For those of you who might not know me, I spent 19 years at Beckett in the price guide area and am now in the ID area at COMC. During the period between those two positions, I wrote a very popular column for Sports Collectors Daily titled “Rich Klein’s Ramblings.” After five plus years of writing the column I had pretty much burnt myself out of writing and now after a 18 month period am ready to write for fun more than to feel the need of a daily web site.
Klein’s Korner: Dealing With Change
So, without further adieu, let’s talk about “Changes”. Changes are mandatory in life because without changes we could never move ourselves forward. This summer, because I have belief in myself that I can write and talk about just about anything under the sun, I volunteered to write and deliver the “Dvar Torah” or what would be more properly called a sermon for one of our services when our rabbi was taking a well deserved vacation.
This was a portion of what I wrote: Over the last 25 years, many businesses have been developed which have taken away the power from the old school way of doing things to a modernized way where the consumer is in control. How many of you have sold items on EBay instead of putting them out at a garage sale or a flea market and hoping you find the right buyer. How many of you have smartphones (a word unknown about one decade ago as we are approaching the 10 year anniversary of when Apple introduced their very 1st I Phone. I remember getting paid to stand on line, since I had just been laid off from the long-term job, and thinking how silly a phone like that would be. Heck, the only provider allowed with the 1st I-Phone was A T & T.
Well, we sure know what changes smart phones have wrought. Now, what do these changes have to do with the sports collectibles business? With maybe one or two exceptions, no one is running their business as they did even 10 years ago. If you are fortunate enough to have shows or stores in your area (we have both in Dallas/Fort Worth) how many of you check your phones or devices (or have your customers check their internet) to see what items are being sold for. I’d say just about everyone. Well, that changes the dynamic for all concerned. Another aspect which changes the dynamic is time as we all get a bit older every day.
I was kind of surprised when I went into my very local card shop (Triple Cards in Plano, Texas) and saw a sheet out for EBay and COMC submissions. I asked the owner whose that was and he mentioned it was the new owner who would be assuming ownership on January 1st. Having seen the legendary Nick’s Sportscards go through a near-perfect change as Dean, who purchased the store from Nick and Debbie Redwine and was their attorney had a six-month transition period.
I watched during that time as the store transitioned from Nick and Debbie handling most of the details to their almost ceremonial presence by the end of the transition. In fact, in a brilliant move, a couple of the part-time employees Nick’s had are still working their normal positions in the store. Seeing them gives everyone who comes in a feeling that nothing has changed. Dean has made some changes but when you walk into Nick’s, the store still has the same feel although some of the accouterments are different. That was a perfect adjustment and a change which has not hurt the business at all.
So, one of the aspects that I will be following in 2018 is to see how the new owner of Triple Cards keeps the business going. Will he do, such as the restaurant next door that had to have new ownership due to the arrest of the previous owner, keep the same people, the same menu and the same employees or will the new owner create a new paradigm of whom his customers and helpers are. This is one change that will definitely affect the local DFW hobby going forward. And as for Al, the soon-to-be former owner, let’s hope he has a long and fun retirement.
Rich’s vast experience and knowledge of the hobby has been well documented through the years. GTS is happy to feature his thoughts on collecting in Klein’s Korner. The opinions expressed are his and do not necessarily reflect those of GTS Distribution.