The Broken Sports Card Business Model

cardshop-closing

As I fired up this blog I realized that I would need to reactivate my Distributor and Dealer access for the wax boxes/cases I will be breaking and selling.  Let me say that after three years away from this side of the business there were some eye opening revelations. 

A classic example is the price I will be paying for the majority of my wax boxes/cases is not much lower (sometimes it can be higher believe it or not) than the price I am quoted from my distributor(s) versus me just purchasing from a large dealer on-line.  I don’t have to name names but I am sure you have visited them before – through sheer volume they are able to offer prices very close to dealer cost.

While everyone enjoys getting a good deal…I would say that card manufactures are taking a shortsighted view for what put many brick and mortar hobby stores out of business. The average profit margin for a small business is 25-35% but I can assure you that what was once a very profitable business selling wax packs/boxes for me in 1989 is no longer the case. Factor in the overhead of a store and employees and you will be have to move inventory quickly to keep up.

Unfortunately the true penalty, as we have all seen this play out, is that new collectors are not found. There is an appeal in the camaraderie one gets being surrounded by other fellow enthusiasts. It is the reason that if you walk in a store now you can typically engage in a conversation with any random customer there and smile as you found someone of like mind.

Our store was a hang-out for young kids and their parents…a place they could bond and share an experience together. The key word being “experience”. I am not saying there isn’t a place for the major sellers of wax on-line, but what I am saying is that more consideration should be put into how to make opening a card store more appealing to a small business owner instead of a losing proposition.

Some ideas could involve exclusive products available only to brick and mortar locations. Or Lowering the volume of product that a brick and mortar store has to acquire would seem logical as they can not keep up with companies that have basically become 2nd tier distributors via the web.

Our hobby will always endure….there is such a connection and history that it will forever remain…the analogy I would use is like a child we should want it to grow and flourish.

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