowout or DA Cardworld that would entice me to purchase at a card shop.

2. Be flexible. In other words if a guy stars opening packs for a box and then ends up busting the whole box then charge the box price (some shops don't do this...which is sad)

3. Give out toploaders/sleeves to those who get nice cards as a courtesy. Minimal cost to you and a huge benefit cause it shows them you care about cards and the cards they get.

4. Be willing to find some cards for them. Some people (suprisingly) do not have a web presence and therefore don't know they can get that Jonathan Stewart Chrome auto on Ebay. If you were willing to get it for them and charge a minimal fee (to help your profit....like $5) then you could have a good deal.

5. While you may not want alot of wax, having a bunch helps with consumers. Including current products and past years (with big players like AP or geographical players...Jonathan Stewart in your case)....having 2-3 boxes and a good variation allows you to bust open a box to allow pack sales for those who may not be able to spend the bigger price of boxes.

Just some thoughts. Wish I lived up by you I think it would be fun to stop by.

Chris S said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris S said...

A huge thing. A team by team assorted box of low to medium end rookies/inserts/parallels. One great shop I frequent has team assorted boxes in this manner. For example prices are usually 2$ per card or 7 for 10$. In one run I got say a David Harris Bowman Chrome, a Chrome Ref of Dustin Keller, and some Favre base cards from 08. Additionally, he has a binder of jersey/auto cards for 5$ a card. The cards can be valued anywhere from a few dollars up to say 25-30$. I think this really lets the casual collector who collects a specific team or player to get bang for his buck. Alot of times I can't afford to purchase wax and like to go pick up a few singles for under 20$ or so.

Groat said...

Shops that are well organized entice me to stay longer and look around. I believe that I'm not the only one with this inclination.

One card shop I went to in Arizona for a while would give out a raffle ticket with every $10 purchased at the shop. At the end of every quarter, there would be a customer appreciation day. The tickets were used to raffle away GU, autos and team sets of the local teams. The best part about this day (in my opinion) was the deluge of regulars it brought in, spurring pack wars, bouts of trading and great discussions on sports.

Alec said...

I agree with everything else that's been said, but I'd like to add that I love being able to just talk with the guy at a shop. Being able to talk sports, cards and the like really makes a shop worth it to me. Also, this may sound simple, but be open when you say you will be. Too many shops are only open on really odd days or not always open when they said they'll be. If I'm ever in Oregon I'll be sure to stop in!

stusigpi said...

If you could combine the vast selection of vintage and modern singles that Hooker's in Eugene has, with the organization of Mitchell's in Beaverton, and the exact MSRP prices of Thunderbird in Roseburg, I would be beyond stoked.

Hooker's in Eugene is retarded (in a good way). I once saw a monster box in his backroom that said '63 Fleer. It was full of 63 fleer baseball. I even commented that I had never seen a set of those, I think he said there were five in that box minus stars, but he had those too. He is a good guy, at least he was to me when I was buying tons of silver age comics from him.

I haven't been in to mitchel's or Thunderbird. I don't see myself as having that kind of inventory. As I have said, I do see myself busting half a case of A & G and Heritage type products because those seem to be cards that set builders agonize over. I may even pick up some stadium club baseball retail or hobby dirt cheap to drive traffic.

I do agree that a clean shop with well organized singles is the way to go. Luckily I have a bit of experience with handling a high volume of sorting. It works best if you do it immediately upon breaking the boxes.

Thanks for the comment

Ninja Nate said...

fair prices are a must, and stock products you like, as well as ones you know will sell. Be friendly, even to the 13 year old kid... also, when naming your store if you plan on selling mainly cards - put cards in the name. If selling more than cards, be a collectibles store. that if anything is what i can add to these recomendations

MDA said...

Jeff,

I came across your blog via the Attic Insulation blog post. I have a few suggestions for you.

1. Have reasonably priced cards. A few boxes of 10-cent and 25-cent cards.
Little Timmy might like cards, but might not be able afford to buy the latest high priced pack for $5.

2. Have an area for younger collectors. They'll be the future of the hobby. Entice them now, keep them for life. Really, who cares if the 1990 Topps singles box gets dinged around while they paw through it?

3. Have a trading night every few weeks. A few tables where collectors/traders can come in and do actual trading. No money exchanges hands between the traders. Some oversight might be required so that new traders don't get taken by crafty, cunning types. Sure, in a trade, someone will get the "better" deal, but it is all perception. Be the referee/judge if asked. What you want to do is get the customer into your shop and keep them there.

4. Have a trading bulletin board so that collectors can see what others need.

5. Sponsor "Bad Mustache Card" day. Customers need to bring in a card with a
player's bad mustache in the photo for 5 % off all purchases. This can be
expanded upon. "Bad Haircut Card" day. etc.

6. Don't check the price guide on every card you sell. Especially singles from
the mid eighties. And if you are going to use a price guide, then also pay
very close attention to the condition of the card. Is it centered well? No? A slight corner ding? Yes? Then don't try to charge me a NMT-MT "Book Value " price.