The ULTIMATE Card Shop — Your Input Needed!
I love card shops. I’ve loved them since I was a little kid growing up in the late 80s and early 90s in southern California. Even though they were everywhere, the hobby was booming so there was plenty of business to go around. By the time I returned to the hobby in 2009 I realized that it was MUCH harder to find a card shop than it was a decade earlier.
A lot can be said about why card shops have slowly drifted out of mainstream popularity, but the most common reasons I’ve heard are:
—The popularity of the hobby has decreased exponentially since the early 90s
—Manufacturers allowed online wholesalers to sell directly to the public at razor-thin margins, thus under-cutting the brick-and-mortar shops that must charge a profit in order to keep the lights on
—The increased cost of sports cards has made it harder for “Average Joes” to collect
—Local card shops suffered due to ineffective business/marketing/sales practices
—Manufacturers began marketing more towards adults and less to kids, so the future of the hobby has stalled
—Over-abundance of cards in the 90s caused values to plummet along with the hobby’s reputation
Honestly there are a million reasons why we can’t find card shops as easily as we used to. But this article isn’t about that. It’s about designing the ULTIMATE card shop. Many of you have followed me along on my never-ending “Local Card Shop Road Trip.” If there’s one thing I realized during my travels it is that card shops are as unique as the people that run them. I’ve seen beautiful, organized card shops and I’ve seen clutter-filled, messy card shops. I’ve been kicked out of a card shop at 7pm despite the fact that I just walked in 15 minutes earlier after a six-hour drive and I’ve been in card shops that treated me like a life-long friend on my first visit.
—–So here is my question: If we had an unlimited budget to create the perfect LCS, what would it look like?
I’ve spent a lot of time day-dreaming about this and I think I have some good ideas. I’ve been inspired by my favorite card shops, restaurants, stores, man-caves, and a lot of other places. The following is a brief list of some of my ideas to get your creative juices flowing…
—Modern-aesthetics (lighting, wall-mounted shelving, sleek art work)
—Flat-Screen TVs mounted all over
—Make the “counter” a bar-like environment with bar stools to encourage folks to hang out
—Beer on-tap (and soft-drinks for the kiddos)
—VIP room that can be used for box-busting-parties, case breaks, video breaks, illegal poker games etc.
—Offer every customer to video-tape their break and post it online for them
—Have a “Wall-Of-Fame” where top customers and top pulls can be honored
—Have a couple of iPads available on the counter for web-browsing, pricing lookups, etc
—Contests, Contests, Contests (Prizes/Prizes/Prizes)
—Golden Tee arcade game
—Exceptional organization/cleanliness (including SUPER clean bathroom with Dyson hand-dryer)
—Leather couches to loung on
—Darts and/or pool table
Basically, I would want to make the card shop a place to hang out, to talk sports, to drink beer, and bust wax. I would love to make the card shop a place where everyone goes for march madness, fantasy football, the playoffs, etc.
——What do YOU think?
——What would YOU add or subtract from this list and WHY?
——What makes up YOUR ideal card shop?
Give me your thoughts in the comments below…I will compile the responses to the best of my ability and make some mock-ups of the ULTIMATE CARD SHOP.
I will also send out some nice prizes to two random commenters.