Hobby Musings: Stores are gearing up for National Hobby Shop Day – 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: Why did you make the decision to participate in National Hobby Shop Day this year?
JP: We participated in the program last year and had a really good response from customers, so we were looking forward to it again this year!
DW: Last year, NHSD was a huge success for me so it was a no brainer to get involved again this year. Plus, I received several items to give away by ordering product I would carry in my store anyway.
JS: 2017 was very successful.
RB: We actually participated last year and it went over extremely well with our customers that it was a no brainer to take part in National Hobby Shop Day 12/8/18. I reached out to my GTS rep several months before the announcement to see when they were announcing as we wanted to be one of the first shops on board.
CW: I made the decision to have my shop participate for a few reasons. I have a great relationship with GTS and work with them regularly to ensure we have the best product possible for our customers, and having events in the shop is something that I and my customers enjoy. The best thing about my job is having the opportunity to spread the love of the hobby and to engage new collectors. What better way to do that than have a large amount of collectors in my shop on one specific day?
KS: How would you say participating in a distributor promotion like this differs from a manufacturer promotion such as Panini’s Black Friday packs?
JP: The one big difference is more freedom to choose how we run the promotion. The manufacturers promotions have been incredible this year, but we are limited to promoting only their products for their promotions. With NHSD, we can choose to promote anything and do special sales across the board.
DW: This type of promotion lets me promote my whole and not just one sport or manufacturer. These allow all my customers can get involved in the promotion as it is a very easy to get in our drawings for the free memorabilia and packs. This promotion also comes at a time of year when we get a lot of new customers, and it is always nice to welcome them to our store with something free, and be able to invite them back for the special day.
JS: GTS is very concerned that this helps the brick and mortar store from top to bottom, not just on certain products.
RB: FREE! We have received packages all week from GTS with various items to give out for free to our customers. When we participated in a manufacturer promotion, we are required to purchase product to obtain certain packs to then give out to customers with their purchase. With NHSD, we have received so many unexpected items that will be given out to a customer free just for attending. Not to mention our grand prizes. We are giving away signed authentic jerseys of Todd Gurley and Jerry Rice.
CW: I prefer a promotion like this because it promotes the overall hobby and stores instead of select products. Customers still get the benefit of the promotional pack, but they can buy ANY products in the shop to earn them.
KS: Out of all the promotional items being offered by GTS for the day, which one are you most excited to offer your customers?
JP: I think the customers will really love getting some free promo packs, but having the ability to have signed memorabilia to offer as a grand prize for the day really makes a big difference and gets people excited to participate.
DW: I think the autographed memorabilia are the most important items. It allows us to build excitement for the day starting right after Black Friday. Gives us a visual to show them right away with a whole display of items being given away. Plus, we have customers buying extra to get more tickets to the upcoming drawings.
JS: The certified Hall of Fame autographed card.
RB: As mentioned previously we are most excited to give away the signed jerseys of Todd Gurley and Jerry Rice to 2 lucky winners. Just by showing up and supporting our shop on NHSD they have a chance to win one if not both.
CW: I am excited to give away packs to little kids and see their faces light up. Free packs may not be the most high-end cards, but if those packs can get kids interested in the hobby then they are far more valuable than the cards inside. Our customers will also love getting free supplies and some shirts!
KS: Are you doing anything extra in your shop for the day beyond the advertised promotions?
JP: We are doing special wax box sales that get customers entries into our grand prize. We added a few items of our own to our grand prize other than the autographed Andrew Luck mini-helmet we received from GTS.
DW: We will be holding hourly drawings for other items in our store, but mainly using the advertised promotions.
JS: Free pizza and drinks, we’re also giving away free items from our own inventory as well.
RB: Yes, we are combining this event with our Trade Night”, which happens to be our 40th Trade Night since opening our doors in 2012. Instead of the event taking place from 10am-5pm normal Saturday shop hours, we are offering the shop open to collectors from 10am-10pm. They then can bring in cards to buy/sell/trade with other collectors for FREE. On top of that, we have several other prizes we are giving away on top of the items we have received thus far from the manufacturers through GTS.
CW: This year, we are raffling over $500 of our own product, including signed memorabilia, wax boxes, gift certificates etc.
KS: Overall, how do you feel promotions like this affect your business and store traffic?
JP: We believe promotions like this are a huge asset to hobby shops. Days like National Hobby Shop Day get customers excited to come in and feel appreciated and get some
great free stuff, which everyone loves of course! It also allows us as a shop a chance to gain new customers and further develop our relationships with existing customers. We try to always remember that our customers make a choice to come to our shop, but they don’t have to. So we do our best to give a great card shop experience every time someone walks in the door.
DW: Promotions make my business. Customers love community and promotions make people feel like they are part of something bigger. Customers have made new
friends at our promotions and it shows them just how big the hobby is. Plus, everyone likes getting free stuff and puts a lot of smiles on people faces when they receive a free item.
JS: It’s a major traffic increase even if just for 1 crazy day!
RB: There is no question a promotion like this drives collectors eager to be there on this event. We see a promotion like Trade Night bring several collectors from all around into our shop. Being that we participated in NHSD last year on a separate day than a Trade Night, we were in shock how many collectors showed up just weeks after a Trade Night event. That word FREE always gets everyone fired up, bringing more people into the shop.
CW: I think that promotions like this are great for getting customers through the door. Anytime I am able to promote a specific date I think it helps drive sales and gives customers a reason to come out on that day.
This article is being split into two parts. You can read Part 2 HERE.
For more hobby musings from Kelsey Schroyer, follow him on Twitter @KelSchroy75.
Hobby Musings: Stores are gearing up for National Hobby Shop Day
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