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When I first met Dan Fox in person at an industry show he greeted me like we were old friends and immediately gave me a Fox Sports Cards hat (which I still have today). I could tell right away he was one fired up guy: and when you visit Fox Sports Cards, you’ll be able to see his passion immediately as he does a lot to keep his customers engaged. That’s one of the reasons why Fox Sports Cards is our Retailer of the Month.
Fox Sports Cards
1100 Tower Square
Marion, IL 62959
I’ll let Dan take it from here:
We opened Fox Sports Cards in December 2006 to provide a customer-friendly, collector -oriented card store. We wanted a place where collectors would feel at home opening their boxes at the shop, and sharing in group breaks with other collectors. We wanted a card store that ran trade nights a couple of times a month with some pack wars, trivia, group case breaks, and card trading among collectors mixed in. We wanted to provide a place where a collector would be comfortable making a purchase, rather than from some unseen online reseller. We knew if we got all the collectors in the area to know each other, we could accomplish great things as a group. All of this and more has happened since we opened.
We not only accomplished all of the goals we had in opening the store, but found out very quickly that our customers had many great ideas of things we could do together. We mention often at trade nights that the very best things that happen in our store occur from the customer’s side of the counter. Collectors giving away cards to other collectors to help them finish sets, trading with each other, helping youngsters get started in this hobby the right way . . . our customers do all of these things with regularity. We even host nights for the Boy Scouts to teach them about the fun of trading cards.
We knew the first priority in our shop was making sure that we had inventory of all new products available at our store on the release day. Therefore, we set up accounts to order direct from the manufacturers. It was important for collectors to know that all of these products were available to purchase on release day. We wanted them to feel that their town of 17,000 wasn’t too small to have Exquisite Basketball on hand, nor would they need to order SP Authentic Baseball elsewhere. We wanted them to know that rest assured, the newest products are ALWAYS available at Fox Sports Cards.
The customers in our area have responded to this commitment from us by showing up on release day and purchasing the new products. Many will buy some for the first time, so that they can experience the new product along with other collectors in the store. Building a sense of community among our collectors has been a strong focus for us. It provides them with more than just someone to share their hobby with; it gives them a place to trade cards instead of only having our store or eBay to determine what their cards are worth.
By getting to know each other, they have become connected in each other’s lives. We have had several surprise birthday celebrations during our trade nights, and many a friendship has grown from these events.
When we have an athlete signing in the store, we have many volunteers to help us with the event to help make it happen . . . whether it is security, running a cash register, or catering, they have all offered up help to us, because they want to see THEIR store succeed. Our customers have a sense of ownership (deservedly so) in our store. They want a store like this in their area, and they want it to continue to grow, so they support us in all of our ventures. We do a food drive during the holidays each year for the local food pantry, and hold a silent auction of memorabilia and cards donated by our customers, with 100% of the proceeds going to the same food pantry. Any successes we have enjoyed are due to the wonderful collectors in our area.
Our trade nights have become a huge event with collectors traveling from other towns to take part. We average anywhere from 35-75 people on any given trade night. We play pack wars, offer trivia, card trading, and giveaways to the collectors for 2-3 hours every other Saturday night. A customer wanted us to start offering group case breaks at the store, so we added that and it’s been a huge hit as well. We now average a group case break at least once a month. We’ll have customers who don’t even purchase basketball (as an example) join in a basketball group case break just so that it will fill up with enough people to do it. We have customers who contact each other about doing a group case break of Exquisite or some other higher end break, and do it at the store so that we can all see it and appreciate it.
We also will film these breaks for our YouTube account. YouTube is used extensively by our store to show as many box breaks as we can, as we feel the best way to know what each product is delivering is to watch a break or two on YouTube. The people who watch our videos also have built a sense of community from watching us online. We have customers who have traveled from Boston and Phoenix, JUST to get a video shot of them opening in the store. That not only makes us work harder to keep up the effort, but humbles us as well.
What will you notice on your first visit to Fox Sports Cards? We keep a clean store, we are not the flea market store with the cluttered feeling that many other shops have. We want you to feel comfortable here, get a box, and bust it here. We’ll protect all your hits with soft sleeves and top loads, and bag up the rest. We can even shoot you on video if you like. We will treat you and yours like you are our family. We want you to feel at home here, because, if you are a card collector, you ARE at home here.