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Store owner happy to answer questions

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Store owner happy to answer questions

Postby PonyExpress » Thu Feb 10, 2005 11:55 pm

Feel free to send me an email with any question you have, and I'll be happy to answer them for you. 17 year card store owner here, and happy to help when I can.
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Postby Madison » Fri Feb 11, 2005 10:49 am

Thanks for the great offer! ;-D

I'm sure you will get plenty of questions. :-)
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Postby RyanK » Tue Mar 08, 2005 11:46 pm

Can you tell me why all the card shops around me are leaving?!?!?

im guessing it is not smart to go into the shop bussiness with the world of ebay now?
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Postby PonyExpress » Wed Mar 09, 2005 2:32 am

Actually Ryan, there are a few reasons why the stores around you are leaving, the least of which is EBay. Rather than answer why the stores are closing shop, let me tell you what we do right, and with that checklist, see if the stores have done similar.

1. Over 250,000 star and minor stars in top loads, on display, in alphabetical order AND individually priced for customer convenience.

2. Consistant hours. How many times is a store's hours posted, yet, on some occasions, you find the store closed during posted open hours.

3. Wide selection of wax boxes, and an ample supply of them. Have you ever been told they won't carry a product because its too expensive for you, the buyer, to purchase?

4. Gaming cards such as Magic, Yu-Gi-Oh, and Duel Masters. Some stores want to remain pure sports card stores.

5. Extensive card supplies. Many stores carry only the basics, like 9 pocket sheets, screw holders, and top loads. Our store has over 200 different items for the collecter, even obscure items like 15 pocket pages, 16x20 top loads, etc etc.

6. Family friendly. Our place is clean, organized and friendly. Many wives and mothers feel intimidated with most card stores. A good 30 to 40% of our customers are wives and mothers. They consider our store a retail operation, not some smoke filled card shop.

7. Customer attention. Every customer is greeted upon entering our store.

I could go on, but I'm sure you're getting the gist of it. The days of just opening your doors and expecting business are long gone. We also wholesale to most of the stores in our area, and we've seen a lot of them come and go. Until most store owners recognize that their store is a retail establishment, much like Sears, Toy R Us, and so on, they will continue to fail.

I'm proud of the fact that parents and wives enjoy their experience in our store. For us, its the number 1 reason why our sales continue to grow in a positive manner. Its great when moms bring their kids to our Saturday Yu-Gi-Oh tournaments, and are comfortable in leaving them there for two or three hours, and for a few of the kids, five and six hours, as we allow them to hang around to play Yu-Gi-Oh, Duel Masters, etc well after the tournament is complete. Last Saturday, we had 32 kids for our morning Yu-Gi-Oh tournament, and another 23 for our afternoon Magic tournament. That is a heck of a lot in add on sales throughout the day.

As for your original EBay comment, I find that EBay works as a positive for card store owners. It gives collectors an opportunity to sell their unwanted cards, where years ago, if the store owner didn't want them, the collector had nowhere to turn. Our store is competitive with Ebay prices, both in box and single card price, and in supplies, we are much less expensive when shipping is taken into account. So, in total, this is a GREAT time to open a card/collectible store, providing you follow the basic retailing plan.
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Postby Sticky Spice » Thu Mar 10, 2005 5:42 am

PonyExpress wrote:5. Extensive card supplies. Many stores carry only the basics, like 9 pocket sheets, screw holders, and top loads. Our store has over 200 different items for the collecter, even obscure items like 15 pocket pages, 16x20 top loads, etc etc.

6. Family friendly. Our place is clean, organized and friendly. Many wives and mothers feel intimidated with most card stores. A good 30 to 40% of our customers are wives and mothers. They consider our store a retail operation, not some smoke filled card shop.


Amen to 5 and 6. EVERY collector needs more supplies and has specific ideas about how they want to catalog/store/display their collection. Selling supplies seems like what selling soft drinks is to McDonalds.

I personally kinda enjoy the occasional card shop littered with unkempt boxes of cards, shelves crammed full of dusty faded merchandise, and barely room to walk side-by-side. It makes me feel like I could find a buried treasure. But chicks don't dig this. When you walk into a shop and see comics with half-naked girls on the cover and a poster featuring a Minotaur carrying a bloody flail, you probably aren't going to get the grandmothers coming in and saying how do you suggest I drop this $100 on my grandchild.

As far as Ebay, it saved me. I was a collector. I loved buying packs and boxes aka "shreddin'." I would get all these cool cards, but only a very few of them would I feel like had a place in my collection. I started selling off my inserts to fund my shreddin' habit when I realized that buying the cards I really DID want on Ebay cost me hundreds and even thousands less dollars. The thrill of the auction comes close to the thrill of the pull. I haven't touched a pack since 1998.

My question would be if you noticed that one of your young adult regular customers showed signs of a gambling addiction towards buying packs and boxes, would you do or say anything? And if so, what?
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Postby PonyExpress » Sat Mar 12, 2005 1:09 am

We have a couple of customers who love the gambling portion of it, but both are over 55 years of age, and both have plenty of money to burn. As for young adults, I've made suggestions of product they could get more bang for the buck, and some have followed my advice and have been happy with the results. I haven't witnessed anyone with what signs of a gambling problem, though a few strictly by for the gamble, their purchases are considered within budget of what they can spend.

Its funny you should mention grandmothers. Some of the ones in my store get as much of a kick being there as the grandkids they bring in. One even went so far to admit she was a baseball groupie in her day, and the conversation went so far as we had to step beyond her grandkid's earshot as she continued to tell stories of her "wilder" days, complete with names! Have another one who takes her place in one of our chairs and proceeds to knit for an hour while the kid searches through cards. Again, we go out of our way to make them feel comfortable and unintimidated.

As for your EBay experiences, glad your having as much fun with auctions as you did with packs. You should still frequent a store now and then, even if its just to chat about the hobby or sports in general. Fun stuff!!! Wouldn't want to do anything else ever again in my life but own a sports related store.
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Postby eftda » Sat Mar 12, 2005 4:45 am

I use to collect but i started to view cards as just pictures. I felt that the autographed cards and game used cards, weren't as authentic as an offical game used jersey or bat. Am I missing something? I had a love for card collecting, and now its gone. :,-(
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Postby Madison » Sat Mar 12, 2005 5:47 am

PonyExpress wrote:As for young adults, I've made suggestions of product they could get more bang for the buck, and some have followed my advice and have been happy with the results.


Well, since you mentioned it....... :-D

I'm not a young adult, I'll be 30 very shortly, but anyway, I used to collect quite a bit. I'd buy boxes at a time and trade the inserts for cards that I wanted for my collection (pretty decent Ivan Rodriguez collection :-) ). I did it with all kinds of boxes, from the $20 topps boxes to the $200 Flair, Bowman, SP, etc. boxes. If I were to go out and purchase a box of cards at this time, what would provide the best bang for the buck? It doesn't need to be a high end box either. Just something that's got nice cards and a few guaranteed inserts to make me happy. It could be a $20 box for all I care (are there such things as $20 boxes anymore? Lol. :-D Been 7 or 8 years since I bought one :-b .). Anyway, thanks for whatever info you can provide me with. :-)

Oh, and what state are you in if you don't mind me asking. Texas here. :-)
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Yes doctor, there will be blood.....
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Postby PonyExpress » Sun Mar 13, 2005 12:06 am

Rhode Island here. I've seen some nice stuff come out of this year's Playoff Prestige and Leaf for what you would call less to midrange price. Real good value for the buck. One item I never like to recommend are the Sweet Spot and SP boxes. While if you get a nice hit, its normally a very nice item, the cost of the box for the odds of getting that real nice hit is in my opinion, not worth it.

As for companies putting in decent product for the cost of boxes, I rate them as follows:

Donruss/Leaf: Very good value for the price paid, be it low, medium or high end boxes.

Playoff: Somewhat good. Some products have good value, others not so good.

Upper Deck: Mostly not so good. Though this company normally has the cream of the crop in high end pulls, most products they put out have less than happy results. Too many minor star items.

Topps: They need a clue. Their high end products are spiced mostly with crap. One of their future mid to high end boxes coming out will be Fan favorites, and at about a $100. price range, I'd be a wee bit upset pulling a Joe Pepitone and Dave Steib as my two autographs.

Just a heads up to all folks out there!!! Rumor has it the Players Association will no longer allow any company to produce a card of a player not on the 40 man roster for their regular issues. If true, its a great thing for all rookie card collectors. Unlike basketball and football, when rookie cards are from current issues, baseball has little to no rookies in the product because the Bowman products have produced a card sometimes 2 maybe 3 years in advance. Will make baseball issues far more in demand in the future.

Hope you folks are enjoying this forum, I'm having a blast replying. Keep em coming!!!
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Postby eftda » Sun Mar 13, 2005 3:11 am

That was ALWAYS an issue for me. I'd have 5 rookie cards but none were "The Rookie Card" :-t
Last edited by eftda on Sun Mar 13, 2005 3:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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