Q: I'd like to know how to start a sports card store.
A: Like most business ventures, starting a sports card store takes a lot of time and effort, especially when the product you're selling is as rare as a Mickey Mantle rookie card. Where should you begin? David Kohler, owner of Sports Cards Plus in Laguna Niguel, California, suggests getting a feel for the business by visiting sports card shows and conventions.
"You need to really know the business and what inventory to carry," says Kohler, who estimates start-up costs at about $100,000. "A lot of stores have opened and closed over the last five years. A lot of them are just trying to sell new cards, and there are only so many sales in that market."
Kohler purchases cards by running ads in industry magazines and corresponding with other dealers. He also buys from the public and at shows he attends. The Sports Collectors Digest (http://www.krause.com), a weekly publication from Krause Publications, includes a listing of shows, price guides and a marketplace for buying and selling cards and other memorabilia.
Beckett Publications offers a wealth of information; they produce seven monthly magazines, including Beckett Baseball Card Monthly, Beckett Basketball Card Monthly, Beckett Football Card Monthly and Beckett Hockey Card Monthly. These magazines keep you updated on current trends and industry information as well as the latest prices. Beckett's show calendar keeps you posted on sports card shows around the country. For subscription information, visit http://www.beckett.com or call (800) 840-3137.
SportsFest, sponsored by Krause Publications, features sports card dealers, manufacturers and collectors nationwide. Two shows are scheduled for this year: Philadelphia, June 17-20, and Chicago, August 19-22. For details, call (715) 445-4612 or fax (715) 445-4087.