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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Card Shop Review: Heaven Sent, Tualatin, OR

The thing about Oregon's geography is that we have 7 or so towns of note and of those 5 are on I-5. As part of my job I often head up the freeway to the Portland "area" to conduct hearings which gives me an opportunity to check things out. I have also been looking for BCW 3.5 MM top loaders that comfortably fit those pesky Donruss, Topps and UD patch cards. Donruss claims their cards are 94pt. Lies all lies I tell you. Anyway, tired of buying the slightly too big 130 pt ultra pro loaders at 5 per pack 2.50 a pack, I thought I would search for the BCW's. I used my handy dandy Iphone to locate Heaven Sent Sports Cards located at 7014 Sw Nyberg St, Tualatin, OR 97062. The shop was located very near where I was headed so I stopped by.

The parking was nearly impossible in the front. Having never been there before, I had no idea of the plethora of parking in the back. Apparently I was not the only one as people were lined up for parking in the front, with no one in the back. I noticed a small sign to alert me to the parking in rear.

When I strode, yup strode, to the front of the shop, I noticed it was very deep with things everywhere.
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This shop has everything including just about every type of supply out there. In addition there is a wall of wax with an excellent selection. Although not apparent from the pics, it is very well organized with clearly marked boxes of commons and such. It is a bit overwhelming when you first enter.
I asked permission to take the pics and told the owner I would be doing a blog post about it. He seemed a bit oblivious to the online community.
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There is also quite a selection of non-card items.
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Here is the issue with this shop. The wax is super expensive. I noticed a box of 2008 baseball heroes with a tag of $100+. These go for $53 when on sale at Blowout. I picked up my 5 boxes for $45 a box. Granted you can't get that price every day. The owner and I talked about the difference in online prices versus his own. He said that he had no idea, while knowing the cost of wax, how the online sellers could possibly sell wax for the price that they do. He told me that he doesn't even try to compete on wax price. That led me to a thought of how this guy stays in business given his high overhead. This shop is located in a pretty nice area and rent must be atrocious. I suppose I can't fault the guy then, but $115 for a hobby box of 2008 Leaf Rookies and Stars Football is just silly. If I remember correctly he had $100+ of Football Heroes too.

In comparison, the Shop that Stole Christmas sells 3 row shoeboxes for 3.50, Heaven sent charged $4.95. The 120pt or 3.5 MM toploaders were 3.95 which was still less than two packs of the 5 ct UP 130pt loaders.

If you need a hard to find item this shop is for you, just be prepared to pay for it. I would reccommend that you avoid wax at this shop because it is just too expensive. I have yet to be in a shop where wax was competitive with the exception of the Springfield Sports Cards located at145 n 5th St in Springfield, OR. If you recall I paid $90 for a box of Sports Legends when on ebay they ran $70.

Heaven sent is a nice shop and I'm not trying to bash the guy for his prices because he is trying to make a living, but to buy wax there you have to really want to support him or have no idea of online pricing.

8 comments:

Ross said...

Interesting read Thanks

Rod said...

The owner is a friend of mine and I work there sometimes to cover for him. He really doesn't have any problem selling the stuff at those prices, I have two boxes to people at the same time. Until recently he has people who buy those boxes and stand there and rip em right there. I drive all the way over there from the east side of Portland, cause he has stuff so well organized. I will call him and alert him to stuff I see online, I told him about Panini and the NBA.

stusigpi said...

Rod

Its a very nice shop and I was certainly impressed with it. I do plan to go back and buy things from him. Thus the review was in no way a knock against the owner. I actually feel a bit bad because I understand his issue with competing with online sellers. In fact I applaud that fact that he doesn't pretend that his prices are near what they are online.

Anyway, I think Heaven Sent is case study of the issues that shop owners face and why so many shops are disappearing. I hope Heaven Sent is in business for years to come.

Rod said...

I understand. It is interesting that there are people who sell and shop who aren't aware of everything going on online. It is almost like there are two collecting communities living in parallel dimensions. Have you ever checked out Baseball Cards and More in Portland.

stusigpi said...

I haven't been to that shop. I may go and check it out, but I honestly only go to shops to pick up supplies and now that I know that HS has those toploaders I might go back if I need more, although I bought 8 boxes of them thats all he had. I just can't justify buying wax from shops at the prices they charge which leads me to my next point.

You mention the parallel collecting worlds of offline and online buyers. I honestly don't know if the people that spend 50% more on wax in shops are aware or unaware of the online prices. What I do know is that there is a significant number of people that do not "believe" in the internet. They have no idea how it works and they think its a sham. They cannot fathom that you can actually buy things and get things. Silly as it may seem.

Others don't trust it. They see all the news stories about hackers and think that if they transmit their credit card numbers over the internet, then some hacker will ruin their life. My brother had dial up internet and I finally convinced him that the IP address changes every time you log on, thus someone would have to randomly come upon your ip. It just doesnt happen. Anyway, lack of knowledge and ignorance can be damages, conversley, knowledge is power.

I have a hard time deciding whether I begrudge people that spend $40 bucks more on a box than they have to. I suppose it depends on whether they do it knowingly to support the shop, or out of fear of the internet or blind ignorance.

freeandylaroche said...

My one visit there, I noticed he had (in addition to the noted expensive wax) retail wax as well. Since this shop isn't exactly close to home for me, I don't know that I'll ever visit again, but I was kind of confused at seeing WM/Target products at a hobby shop.

stusigpi said...

There are a number of larger sellers that have got their paws on retail stuff and sell it. You can get blasters from Blowout as well. Blowout also seems to be pushing retail boxes of Mayo for $350-$400 per case.

I think this is a new strategy to give more price choice to customers. The question is whether the price is that much less than their hobby prices.

Beware of any retail wax from 2002-2006. It is absolutely dreadful.

vince311 said...

I live in Tualatin and had stopped into this shop several times over the years. Last night I noted that the shop is empty. Not sure if they went out of business or moved to online?