In November, we unveiled yet another benefit of membership: The Panini Roundtable Hobby Shop of the Month. Our inaugural winner was Legacy Sports Cards in Las Vegas. Today, we're thrilled to congratulate Brian Jadzak and his four Chicagoland-area The Baseball Card King stores. Earlier this week, we had the opportunity to discuss with Jadzak The Baseball Card King's Panini Roundtable Hobby Shop of the Month award, and his keys to running four successful shops and a weekly collecting radio show. Jadzak also shared some great images from his stores.
In a relatively short amount of time, hobby shop owners across North America have discovered that there are many significant advantages to being an approved member of the new Panini Roundtable program.
Just since its inception late last summer, the Panini Roundtable has delivered a program-exclusive wrapper-redemption initiative for 2013-14 Prizm Hockey, conducted the first of many conference calls with select Roundtable stores and members of the Panini America Product Development Team, awarded bonus Black Friday packs to member stores based on existing inventory and announced a special sneak-peek event with the upcoming release of 2013-14 Gold Standard Basketball.
In November, we unveiled yet another benefit of membership: The Panini Roundtable Hobby Shop of the Month. Our inaugural winner was Legacy Sports Cards in Las Vegas. Today, we’re thrilled to congratulate Brian Jadzak and his four Chicagoland-area The Baseball Card King stores. Earlier this week, we had the opportunity to discuss with Jadzak The Baseball Card King’s Panini Roundtable Hobby Shop of the Month award, and his keys to running four successful shops and a weekly collecting radio show. Jadzak also shared some great images from his stores.
Enjoy the interview and enjoy the images.
The Knight’s Lance: How does it feel to be selected as the Roundtable Store of the Month?
“When I was informed The Baseball Card King was chosen Store of the Month, I called each of my stores and relayed the news to my managers. I could almost hear their chests puffing out over the phone. We were all proud of our combined efforts in bringing The Baseball Card King this honor.”
TKL: What does Panini America’s support of your store in particular – and all brick-and-mortar stores in general – mean to your business?
“Hobby-store-specific promotions from Panini (Black Friday and Father’s Day promo packs, Starting 5, Player of the Day, etc.) have proven wildly popular with our customers. Where once it was simply announcing the release of a new product, customers now look forward to hearing about new contests and giveaways. To walk into one of our stores, customers now see new posters and POS materials explaining contests, which in turn gets them excited about ripping packs they may not have otherwise. Panini promotions create excitement for their entire line of products. Panini has also really stepped up support by releasing the new Gold Standard Basketball to our stores early (along with fantastic prize support) so our biggest NBA collectors can grab their boxes early and win prizes as well.”
TKL: What do you feel is the key factor in running a successful hobby shop?
“Top notch customer service has always been, and will forever remain, the most critical element in both building and maintaining a successful hobby shop. In addition, building relationships with customers (and their families), offering monthly contests and drawings, case breaks, pack war parties and autograph signings — every creative way to bring people in to have a great time ensures a return customer. Do that often enough and you now have a successful shop.
“We’ve then taken that attitude and replicated it to three additional locations, each with its own core group of collectors. Once the foundation is set, coming up with ways to bring in previous collectors and introducing new people to the hobby (and hopefully creating a collector in the process!) becomes a challenging yet exciting element in running these shops. Lastly, complacency is any shop’s worst enemy. We’re never content to just open the stores each day. We also run The Baseball Card King Sports Card Conventions (KingCon) quarterly. Also, every Saturday at noon on WJOL, we host ‘The Baseball Card King Collectors Show’ where we detail new releases, discuss trends and hobby news, promote our stores and events, and encourage listeners to phone in with questions.
“Recently we had Panini America’s Tim Franz join us on-air via telephone to talk about the steps Panini has taken to support the industry and especially brick-and-mortar hobby shops.”
TKL: In your opinion, what is the best part about working with Panini America?
“As the owner of four hobby shops, I enjoy being a member of the Roundtable discussions. It’s refreshing to have a voice — and a willing ear from the manufacturer — where I can offer feedback and suggestions accumulated from my experiences and those of my customers. And without doubt, my customers have been thrilled with the bonus prizes from Panini and the free-pack promotions.”
TKL: What have been your best-selling Panini America products in recent months?
“In the Chicago market, and it has much to do with the success of the Blackhawks, the always high-quality Panini hockey products fly off the shelves at all our stores. We also had numerous cases of Flawless ripped in-store by a hand-picked group of our biggest customers. The waiting list we had for Flawless far exceeded its availability. However, the cases that were opened thrilled those customers.”
TKL: Anything else you want to add?
“On behalf of myself and my world-class staff, all of us at The Baseball Card King wish to thank Panini for this honor, and all of our wonderful customers for their continued loyalty and support — without whom we would not even be here. Now let’s get back to ripping!”