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  1. #1

    2013-The Death of Local Hobby Shops

    Hey Everyone,

    I have been collecting hockey cards for almost 15 years, beginning when I was about 10 years old. As a child, this great hobby taught me how to care for a collection, money management, honesty, integrity, and it has truly been am enjoyable way to spend my spare time. Throughout my adolescence, I moved from town to town due to my father's career. Nevertheless, there seemed to always be a small card shop in any town I lived in. I had the greatest time checking out those little shops, talking with the owners, building sets, and spending what money I could to keep my chosen hobby sustained. I assumed that the hobby and the shops would always stay that way.........

    For the past two years, I have frequented a small shop near my apartment. During my teens I had somewhat distanced myself from the hobby (teenagers spend their money on luxury crap). When I started back again in 2011, I was happy to see that little had changed from what I loved before. I once again became a dedicated collector and over time, I became good friends with the owner of the shop. While this shop was not the fanciest in the city, and not the cheapest, the owner treats his customers like gold. It's the kind of place you can come just to talk, maybe buy a few singles, open a box, or just be around great people. There have also been many times when I witnessed the owner of the shop show tremendous generosity. There were numerous times when I would see a young kid who wanted a blaster box or pack and didn't come close to having enough money. Despite this, the owner would give the kid the item, simply because it made the child happy. In addition, he is always giving deals and savings to people who are loyal to the store. He's just a really great guy who loves the hobby.

    When the lockout hit, sales went down. Former customers were going to a store across the city to save $1-$5 on a box and it couldn't continue much longer. 3 months ago, I was in the store buying a box and the owner told me that he had to get a job because the current sales could not sustain his modest lifestyle. He also asked me if I was interested in working at the store part-time while he worked at his new job. I agreed. The last 3 months have been a huge struggle and we recently rejoiced when the lockout ended. We were really holding out for the fresh rookie cards which we knew would bring back interest and business. Everyone was devastated when we heard the news yesterday that no more rookies would be produced this year and that many products would not be produced. Here in Canada, we are strictly a hockey country and there is no interest in baseball, basketball or football. One can certainly question how a store is to survive through a lockout without any new products which usually bring in customers and ultimately sales.

    In the end, I fear that most of the smaller shops we love will be forced to shut down because they cannot make it. What I find even more disturbing are the reports that C&C and DAcardworld held a say in what the outcome would be in the production of rookie cards. If true, this would definitely be a conflict of interest as both stores would have great interests in snuffing out smaller competition. With around 8 months until the first release for next year, most smaller shops will not make it through, while the two biggest will surely survive until then. It is also disturbing to consider that a store who is in bed with a company may benefit from preferential distribution and essentially monopolize certain products for monetary gain.

  2. #2

  3. #3
    In The Game and myself personally are going to do everything we can to support our dealers and distributors during this period.

    I could not disagree with this decision more. It serves no purpose and weakens an already weak industry.

    Some say that ITG will have an advantage with few other hockey products out there, well I say "Take away this advantage from us immediately and let the 2012-13 product have rookies in them."

    Brian Price

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by bprice View Post
    In The Game and myself personally are going to do everything we can to support our dealers and distributors during this period.

    I could not disagree with this decision more. It serves no purpose and weakens an already weak industry.

    Some say that ITG will have an advantage with few other hockey products out there, well I say "Take away this advantage from us immediately and let the 2012-13 product have rookies in them."

    Brian Price
    Well said sir! It makes no sense that a company would bury smaller shops which have always been there. There is no doubt something shady going on with these companies and the two major stores. It doesn't sit well.

  5. #5
    Well said i definitely think the same thing... Ud and panini can turn around and produce cards of new rookies where smaller shops were Lready badly affected by this lockout, they dont need such a hit like that again....
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  6. #6
    I buy from smaller shops just for that reason.
    2012-13 Artifacts Jersey/Patch Emerald /75--(138/140)
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  7. #7
    This decision by Upper Deck/Panini seems shortsighted. The local card shop is the "ambassador" for their products. They deal with the customers on a personal level and share knowledge. Why not reward the shops that survived the lockout by including this crop of rookies in the remaining 12-13 releases.
    Last edited by Powerforward; 01-18-2013 at 06:00 PM.

  8. #8
    I do hope that your friend's shop is able to get through this, along with the 100s of other similar shops across the country. I can only imagine how the lockout has hurt the bottom line for guys like that, and no new RCs for 12-13 will only continue that problem.

    What I would like to add though, that unless I read a press release telling me otherwise, I have a very hard time believing that either UD or Panini wanted this. If you (and other dealers, collectors, whomever) are upset - and you've got every right to be - I can't see how anybody thinks that the finger should be pointed in any direction other than the PA's.

    No new RCs this year means that Panini has already pulled products (products they would have made money on) and Upper Deck will likely follow suit. Less products = Less revenue = Less profit. No business on earth would want to run like that. While the 13-14 products will certainly be more loaded than normal, I don't see how that's going to improve their bottom line all that much. If we assume that 13-14 will have a similar slate of products to 11-12..... then we should also assume that the costs for UD and Panini will be roughly the same, and so will the price points on their products. 13-14 may be the most loaded version of Dominion or The Cup (since 05-06) but unless they're going to produce more product, they likely won't make any extra money off the better rookie class.

    Distributers / wholesalers may stand to benefit. A hyped rookie class will likely mean sellouts at stores quicker, and they'll be able to sell remaining inventory at a markup much quicker. LCS might be able to get away with charging a little bit extra, if they're not worried about the inflated price sitting on their shelves (but that, I suspect, will still be hard to do).

    As for any involvment in this decision that DAACW or CNC had.... unless you've got other sources too..... I would hardley call a post by an upset LCS owner a 'report'. "Rumor" or "Speculation" maybe, but unless someone from one of the parties involved will come out and aknowledge it, I have a hard time taking it seriously.

    Even if they were brought into the loop on this decision, so what? If the PA actualy wanted to have a discussion about the topic before the pulled the trigger - I could certainly see the value in brining them into the conversation. They're large volume retailers, and they'd probably have some very good advice to offer, as to how badley this decision will hurt the hobby, and stores specifically.

    At the end of the day, there is no benefit to UD, Panini, CNC, or DAACW to do this. It forces some other stores out of business, and creates less compition for the big retailers? Honetly, how many of those LCS customers are going to flock to either of these stores? I would suspect very few. People who want to walk into a store and buy in person are doing that. People who want to buy online are already doing that.

    If there is a mass shutdown of LCSs, becuase they can't get through the rest of the season, that only hurts the hobby.... and will have negative impacts on both manufacturers & other retailers.

    As Dr. Price alluded to in his post, this isn't even a good thing for his company. Fewer products on the shelves might mean less compition for him during the rest of 12-13, but if this move frustrates collectors that decide to leave the hobby, or keeps new ones out...... and yes, if it forces the closer of LCSs..... that's just as bad for ITG as it is for the other two guys.

    The only party involved that gets any benefit out of this is the PA. Their players (specifically those rookies) will not have to deal with the autograph requests from manufacturers..... autograph requests that surley would have been overwhelming this season, becuase of how compact everything is. Since they are the ones that control the license, and they are the only ones who benefit (even a little) from this.... I can only conclude that the PA is the one who decided it - they were simply willing to listen to counter arguments before they made it official.

    Just to add, I've got two shops that are about a 15-20 minute drive for me (I live in Guelph, Ontairo). One of those shops would certainly qualify for the title 'LCS'. They also do a lot of other things besides hockey cards though. They deal in a lot of Magic / Yugio / whatever they are..... puzzels, games, toys, a bit of comics too. I'm sure they're in a position that they'll make out fine.

    The other shop is CNC. Great retail store, always very friendly when I've been in there. I'm sure they'll be fine too.

    I do prefer the other guys.... I've been going there much longer than CNC has existed, very familiar with the guys who run it. I've got nothing against CNC though, and do shop there on occasion.
    Last edited by 30ranfordfan; 01-18-2013 at 06:02 PM.
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  9. #9
    Very interesting read. I am a hockey only collector and live in Minnesota. I only know of 2-3 local hobby shops in the state, and that's been that way for probably 10+ years. I think the prices on boxes on the internet and ebay buying has killed the local hobby shops. It's cool to read that these hobby shops still exist up in Canada. I still like going into a hobby shop, looking around at everything, always buying at least a box or two. I bet many kids today don't even know what a hobby shop is around here anymore. They just go online, make a couple clicks, and a box arrives on the door step...Sad to see the local shops go...
    I collect anything I need from 07-08 Ultra hockey..07-08 Heroes and Prospects.
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  10. #10
    Hobby shops for sports cards should turn their emphasis more towards stuff liked framed memoribilia and actual singles cards because like others said, the boxes and sealed crap can just be purchased online.

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