2011 Black Friday Sports Card Deals

Looking for the 2012 Black Friday list? Click here.

Black Friday is coming upon us and as always, collectors look forward to the several deals that could be found by the online hobby shops. Why wait for Cyber Monday when Black Friday is earlier and you can sit at home and order your sports cards from these guys? These are listed in alphabetical order.

Atlanta Sports Cards (www.atlantasportscards.com)

Atlanta Sports Cards will be running several promotions on Black Friday. They will have their best prices of the year on pretty much every product in stock. Everything will be on sale. They will also be running around 50 Buy It Now boxes on eBay for very low price. Finally, there will be about 10 cases on 1-day auction to end Friday evening. Make sure you check these guys out.

Blowout Cards (www.blowoutcards.com)

Blowout Cards hugely successful Black Friday promotion is back again and possibly bigger than ever. There will be 100s of products on sale for up to 80% off, or more! Blowout’s annual phone-in contests for free one-year subscriptions to a Beckett magazine of their choice will also return. Get involved over at Blowout as there will also be fun contests and promotions all day long for free boxes of product! They are starting their promotion at 6am EST, so it looks like it will be another great success. As per my recommendation and experience, don’t give up if they experience server problems as there will be a ton of people getting in on these deals. They should definitely be on your list of places to visit.

CheckOutMyCards (www.checkoutmycards.com)

CheckOutMyCards will be having a shipping special for those who are less of gamblers and want to purchase some singles. Saving on shipping will save you a ton of money if you are purchasing a large number of singles or even just a few. You may even also find a few dealers on there holding a sale of their inventories.

Dave & Adam’s Card World (www.dacw.com)

Dave & Adam’s Card World also has an extremely successful Black Friday promotion that will be returning this year. With over 100 sports and gaming boxes at amazing deals, you can find a wide variety of product on sale this year. They will be making even more products available at these low prices compared to last year in order to satisfy more customers. DACW is also working on a deal with UPS to get these boxes and cases shipped in 3 business days with no additional cost to the buyer (lower 48 US buyers only). Oh, and some top secret details and promotions that even Adam himself won’t tell me, so make sure you check them out.

Onyx Authenticated (www.onyxauthenticated.com)

Onyx is having a number of deals on authentic baseball memorabilia and autographs of some of their top talent signed who do signings and sell game used memorabilia. Make sure you email sales@onyxauthenticated.com to get the deal information before anyone else on Black Friday.

Pittsburgh Sports Wholesale (www.pghsportswholesale.com)

Pittsburgh Sports Wholesale will be having some Black Friday deals, but doesn’t have the details panned out yet. Check them out on Friday and see what they have going on.

Other companies I contacted that may or may not have deals going:

Cards Infinity (www.cardsinfinity.com)

Did I forget you? Send me an email with your information.

Purchasing from Online Retailers

If you don’t have a decent hobby shop near you or you have a shop that has outrageous prices, the best thing for you to do to get your card fix is to purchase cards online. That is something I have to do on a constant basis when I want to open some packs that aren’t retail. Sure I could go to Fred Meyer, Target, or Wal-Mart and find some retail, but we all know the best bang for your buck comes in the form of hobby boxes. In the future I’ll discuss the difference between hobby and retail but right now I want to go over the best places to get hobby boxes/packs.

The first thing you need to do is figure out what product you are interested in. What sport are you interested in? Are you into rookies or do you want to try and hit that legendary player’s autograph? Each product that comes out is usually a little different then the next so figuring out what you like/want and your price range is the best place to start.

After that, you need to find out the best retailers online for sports cards. That is the hardest part of the equation. You see, there are many trusted retailers out there in the worldwide marketplace, but there are also several dealers that you don’t want to trust. For me, I won’t be buying boxes from anyone off of eBay who doesn’t have a reputable dealer site. I feel that if I don’t buy from a reputable dealer, I may be getting ripped off. There have been instances of people resealing boxes and packs to try and get all the good cards for themselves. As a matter of fact, someone was arrested recently for doing such things. I don’t want to run the risk. You also don’t know if it came from a sealed case or not. The reasoning you want a box from a sealed case is that everyone has equal chance on getting good cards that only fall once per case of cards. Some eBay or non reputable dealers will open a product and pull the case hit, then sell the rest of the boxes knowing there isn’t a better card in there to recoup some money.

Reputable dealers are the most important thing when buying online to get your money’s worth. Now I’m not being paid or getting anything special for mentioning these companies, I just want you to know the reputable companies. Now if they want to send me something as a thank you, you can find my email on here somewhere. Just kidding. I have two favorite places to buy from that are on my list of preferred dealers. The first is DACW.com or DA Card World. DA Card World has solid prices as well as you get free packs or boxes depending on how much money you spend. Occasionally they will also run promotions for free raffles if you buy a certain product. I like DACW because of those things. but also every box and pack is guaranteed to come from an unsearched box or case. If I get to upstate New York anytime soon I will contact them on getting a tour of their warehouse, but friends have had tours and can personally attest to that guarantee being accurate. My next favorite retailers is Blowout Cards. I like Blowout because most of their products are at the lowest prices on the web. What’s better then low, low prices? They are known throughout the hobby community as providing good customer service as well which I can personally attest to. For instance, I once bought a case of 2008 Heroes baseball from Blowout and found out that the week before it was on sale for $30 less. I emailed the company and was quickly given a $30 credit to use whenever I wanted. That’s good service.

Those are my top two favorites, but other hobby favorites that are very reputable are: CardsByTheBox, Cards Infinity, Atlanta Sports Cards, PGH Sports Wholesale, and DCS Sports Cards.

All these places are great places to start when looking for the best place to purchase your packs or boxes of cards. Check each of these out and look for some other places that you may be interested in.

In conclusion, stick with reputable online retailers if you are going to buy online. You never know what you are going to get if you just buy from a random person off of eBay or anywhere else online and when you are spending your hard earned money on a product, you want to get what you are paying for.

How I Would Run A Hobby Shop

Originally, I was going to write about another product preview but I decided to change my mind. When I started this blog I wanted it to be a place to find any information you wanted on products as well as tips and tricks for collectors. I decided to change it up because two product previews in two days would get kind of….boring and repetitive. I don’t want to bore anybody away from the blog so this should open some eyes and get people thinking. This is going to be a long one, so bare with me.

With Upper Deck and Panini really trying to make brick and mortar stores come back instead of steadily washing away, I want to write about how I would run a card shop. I believe that some of these shops are going down because of their owners and the way they run things. There is a brand new era of card shops and this will be about how to create a great shop or optimize your already existing shop so you can improve business. I by no means am an expert in the inner workings of business but I do know what I want to see as a consumer.

Let’s start with location. Location has always been considered very important, but with proper advertising you can afford to grab a cheaper area. If you want a prime spot, obviously you want a place with heavy traffic either by foot or by car. A big sign that will grab eyes is always important as well. I’ve seen shops with barely visible signs and they wonder why no one knows they are there. I also think with proper advertising you can go to a little less trafficked area. Why? Trading cards is a hobby. Most random people would not step into a hobby shop if they had no interest in any of the hobbies offered.

Proper advertising is key to getting people in your card shop. Just remember these three words and make them your mantra. Internet is king. Let’s say it together, “Internet is king”. This means you need to advertise the heck out of your shop online. Facebook, Twitter, CitySearch, hobby forums, everywhere you can think of you should be advertising your site. Yes, this takes work. But if you want to stay in business you will be doing it all. Start a website for your store. Not only will it be great advertising, you can sell items on your store site. The best part of this is you can expand your business and sell nationally. Increased sales means increased profits. Panini and Upper Deck even have benefits if you have a brick and mortar store and sell online. Why would you not do this? Start a site for your store and create an eBay store for your singles and watch your sales increase.

When using social media like Facebook, Twitter, or hobby forums the one thing I don’t understand is why shop owners don’t use YouTube to record and post box breaks or pack breaks in their stores. Chris from Cards Infinity has revolutionized this process. What he does is he takes orders off of his website and then he opens the product for you on camera and posts it on YouTube. He then sends you the contents. People who buy cards online usually don’t want to wait to see what they get, so this is the perfect impulse buy if you know you can see what is in your box immediately. I would also use YouTube to hold group breaks for anyone on the internet who wants to buy into a case. A great example of this is the people at CloutsnChara. Every couple days they hold a chat session and people buy into a group break of either a case of product or a mixed box break and open it live on camera. They move a TON of product this way. When SP Authentic hockey came out, they moved 5 cases of the product in 2 days. 5 cases. How many hobby stores can move 5 cases of any product in two days? All of this could even just be posted on your store’s Facebook and when you promote that, everyone will want to see what is next.

In store is obviously one of the more important parts as you could probably do all of the above just running a store out of your house. Those were ideas that will optimize your business by selling nationally. But in store promotions is where you can get people coming back. My best in store experience was at Wayne’s Sports Cards in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I have never seen a store run so well in my career collecting cards and I’ve visited probably 50 shops. They have a huge store with products, supplies, and memorabilia but could easily get by with just products and supplies. I had a nice chat with the owners and learned quite a bit from them how they keep people coming back. Honesty, competitive prices, and treating your customers like they deserve to be treated. If it wasn’t for them, you wouldn’t have a business. The ways they do this is provide promotions, freebies, giveaways, raffles, everything you can think of just for buying something in the store. I bought a couple boxes and automatically was entered in two raffles for free swag and product. While chatting with them they even gave me free promotional cards that were only available 2 weeks earlier that they had laying around. That is how you get someone to keep coming back. I have only been to that store twice, but the only reason why is that I live 1700 miles away from there. I even still keep track of their Facebook because I respect that business so much. I know next time I am in the area I will have my choice of about 4 card shops. Wayne’s is now the only place I will go.

If I could add anything to that store (which they may even do, I’ve only been there a couple times) to promote the shop and get people in the doors is just standard promotional nights. They could hold a group break of a case of new product just released. They could hold a night of Pack Wars. All you need to add is to provide some snacks and drinks and watch products fly off the shelves. You could keep your best customers happy by starting a rewards program. Hell, if someone was sick and called in an order to deliver a box for an extra small fee I would do that too. Just keep people in the store and interested in the products and people will buy things. One of their loyal customers I met there I swear is there daily. There is a reason he keeps coming back to just that one store and that is because he is treated well by the store.

Keeping your local customers happy and expanding your business online to cater to the customer are the two most important things if you own a hobby shop. If you use all of these tips on making your current store better, I guarantee that you will see increased sales. A little promoting of your new promotions and pretty soon you’ll start getting a name for yourself and word of mouth alone will get you new customers. Do you know how Wayne’s got my business? I went to Sports Card Forum and asked the members there where the best store in Edmonton was to buy sports cards. I believe I had about 15-20 answers. Whatever that number was, 100% of them told me to go to Wayne’s. They told me about the 3 other options as well but they told me not to even bother going anywhere else. Isn’t that proof enough that your business is successful?

If I had the money to open up a shop, this is how I would run it and I guarantee you I would be making more money in the first year then any other shop not using these techniques. I just wish the shops around me in Portland, Oregon would do anything similar to this. Sadly, I haven’t found one. If you own a hobby shop in Portland and want to move it to the next level, contact me and we can work something out.