Hobby Musings: Stores are gearing up for National Hobby Shop Day Part 2 – Back for another year, National Hobby Shop Day will be taking place at over 100 brick and mortar card shops across the country on December 8th. Offering a variety of free hobby goodies for people who come to the stores, the event is a fun day for shop owners and customers alike. In addition to the fun, it’s also a good day for shop owners to catch up with their customers while potentially meeting some new faces.
Ahead of the this year’s #NationalHobbyShopDay, I had the chance to catch up with a few store owners to find out what they had planned for their customers. Those responding were Indy Card Exchange’s Jake Patrick, Triple Play Sports Cards’ Dennis Worden, Bases Loaded Sports Collectibles’ Jeff Szczesek, RbiCru7 Sports Cards & Collectibles’ Ryan Bannister and Sports Card Junction’s Chad Weldon.
KS: If you had to make a tweak or change to how the promotion is conducted, what would it be?
JP: The only change we would consider is the timing of the promotion. The holidays are pretty busy already and with this only being a couple weeks after our big Black Friday promotion, it’s a quick turnaround. But we know every shop does things differently, so the timing might be better for others.
DW: I would like to have all the promotional items sooner so I can really make a cool display. Getting the memorabilia early is great but would like to have packs and supplies for at least a week to show them off. That also gives some time if something goes wrong with a UPS/FedEx delivery.
JS: Make it a full weekend to allow parents and kids with busy schedules to get in between Friday and Sunday.
RB: That’s a good question I had to stop and think about this one. Because we use social media to our advantage, I would encourage the National Hobby Shop Day flyer in the future to have a hashtag of some sort that coincides with that year’s National Hobby Shop Day. That way fellow shop owners and collectors could search that hashtag to see all the shops pictures and videos on this day. We have been using #NationalHobbyShopDay and #NHSD when we are advertising the countdown to the event. We always enjoy to see what other shops are doing at their event, not to mention pulls from boxes by collectors.
CW: The promotion is being run well, the only thing I may change would maybe extend it to a full weekend promo as not everyone is available on the same day.
KS: A lot is made today about the internet’s impact on hobby and how it is become a dominant factor in it. That being said, why do you feel the brick and mortar card store is still an important component of the hobby?
JP: Brick and mortar will always have a place in this hobby because customers will always seek out fun experiences. Nothing can replace coming into a card shop, talking sports, searching for specific cards, and busting packs and boxes in person. The online market is huge and will continue to grow, but as shops, if we can create a good experience for the customer, they will want to come back because it’s something that you can’t get from buying online or participating in online breaks. To have those cards in your hands and to be able to open packs and boxes yourself on big release days in a crowded shop with people getting excited as big hits are pulled is just too much fun to miss out on. So as a shop, if we do it the right way there will always be place in this great hobby for us.
DW: Most people like coming to our retail store because we try to make it fun for them. They like community and meeting other collectors. Store owners can be a good resource of information on new products. Customers want more than just a transaction, they want a place to hang out, talk sports and buy the cards they want. They enjoy showing their good pulls with others who are shopping at the time and they enjoy watching others open their products.
JS: After over 36 years in our family business, we still believe in the customer service aspect of business that our customers are the #1 priority. In our region, the Sabres and Bills drive our industry for brick and mortar, internet will always be there, but strong and competitive teams continue to help us serve the community.
RB: To me a brick and mortar card shop is like a barber shop/hang out for collectors. We have several regulars who make it a daily habit to come to our shop not only to rip boxes and talk cards but to talk about anything. May it be sports, life, movies, TV shows, product or anything of that nature it creates an atmosphere for people who share similar hobbies. However it has created so many friendships not just for us but for fellow collectors. We have noticed this over the years that cards bring these collectors together only to open up a new chapter in their life as friends.
CW: The B&M store is the MOST important part of the hobby. We are the ones on the front lines assisting collectors in-person on a daily basis. While breaking gets people interested in the hobby, we are the ones explaining products, helping kids find their favorite players’ cards, showing customers what supplies to get etc. The nostalgic feeling of a card shop and camaraderie is huge for this industry.
KS: As we near the end of 2018, what would you say is the overall state of the sports card market?
JP: We believe the market is as strong as ever. Sports & Entertainment continue to gain even more popularity in the US & the world, and that is trickling down into the card market. At our shop, we have seen an increase in new customers, especially kids. It seems that more and more kids are getting back into collecting cards, which is always a great thing for the hobby. We also saw the power of this hobby at this year’s National Sports Collector’s Convention with the huge crowds and amount of money being spent. The hobby is in a great place, and everyone involved just needs to make sure to continue working hard to keep it that way and never stop trying to improve it.
DW: I have been involved in this hobby for about 30 years now, owning my own store for 18 of those years. This is by far my best year and I would say the hobby is as strong now than it has ever been. We have seen some great rookie crops the last few years in all sports. We are seeing a lot of collectors from the 80’s and 90’s getting back into the hobby as they now have kids in that 5-10 year old range and are collecting with their kids. The collecting bug never left these parents and they are seeing how cool cards are today and sharing that fun with their kids. Also we are continually learning how to do promotions better and how to take better care of the customer, not just make a sale.
RB: The hobby is stronger than I have ever seen it. As a fellow exhibitor/dealer at the National Sports Collectors Convention every year, we can usually determine the strength of this hobby by not only our sales, but the amount of collectors we come into contact at this event. After leaving Cleveland, the same agreement from fellow dealers/collectors was “This hobby is alive and better than ever!”
CW: We opened up in 1995 in a 200 square foot location. Ever since then we have always been looking to grow. That is just what we did until the housing crisis. We had several really bad years but over the past 6 or so years we have had continued growth. 2018 was our best year in company history and we hope to beat that in 2019. The hobby is extremely healthy and I love seeing how many kids are getting back into it.
For more hobby musings from Kelsey Schroyer, follow him on Twitter @KelSchroy75.
Hobby Musings: Stores are gearing up for National Hobby Shop Day Part 2
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