When I was younger, there was nothing like waiting for my dad to come home from work so we could go to the local card shop. I was big into collecting in the 80’s and 90’s. There was nothing like going to the shop and talking the hobby with people interested in the hobby like my father and I. I lost interest in the mid 90’s when I realized over saturation of the market made my prized collection worthless.
The collecting bug bit me again when our area was awarded a minor league hockey team. And there I was again in the safe haven talking the hobby with people just like me! It was a place to go and hang-out, talk the hobby, talk sports, and talk about collecting in general. Then one day when I entered the store, I was told that the store would be closing. I couldn’t believe it, my “club” was closing! Now the question is why?
The main reason I believe this is true the internet. Wholesale sites have made it difficult for brick and mortar shops to stay open. Now do not read into this as a bashing of wholesale sites, it is actually a realization and kudos to the wholesale sites. In order to survive in nature you either adapt or die. Wholesale sites have adapted to utilize the technology available to survive and brick and mortar just cannot evolve fast enough.
But Why? It’s simple. No overhead. A webstore has no rent, no utilities, no wasted expenses that brick and mortar places have to incur. Therefore a box of cards that costs $100 at the local shop costs $85 online with free 2-day shipping. The $15 upcharge is the trickle down effect to us the collector to cover the over hear. In these times every dollar counts! So why wouldn’t the consumer move to the online market!
So what can brick and mortar do to survive? In my opinion the only option is to start moving online but even then I do not feel it would be enough. I think it is time to just realize, that in the near future card shops will be a thing of the past.