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Stopped in the LCS . . . one year later.
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Platinum Card Talk Member
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I stopped in one of my local card stores today. First time in probably over a year due to covid, lockdowns, and just in general they didn't carry much that interested me.

I expected some changes when I walked in to the store, but I didn't expect the changes I found.

50-70% of all the display cases with individual cards are now Pokemon. Previously maybe 10% of the cases had Pokemon. There was only 1 or 2 cases with individual sports cards -- there used to be 7-8. They were selling individual GPK cards -- just a handful -- seemed like they were from the Sapphire release. Previously they weren't selling any loose non-sport singles. The non-sport box situation seemed about the same -- they had maybe 3-5 different boxes -- Star Wars and Walking Dead were the only titles I saw. They had tons of Pokemon boxes. They used to have a 5000 count box of hits sorted by type -- the non-sport hits were all stuff from sports companies or sets -- like Panini Country music, or random Allen and Ginter. These boxes were gone.

They had supplies -- limit 2 per person. I didn't pay attention to specifically what they had or at what price.

They still had quite a few sports card boxes, but a significant number of the boxes are now blaster boxes. I didn't pay attention to which blasters.

They also still have a pile of monster boxes that had what are sports cards (presumably commons) sorted by team -- This takes up probably 1/4 of the wall space in the store.

I didn't buy anything. In previous stops my main interest was the random box of 'non-sport' hits, which was gone. I asked a price on a box of Star Wars signature series -- there aren't prices listed on any of the boxes anymore, which is obnoxious. Signature series was $100 a box -- more than I was looking to spend.

I wonder if other sports card shops are vastly expanding their Pokemon presence. . . I also wonder if they expanded to Pokemon so much because it is available. . . I also wonder if gaming stores have expanded in to sports/entertainment cards with the recent boom.

It was kind of an interesting stop, but wasn't at all fruitful, which matches the last several times I'd been to that shop.
 
Posts: 5130 | Location: Parts Unknown. | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I have a local sports card store and a comic book store. I still pretty much just get supplies from them. The sports place usually has a box or two of topps or RA product. Both stores lean more towards gaming cards.

A friend of mine in Mississippi who owns a card store would have gone out of business long ago if he didn't jump on the gaming market. He can order pretty much any nonsports release you want.

Im not really sure how the current price bubble with non sports translates to a walk in market to where the store can keep a cost effective inventory.
 
Posts: 4072 | Location: Tennessee | Registered: March 09, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by mykdude: Both stores lean more towards gaming cards.

A friend of mine in Mississippi who owns a card store would have gone out of business long ago if he didn't jump on the gaming market. He can order pretty much any nonsports release you want.

Im not really sure how the current price bubble with non sports translates to a walk in market to where the store can keep a cost effective inventory.


Local hobby stores that have managed to survive have all diversified to some degree. The heavy reliance on gaming cards happened quite awhile ago, way before Covid. Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh and Magic boxes plus a couple of other names, along with displays of individual gaming cards for sale, kept the lights on. Related merchandise like Funkos, action figures, various figure lines and graphic novels also increased in volume as the fads came up and old comics and old sports cards collected dust.

As far as sports cards go, the high end products have taken over and they are moving. Boxes costing over $300 are blowing out. I'm not saying that, because I don't look at them anymore, my owner friends at my store are telling me that. They are also blowing through high end UD Marvel, which I have stayed away from because of the cost. What I know sold out is Game of Thrones boxes, including Inflexions and Valyerian Steel, and Marvel. Other non-sport boxes in cheaper prices seem to linger longer because only title fans are buying them.

The same could be said of comics. The old, rare comics have buyers. The old cheap comics lay in bargain boxes, along with the old cheap sports cards and sometimes old cheap non-sports cards. No one seems to be looking through them whenever I am there.

I guess what I'm saying is that, at least in my area, hobby collectibles of all stripes have become an elite market and the more you ask the more buyers you will get. Cheaper product is more for the specific fan base or for the kids. My LHS brings in the big non-sport titles, but I have to try to order other lesser products.

The biggest change I have seen in my LHS over the last 5 years, not counting last year at all, is that they don't buy much off the street and will only look at high end cards or rare comics from a collector. The store just doesn't need to buy collections because their customers only want new product or extremely rare product. They don't want to carry money in basement inventory that stays. That is the way they have survived, plus having a good location, while hobby stores that have stuck to the old model have gone out of business.
 
Posts: 9354 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by mykdude:
I have a local sports card store and a comic book store. I still pretty much just get supplies from them. The sports place usually has a box or two of topps or RA product. Both stores lean more towards gaming cards.

A friend of mine in Mississippi who owns a card store would have gone out of business long ago if he didn't jump on the gaming market. He can order pretty much any nonsports release you want.

Im not really sure how the current price bubble with non sports translates to a walk in market to where the store can keep a cost effective inventory.


It must be nice to have a connection that can hook you up with product. It's great that your friend was able to pivot to gaming cards and stay in business.

I am not sure why, but the sports card and comic stores in the Chicago area were quite a bit different than they are here. It is possible they have changed, of course, but even right after I moved it struck me how different the shops are.

In the Chicago area a lot of comic shops had packs and boxes of non-sport cards. Years ago they had singles too, but those dried up. Here no comic shops carry cards. Nearly all of them used to carry cards, and a couple had some remaining old stock when I moved, but nothing since. A lot of them also carried gaming cards. Many of the comic shops here pivoted to Funko Pops. . . I haven't been to any in a while so I have no idea now that has panned out.

I'm not as well versed in the sports card shops, but I was buying entertainment card regularly at Chicagoland Sports cards when I lived up there, and other shops I visited less frequently typically had some entertainment cards. There are 2 sports card shops here -- the last time I was at the other shop -- which was more than a year ago, it was pretty similar to the shop described above -- a few non-sport card boxes -- slightly better selection, tons of sports singles, but very few non-sport singles -- similar to the other shop had some cross over singles in a monster box.

My issue, I suppose, is that when it comes to boxes/packs I'm largely an impulse buyer. That's why I've been buying a lot on ePack.

That said I'm growing bored of UD products -- when you chase autographs and sketches all the Marvel sets kind of are the same.
 
Posts: 5130 | Location: Parts Unknown. | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by webjon:
They had supplies -- limit 2 per person. I didn't pay attention to specifically what they had or at what price.


I stopped at 2 comic shops today and overheard the cashier at one place explaining that supplies were limited to 1 per person, per day but I don’t know what the customer was buying. At the other shop, the costumer was buying sleeves for his Pokémon cards.

Both comic book shops had some packs, boxes, and singles of Pokémon cards along with some packs and boxes of GPK. It was fun to see a random assortment of Marvel and DC singles at one place and some Godzilla singles and packs at the other shop’s display cases.
 
Posts: 643 | Location: Long Beach, CA | Registered: October 15, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by webjon:
I asked a price on a box of Star Wars signature series -- there aren't prices listed on any of the boxes anymore, which is obnoxious.

Agreed, I hate hate hate this practice. If I walk into a store like that I typically walk right back out.

As far as gaming cards goes, well before COVID I noticed most stores catering to the Magic, Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh crowds, not only having full walls dedicated to packs and boxes but also multiple nights a week for tournaments. I think those products had been keeping most hobby stores afloat.
 
Posts: 1429 | Location: NJ | Registered: August 28, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by mykdude:

A friend of mine in Mississippi who owns a card store would have gone out of business long ago if he didn't jump on the gaming market. He can order pretty much any nonsports release you want.
.


You talking about Vans?
 
Posts: 5741 | Location: Meridian, Mississippi | Registered: November 23, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I stopped at a comic shop that has moved around but is still doing okay. It was mostly comics even up to maybe 7-8 years ago. As Raven noted with her shop, this place is more diversified with a lot less comics and more games, some Funko Pop, some figures, and some Japanese imports. Years ago, they still had some cards and some card magazine back issues but they have absolutely zero trading cards now. The manager said trading cards just don't sell so he stopped carrying them years ago. It would take months to sell packs out of a box so they filled the trading card space with other things that sell a lot faster.

The funny thing is he still collects cards, still trying to finish sets from the 90's and earlier. He added he could still order boxes of cards.

Last week, I bought some supplies at a sports card shop that started selling non-sports again last year.
A box of "The Mandalorian" Season 1 is now offered for $225 and Season 2 is $145. I talked to the manager as I paid for some boxes and widevision sleeves. He said Season 2 isn't selling near as well. He still had boxes of Masterwork and Star Wars Galaxy Chrome but the latter was priced at $225. Ouch.
 
Posts: 3301 | Location: San Jose, CA, USA | Registered: December 23, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by catskilleagle:
A box of "The Mandalorian" Season 1 is now offered for $225 and Season 2 is $145. I talked to the manager as I paid for some boxes and widevision sleeves. He said Season 2 isn't selling near as well. He still had boxes of Masterwork and Star Wars Galaxy Chrome but the latter was priced at $225. Ouch.


Yeah my LHS is still going pretty good, but he's been there over 30 years and has a regular crowd of customers who've been there almost as long. Non-sport card boxes make up only a fraction of his inventory compared to sports and gaming cards though.

An LHS can't afford to bulk order the higher priced non-sport boxes. He's got a couple people, like me, who he knows will buy when they come out. When we stop, the boxes sit until maybe we buy again. The problem is that walk- in traffic isn't looking for these titles and they cost too much to be an impulse buy for someone else. There is no such thing as open boxes anymore, so pack sales on these titles don't exist. It's the whole box or nothing and even the title fan has to cut down when one box costs as much as two or three prior products.

The market for high-end sports boxes is still there, but high-end non-sport boxes sell to a much smaller pool, for a much shorter attention time. Then the store gets stuck with them and that they can't afford to do. I know GoT Iron 1 and 2 is lingering when it should have been long gone, so that's another one not moving on the shelf level.
 
Posts: 9354 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Raven:

I know GoT Iron 1 and 2 is lingering when it should have been long gone, so that's another one not moving on the shelf level.



This brings up that point about manufacturers saying the product was a massive success and they sold out of every box. Well yes it was a massive success for them but if you can find sealed boxes of it sitting on shelves not selling was it a success?

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Posts: 28758 | Location: wolverhampton staffs uk | Registered: July 19, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I wonder how many card shops pre-ordered CZX Crisis on Infinite Earths. The thinking on that product seems to be it'll either be a sleeper hit or an overpriced flop.
 
Posts: 59 | Location: The World | Registered: August 03, 2020Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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Originally posted by Bob Johnson:
I wonder how many card shops pre-ordered CZX Crisis on Infinite Earths. The thinking on that product seems to be it'll either be a sleeper hit or an overpriced flop.


I ordered the same amount as I did for DC Movies CZX.

I had stock for several months of the Movies set.

I am sold out of Crisis CZX on preorder.

Seems popular from my perspective.

Ed

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Posts: 4913 | Location: Phoenix, AZ | Registered: March 09, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by Ted Dastick Jr.:
quote:
Originally posted by webjon:
I asked a price on a box of Star Wars signature series -- there aren't prices listed on any of the boxes anymore, which is obnoxious.

Agreed, I hate hate hate this practice. If I walk into a store like that I typically walk right back out.

As far as gaming cards goes, well before COVID I noticed most stores catering to the Magic, Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh crowds, not only having full walls dedicated to packs and boxes but also multiple nights a week for tournaments. I think those products had been keeping most hobby stores afloat.


I know it keeps my local store afloat. That and sports cards. But, they do stock non-sports, so I’m grateful to have them nearby. I buy my supplies from them because they’re the cheapest around, internet and all. Plus, I like to support neighborhood businesses.

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Posts: 3107 | Location: Queens NYC | Registered: September 21, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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When going to a LHS you have to realize that the staff, or even the owners, may know considerably less about what they are selling than you do. A good LHS has diversified its inventory, but a sports card guy may have limited knowledge on vintage comics and a comics guy may know little about non-sport cards. They may have no idea what the current market price is on anything they have had a couple months when it's not their best subject.

If it's something that's a standard retail item or they know exactly how much profit they need to make over their purchase price, you may see a tag on it. Otherwise there is no tag and they will go look it up, probably on eBay sold listings.

Also some of these stores are used to having haggling customers, which is the thing I personally hate most because I don't try to chew sellers down. All I want is a good, fair price. So the places I avoid is the ones who jack up the price, expecting a negotiation, and giving the better deals to, not me, but people who are a pain in the . . . I don't mind asking for a price and having to wait. If it's not fair, I leave.

Of course that's how I used to do handle it. These days I just stick with my home LHS and a few trusted dealers. Many options have disappeared unless you get to travel.
 
Posts: 9354 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I stopped by the LHS last year for the first time in 3 or 4 years and was shocked that it was now about 60 % Funko Pops and maybe 40 % comics. No exaggeration
 
Posts: 3212 | Location: NY | Registered: August 03, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Scifi Cards:
quote:
Originally posted by Bob Johnson:
I wonder how many card shops pre-ordered CZX Crisis on Infinite Earths. The thinking on that product seems to be it'll either be a sleeper hit or an overpriced flop.


I ordered the same amount as I did for DC Movies CZX.

I had stock for several months of the Movies set.

I am sold out of Crisis CZX on preorder.

Seems popular from my perspective.

Ed


That's great. Maybe if the set is a big success Cryptozoic will put out some other sets.
 
Posts: 59 | Location: The World | Registered: August 03, 2020Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by Tommy C:
I stopped by the LHS last year for the first time in 3 or 4 years and was shocked that it was now about 60 % Funko Pops and maybe 40 % comics. No exaggeration


I think you just explained why. Big Grin

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Posts: 28758 | Location: wolverhampton staffs uk | Registered: July 19, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I tried to go back to the shop I initially posted about a few months ago, but they had outfitted the front door with a doorbell and you had to get buzzed in. There were a TON of people inside -- seemed like many a pokemon tournament or something. I didn't bother going in.
 
Posts: 5130 | Location: Parts Unknown. | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I don't know what a LHS is, but it sounds like the non-sport market is definitely a fringe market now. Kinda makes me feel special, being on the fringe of a fringe market.

I recently went to a regional collector's show here and noted what kind of newer products were being sold. Much of the same as previously mentioned, out of 150 or so tables I found 2 or 3 that had non-sport products available, with next to nothing recent.

At least I'm in good company Wavey

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Posts: 1199 | Location: St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada | Registered: June 07, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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LHS - Local Hobby Store. Used to be mainly confined to comics and/or sports cards. Can carry pretty much anything you might consider a collectable now, including all types of cards and comic related merchandise, toys, figures, books, vinyl, DVDS, etc. Not stamps or coins though. Those markets never had a cross over for some reason.

Some areas just don't have any local hobby stores still in business and some newer or younger collectors may have never seen a really good one. Yeah, it's that bad now. Frown If you find one, try to support it.
 
Posts: 9354 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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