Thriving Sports Card Store’s Journey in Six Months

Lessons Learned from Operating a Small Business in 2021

Customers Come and Go

When I opened my store, Cullman Sportscards & Fun Shop, in April, I was pleasantly surprised by the initial success. Despite being located in a small city with a population of around 15,000, I was able to generate a weekly profit of four figures. However, the excitement soon faded, and sales declined for a few months. The summer brought a brief surge in sales when a local 18-year-old with a popular TikTok channel started visiting regularly for card purchases. Unfortunately, as interest in his channel waned, so did my sales. Currently, my store maintains a stable but lower level of sales due to the cooled down sports card market and the increased availability of sealed products at big-box retail stores. Nevertheless, I am grateful for my loyal regular customers who visit my store on a weekly basis, and I strive to provide them with the products and cards they seek.

The Distributor Allocation Dance

After six months of having an account with GTS Distribution, I finally receive some allocation at factory cost. However, securing favorable deals and waiting for specials to turn a profit on the bulk purchases I make from GTS has proven to be a challenge. As I have previously discussed, it is crucial to spend a significant amount to receive more allocation, but breakers often dominate spending, leaving card shops with limited options. This competition exists across all distributors in this highly competitive market. As the year comes to an end, I anticipate receiving a box or two of products such as Bowman’s Best and Topps Heritage Update baseball. However, I am still waiting for any allocation of football or basketball products. My sales rep mentions the possibility of earning a box of NBA Hoops, which is considered to be the lowest-tiered Panini basketball product. Nevertheless, I have managed to procure a few booster boxes and elite trainer boxes of recent Pokemon lines, likely due to their production meeting demand.

Hard to Pass Up the Deals

Before I opened my store, an experienced fellow store owner shared some valuable advice with me. He highlighted that one of the greatest advantages of owning a local card store is becoming the go-to destination for people looking to sell their collections. Over time, I have encountered a wide variety of collections brought to my store. Some individuals believe they possess valuable items when they are actually of little worth, while others possess valuable treasures without fully realizing their potential. Although I strive to be fair in my purchasing decisions, as a business owner, profitability is a priority, and I have a limited budget for buying cards. With recent substantial purchases, my 10′ x 10′ storage unit is now packed to its limits, leaving me with the task of methodically sorting through this bulk and selling some items online and others in-store. However, I must resist the temptation to continue buying more cards and further fill my storage unit.


Operating a small business, Cullman Sportscards & Fun Shop, in 2021 has been a learning experience filled with highs and lows. The initial excitement and success gave way to periods of slower sales, but I have managed to maintain a stable customer base despite a cooler sports card market. Navigating the distributor allocation process has been both challenging and rewarding, as I work toward increasing my allocations and securing profitable deals. Additionally, the influx of collections and deals presented a unique opportunity to acquire valuable cards while carefully managing my budget. Moving forward into 2022, I will apply the lessons learned to further enhance my business and continue serving my loyal customers.


1. How can I sell my sports card collection to Cullman Sportscards & Fun Shop?

We welcome individuals looking to sell their sports card collections at our store. Simply bring your collection to us, and we will assess its value and make you a fair offer based on the cards’ condition, rarity, and market demand.

2. Do you only sell sports cards, or do you offer other collectibles as well?

While our primary focus is on sports cards, we also offer a range of other collectibles, including autographed memorabilia, trading card accessories, and limited-edition merchandise related to sports and popular culture.

3. How often do you receive new card allocations from distributors?

The frequency of new card allocations depends on various factors, including our spending with distributors and the availability of new releases. We strive to offer our customers the latest products in the sports card industry and work closely with distributors to ensure a regular supply.

4. Can I purchase cards online from Cullman Sportscards & Fun Shop?

Yes, we have an online platform where customers can browse and purchase a selection of our sports cards and collectibles. Our website provides a convenient way to explore our inventory and make purchases from the comfort of your own home.

5. Will Cullman Sportscards & Fun Shop be expanding its product offerings in the future?

As a constantly evolving business, we are always exploring opportunities to expand our product offerings. While our focus will remain on sports cards and related collectibles, we may introduce new categories based on market trends and customer demand. Stay tuned for updates on exciting additions to our inventory.

Doug I. Jones

Doug I. Jones

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