**NOTE: This article was first published on 1/2/12, on TheFootballCardBlog.com. Since then, I have let the old store URL from the story lapse, but I am (slowly) working on a new store at http://www.thesportscardmarketplace.com/ – more on that in due time…**
When I was a child collecting sports cards (mostly baseball, back in those days), I always dreamed of opening my own card shop. The closest true shop to my house was a comic/card shop about 20 miles away in a much bigger city, which always seemed like the ultimate place to work (I was into comics for a while in that time period too). There was a video rental store in my home town that sold cards, too–the owner was a collector, and that’s where I got most of my collection.
Of course, this was in the days before hobby vs. retail, jersey patch cards, autograph inserts and serial numbered cards. In fact, when he started getting in the 1990 Upper Deck, and packs went up to $1 apiece, is when I started to lose interest in collecting (the first time). I probably hung on a bit for a year or so after that, but it was never quite the same.
Fast forward about 20 years, and while I still think owning a card shop would be cool, I don’t have the same passion for the industry I once did. In fact, I don’t believe I’ve bought a pack in at least two years, which goes a long way to explaining why I hardly ever post anything here anymore. I still stop into my local card shop somewhat frequently, but mostly because I’ve become friends with the owner, and I’ve done some business with him (selling cards and building websites).
While the concept of running a card shop still appeals to me, I also seriously doubt that the hobby could support many more stores in our market–there are at least four physical stores in the Twin Cities (although one focuses on vintage stuff), fairly spread out–even if I were to want to look at opening one, the best markets would be considerably out of the way for me.
However, being a bit of a web geek, the idea of starting an online shop has also always been in the back of my mind. The main reasons for not doing so are that, while I am a web geek, I’m not really a technical web geek, so coding a shop (even starting with an open source platform) would have been a time consuming challenge, and the payment gateways that allow you to take credit cards typically charge fees that would discourage somebody from dabbling in running a store.
However, a couple months back, I came across an article in a magazine about a service called Goodsie, which was an online ecommerce platform designed to make it easy for not-so-technically savvy people to put up a ecommerce store. I filed it away, but then came across another article a few weeks ago talking about it, and took it to be a sign that I should at least check it out.
So I started playing around with it, and found it fairly interesting–setup was a breeze, design wasn’t too hard (not that I’ve pushed the envelope there), and product entry was relatively painless. It’s not perfect, but I’ve had a positive enough experience that I thought I would open it up to the public and see what happens.
So, if you have a few minutes, please check out www.TheSportsCardMarket.com and let me know what you think.
A couple of things–there’s only about 20-30 cards on there right now (all football right now), and I never expect to be a super high volume seller–more just selling off some of the stuff from my collection that I think people might be most interested in, at prices that I think are reasonable. If you’d like to find out if I have more cards of a player, or haggle on a price, in most cases I’ll be open to it–think of it as an eBay store that is more open to communicating and with fewer fees for me as a seller.
So let me know what you think!