The Death of the Hobby Shop (via Wax Heaven)


This is one subject I can relate to first hand as I had one of the first or earliest shops in the greater Sacramento (California) region. I had already been doing indoor shows and outdoor events up and down the West Coast for the previous 5 years prior to opening up a full time retail shop. I was the 4th shop to open within a 30 mile radius back in 1985… still a few years before the glut of card companies, the proliferation of “insert” cards and of course all the investors that got into the market for a quick turn around or payoff and ruined it for the die hard collector hobbyists.

By 1989 there were over 100 shops within that same 30 mile radius and within a couple of years, about the time of the first Gulf War back in 1991, about 90% of those were gone. I weathered it out as best I could, relocated and re-emerged with a variety of other pop culture collectibles to make up for lost revenue with cards. “Pogs” were just beginning to take hold but I knew those would be a passing fad.

I learned as time went on that one has to diversify with other “trendy” or “fad” items that are “hot” at the time. About the same I also pursued other favorite collectibles at this time including the emerging video game market, comic books, TV and movie memorabilia, records and music collectibles, die-cast cars such as Matchbox and Hot Wheels and non-sport cards. Gaming type cards were still a few years away but the foundation was laid with some early-issue Dungeon & Dragon cards as well as TSR cards.

Previously to opening up a retail store I had already spent a lot of time traveling on the road doing flea markets, swap meets, card shows, gift shows, antique & collector shows, mall shows, toy shows, county fairs, street fairs, community festivals, etc. from Vancouver, BC to San Diego, Tucson to Denver, including big cities and small town places in between throughout the western 11 states. I first started doing this around 1980 so I was already quite diversified.

I lasted 22 years with a brick and mortar type store and ended up closing shop for good in early 2007, right before the economy began it’s downward spiral. I let a lot of stuff go cheap  through yard sales and flea markets as well online through eBay, before the greed and the “mass exodus” away from eBay started shortly thereafter. I switched to Amazon and simultaneously began other online venues and presently finding myself favoring Craigslist (as far as dealing with the local clientele)

Lots of memories were brought back by this article.

The Death of the Hobby Shop I remember the last time I bought baseball cards before my 10 year break. I had just bought a box of some Upper Deck product and felt nothing—no excitement, no joy in the pulls, and certainly no thrill whatsoever. At 17 years of age I knew that it was time to move on. Back then there were considerably less products being released per year and THREE sports cards shops within 10 minutes of my house. Today, getting back into collecting took a lot … Read More

via Wax Heaven


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