LCS Spotlight – Three Stars Sportscards

Posted: February 7, 2014 by Crackin' Wax in LCS
Tags: ,

While the technology age has granted us the ability to get just about anything we want with the simple click of a finger and the future promises super fast shipping by way of drone, nothing beats heading down to your LCS (Local Card Shop). Even with the advent of message boards and social media outlets such as Twitter, those methods of quick communication can’t compete with the ability to have your new cards in-hand right as you’re purchasing them, all while talking shop with the proprietors and their other patrons.

One of my new favorite LCS’ is a shop about 20 minutes away from my house. Living in a metro area, there are plenty of options, but none are as near to me as Three Stars Sportscards in Roseville, Minnesota. Recently, I’ve had the pleasant opportunity to speak with Wayne, one of the three owners (or “stars,” as it were) about their shop.

Q: Are you yourself a collector? If so, what do you collect? When did your hobby habit begin?
A: There are three of us that own the shop and all three of us collect. I personally started in 1985 by visiting K-Mart every week with my mom and getting to purchase one $.99 rack pack if I had been good the previous week. I would spend as much time as allowed trying to find the best pack in the display, which was likely the pack with the most Cubs showing. I still collect odds and ends for my personal collection.

Q: What is currently your prized possession or centerpiece in your personal collection and why? How did you come to acquire it?
A: A lot of my personal collection surrounds Kevin Garnett, Adrian Peterson and Marian Gaborik. I have one of the first Garnett autographed memorabilia cards ever produced that I picked up on eBay close to 15 years ago. For Peterson, it would be a 16×20 personalized photo that I had signed at a signing with him that I helped out with. I have a set of Topps Pristine printing plates of Gaborik that I managed to find all four of from various places.

Q: How did Three Stars Sportscards come to be?
A: We had been talking about the need for a shop in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area that was focused on cards. The market was always dominated by Shinders, but in addition to cards, they carried comic books, magazines, graphic novels and of course porn. We wanted to create a true sports card hobby store. When Shinders closed in July of 2007, we started to get serious and opened Three Stars Sportscards on January 1, 2008.

Q: What are your thoughts on online sales? Do online stores or auction sites affect your own sales? If yes, how so?
A: We wouldn’t be able to survive if it wasn’t for online sales. We have over 1.5 million cards listed for sale in our Beckett Marketplace store and about 1000 cards listed in our eBay store. We sell a ton of singles online. We do our best to compete with online prices for wax boxes. The market is very competitive, but we have started some promotions lately where we offer select boxes for sale below any price that can be found online. That has gone over very well so far.

Q: Group breaking has become so popular and commonplace in the hobby that major manufacturers have come to embrace the trend. What are your thoughts on group breaking? The next evolutionary step in the hobby or simply a fad? Do you feel it could take foot traffic away from brick and mortar stores or present a new opportunity for shop owners to embrace the online audience?
A: We support group breaking. We have hosted group breaks in our store and have partnered with Josh at BBExpress to support his group breaks. We are actively looking to expand our presence in the group breaking community. Group breaking appeals to certain types of collectors more than others. We offer opportunities for people who buy into our group breaks to pick up their cards at the store to get them quicker and have also hosted group breaks in the store so that our entire inventory is available for breaks. Both of these have actually helped increase our foot traffic.

Q: Where do you stand on Topps’ “monopoly” on the MLB license? Would Three Stars benefit from MLB allowing more manufacturers licensing?
A: Competition is good, but there have to be some restrictions in place. Back around 2005, there were something like 80 different brands being produced in Baseball alone across the four licensees at the time (Topps, Upper Deck, Fleer and Donruss). That was way too may products. Ideally, I would like to see two or three manufacturers that are allowed to produce no more then 10 products each, but that likely is not financially viable for a manufacturer to be restricted to that many products. Topps has done a fairly good job building their baseball brands. The base Topps set is always popular and all the Bowman sets are popular with prospectors. Add in other popular brands like Allen and Ginter, Triple Threads and Museum Collection that are also popular and they have done a nice job.

Q: Which brands across all sports in 2013 performed the best in your store? Which performed the worst?
A: All of the Bowman Baseball brands did well for us in 2013. Locals were after Byron Buxton and there was interest everywhere in Yasiel Puig. For football, we did well with the late 2012 products, especially the high end like National Treasures. Interest in Hockey started to pick back up late in the year with the double rookie class. We did well with Trilogy and Upper Deck Series 1 always is a good seller. Basketball has never been a great seller for us. People were also disappointed in a lot of the 2013 football products. The rookie class was very bad and no one really stepped up early in the year. By the end of the season, Eddie Lacy and Cordarrelle Patterson helped sales, but there was still a glut of product on the market.

Q: What sorts of improvements would you like to see be made across the hobby in 2014 and beyond?
A: Better controls by the manufacturers about how much product they produce, who they allow to sell their products and how early products need to be ordered. Topps is currently asking us to order products at least six months before they are scheduled to be released. Our needs are really hard to predict that far in the future. More content in products is always nice, but that is easier said then done.

Wayne, thank you so much for your time! I really appreciate your participation.

If you are in and around the Twin Cities area, do give Three Stars Sportscards a visit.

ADDRESS
2825 Hamline Ave. N.
Roseville, MN 55113

PHONE
651-633-6041

HOURS
Monday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Tuesday Closed
Wednesday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Thursday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Friday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Saturday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Sunday 12:00 – 4:00 pm

WEBSITE | TWITTER | EBAY | BECKETT

I may be “new to baseball cards,” but if Three Stars Sportscards is any indication, the hobby is alive and well–contrary to what others may tend to believe.

As a side note, I actually love Keith Olbermann and love his involvement in the hobby. I also think his uneducated back-handing of me is pretty darned hilarious!

Keep up the great work, Three Stars, and I’ll be sure to continue to stop by to pick up my group case break supplies!

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