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RCLong80

Turning a hobby into a business...

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I live right outside of Baltimore (although I'm not a ravens fan!) and I've seen 3 card shops near me close in the last 2 years. Is it the wrong time to try and turn my passion for the hobby into a business? Are online websites starting to takeover the market?
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  1. lafabj23's Avatar
    Go for it, especially if its your passion. Make people wanna go there, offer things the Internet can't, like player signings, meet and greets with former players, etc. I bet a lot of the old colts and orioles live in the area. Plus I think at some point in the near future, people will get sick of paying these unfair eBay AND paypal fees and the bottom will fall out of the eBay market. It's a tough business to make money, but you can make it work with hard work and good ideas
  2. meuandthelot's Avatar
    Agree with above. Go for it
    Just utilize the internet into your venture. Be extremely versatile..don't be one tracked.
    Also, start small, and stay as small as you can before taking on extra expenses(ie: expanding)
    Nothing wrong with a "Homey" feel
    Good luck
  3. rdmcgrath74's Avatar
    There could be many reasons those first three businesses closed. location, hours, retirement, bad money management, or Attitude ( I've seen people stop going to a Comic Shop just cuz the guy was a D-bag). Try to track as many of those old owners down and ask them, See what you need to do differently, and Ask what was working for them. Plan for no matter what the first 2 to 3 years will be non profit years with everything you make being reinvested into your store, maybe even the first 5 years if it's a tight market, so if you can't live off of a savings or second job you have to consider that as well, and if everything feels right, go for it
    Updated 08-23-2013 at 10:11 AM by rdmcgrath74
  4. Pax of Wax's Avatar
    I'd say "do it". Thats exactly what I'm doing. Especially with a double-rookie hockey season, several big names at their prime in football and basketball, and a huge restructure in baseball...Now is the right time! What we need are more shops and more guys like you who want to take the initiative to out-do the online competition, who have essentially contributed to the major drop in card values and who rip off people via listing fees, final sale fees, and shipping rates.

    If I have to make a few suggestions, here's my take: As others said, start small. Bring in current year cards, some of last year's product, and supplies (high margin on supplies). Also, sell some secondary (convenience) items to draw people in, such as pop, chips, chocolate bars, and gum (you cannot just survive on cards at the beginning). Finally, look for the lowest rent possible on the shortest term lease (for example, see if you could sub lease a spot for two years or set up in a daily flea market or swap meet, or on the lower level of a strip mall). You would be a destination store, so as long as you have lots of advertising and sufficient outdoor signage OR lots of walk by traffic, you'll do great.

    I'm opening in October and am going to be totally different from my competition in town...I'm looking to set myself apart from the rest, and I think that'll ultimately be the key to survival in this rather tough market.

    Good luck!
  5. jrlebert's Avatar
    One other piece of advice that will help bring in TONS of customers...

    As much as I hate to admit it, Yugioh, Magic the Gathering, and Pokemon are HUGE, and account for a large part of business of most of the LCS's near me. Stock that stuff, and hold tournaments. You'll get kids in droves. It may only make you $5-8 a box, but it'll be worth it.