Tuesday, July 2, 2013
LCS visit - vacation style
Last week, I vacationed with the in-laws in New Hampshire. We had a few cabins on a lake nestled nicely in the mountains. The first few days were great weather-wise, but as the week went on, rain and cold temperatures moved in. We weren’t able to enjoy the lake or anything outside for that matter. Add in the fact that we had an 18-month-old boy holed up in a small cabin, and well, the days started to grow a bit frustrating.
On Thursday afternoon, I decided I needed to get out by myself for a bit. I knew there was a Walmart nearby, and figured maybe I’d go pick up a few packs or a blaster. Before I left, I decided to type “baseball cards” into Google Maps on my phone to see if I was missing the opportunity to visit a LCS. Sure enough, a red pin popped up on my map about 7 miles away in Laconia, NH called “All Sports Cards”. Bingo.
I called to make sure they were open and it wasn’t an old location, and sure enough they were open for business. I couldn’t get in the car fast enough. After about a 12 minute drive, I was there. It was tucked nicely into a small strip mall next to a Subway restaurant. The smell from Subway was strong as I entered the shop, but luckily went away after the door was closed. You know that unmistakable smell.
I immediately struck up a conversation with Brian, the owner. Other than his Red Sox shirt, he was a great guy. We talked a lot about the hobby and what I collected, as well as his patrons. I asked about business and how long he had been there (over 20 years!). He said business was a bit slow, but tends to pick up in the summer when vacationers are in the area, which makes sense. He has a few repeat customers every year who are seasonal guests.
Brian also talked about his disdain for collectors only interested in big hits and graded cards. He often gets patrons who try to talk him down on a price because the card would “only grade a 6.” Oy.
I was hoping to find a nice dime box to go through, but I didn’t find one for baseball. There were some bargain boxes of football, basketball, and hockey though. The store was large and didn’t feel cluttered like most card shops, which was nice.
I asked Brian if he had any vintage, beat up Yanks I could look for. He pulled out a few stacks from the ‘60s and said I could look through them. He also plopped down a binder of 1975 Topps that I could leaf through. He had just picked it up at a yard sale to help out the local football team. Most of the good 1975’s had been plucked out, but I grabbed this Lou Piniella. Also, there were a few pages of 1975 minis. If I had half a brain I would have pulled up Night Owl’s want list and seen if I could have helped him out. Instead, I pulled out one very miscut Mel Stottlemyre, as I actually don’t own any 1975 minis.
I also grabbed three packs of Series Two, as I hadn’t gotten anything yet. I didn’t pull anything too special.
I asked if he had any 2013 Bowman Yankee Prospects, and he plopped a big box of 2013 cards on the counter that he hadn’t yet sorted. I pulled out a few cards for myself, and found this Dutch Oven card for NapkinDoon, as well as two Josh Willingham cards for my buddy Jaybarkerfan.
Lastly, I found $1 grab bags that were buy one, get one free. I didn’t know what to expect, but grabbed two of them, hoping to at least find an interesting card or two for Listia. I didn’t expect to pull an autograph! If I had opened these at the shop, I probably would have bought a bunch more, and maybe even held a contest for one of them on this here blog.
Brian gave me all of the above for $10, which was generous of him. The three Series Two packs alone were $2 each. I gladly paid and felt very good about my experience at my VCS…vacation card shop. If and when I return to New Hampshire for a future vacation, I’ll definitely stop back. If you’re even in or near Laconia, NH, I strongly recommend taking a trip to All Sports Cards.