Congratulations are in order for Pittsburgh's Sports Card Junction, winner of the May 2015 Panini Roundtable Store of the Month. In addition to receiving some sweet Panini America swag to share with its customers, Sports Card Junction also gets the chance to tell its story right here on The Knight's Lance.
Congratulations are in order for Pittsburgh’s Sports Card Junction, winner of the May 2015 Panini Roundtable Store of the Month. In addition to receiving some sweet Panini America swag to share with its customers, Sports Card Junction also gets the chance to tell its story right here on The Knight’s Lance.
We caught up with store owner Chad Weldon late last week through email for the following interview that provides great insight into running a successful hobby shop and his thoughts on taking home Panini Roundtable Store of the Month honors. In addition, Weldon takes us into his store with a few images.
Enjoy the interview and the images; and be sure to follow Sports Card Junction on Twitter.
The Knight’s Lance: How does it feel to be selected as the Panini Roundtable Store of the Month?
“First off, thank you to Panini America for presenting us with this wonderful opportunity. It is a wonderful feeling being able to share this experience with family and our customers, who are an extension of our family. We go into work every day with the goal of expanding not only our company, but this entire industry. Winning this is only a minor milestone along the way of getting this hobby back on the map like it once was.”
TKL: What do you feel is the key factor in running a successful hobby shop?
“One word that sums it up is ‘passion.’ Owning a hobby shop is not something you should do if you are just interested in money. That being said, you need to diversify how and where you sell your product. While the most important factor is having a core group of regulars who come in for all the new product, you need to sell other things elsewhere. We set up at a lot of the major trade shows, we sell single cards online, and we have a large network of other dealers we are able to move product to; but it all comes back to having that unfailing passion for the industry. Without that passion, we couldn’t do what we do.”
TKL: What were your best-selling Panini America products in the last month?
“This past month was one of our best months in recent years for selling sealed product. We continued to blow through 2015 Donruss Baseball. Our customers love the low cost, high amount of serial numbered inserts, and the chance of hitting a nice card. The other product our customers seemed to love is 2015 Diamond Kings Baseball. We sold through our original order in a matter of 48 hours and have had to re-order four times now. Once again that is a low-cost product that has a nice amount of guarantees with the chance of pulling something huge. Our bestselling football product was the newly released 2015 Contenders Draft Picks Football. It took a few days for our customers to understand why Contenders was on the shelves this early in the year, but after some explaining on our part it started to fly off the shelves. We have since had to order multiple times to stock back up.”
TKL: How long have you operated Sports Card Junction?
“Sports Card Junction was started back in 1995 by my father, Chuck Weldon. It has stayed open through the good times and bad within this industry. We have moved locations multiple times but have been in our current location for around seven years. We are right around the 20-year mark and hope to have the privilege of being open another 20 years. Both my father and I love this hobby and just want to see it flourish.”
TKL: In your opinion, what is the best part about working with Panini America?
“For us, the best part about working with Panini America is being able to be a part of things like this competition. Having a large company that wants to showcase the hard-working, small-time guys is just awesome. Most large corporations could care less about the people who are buying their product as long as they are profiting at the end of the day. Panini America is different and I feel they truly care about this hobby, as do we.”
TKL: What does Panini America’s support of your store in particular – and all brick-and-mortar stores in general – mean to your business?
“In means a great deal that the ‘big guys’ want to help out the little guys like us. Working hand-in-hand is the only way we will continue to grow as an industry. The major corporations need us worker bees getting their product in the hands of the consumer just as we need the support of the manufacturers. You see more and more product on the shelves in the big box stores but you see fewer and fewer actual card shops these days. The backbone of this industry are all of the shop owners who take pride in this great hobby. And when companies like Panini America want to help us out, it means a great deal.”
TKL: Anything else you want to add?
“Something I think needs to be stressed to collectors: If you are lucky enough to have a card shop in your community, go support it. If you want this hobby to survive, you need the help of the shops.”