As part of our continuing series on how to open a trading card shop, we spent some time with Angelo Exarhakos from Universal Distribution. Take a listen as he provides some tips to be successful in this industry as a shop owner and about how Universal Distribution can help a new shop.
Angelo has a fair amount of experience with insurance and why that is important for a trading card shop owner. Take a listen to what he had to share on that subject:
CloutsnChara is a hobby shop in Kitchener, Ontario that works through Universal Distribution. I asked their owner Geoff Connolly to share some follow up questions we had:
Question: Why is planning so important before opening your store?
Geoff at CloutsnChara: “Planning is essential because you have to know what direction you want your business to go. I have always been a big believer of ‘evolve or die’ and planning out your routes, contacts and what you want to achieve will get you there. It is important to plan for the unexpected as well. Currently our store is open from 10 a.m. to Midnight every day of the week which is 98 working hours per week. You have to have complete dedication in your job and the will to keep improving, learning and building as you get started in this business.”
Question: They say location is important, what are things a new shop owner should look at in terms of location?
Geoff at CloutsnChara: “Location is quite important for any business, but especially for this industry. It is important to be in a market where there are teams and interest in sports if you want to open a trading card shop. We are currently one hour away from the home of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Blue Jays, Raptors and Argos. Having those teams playing year round keeps the buzz going for our business as well.
“Also, when it comes to location you want to know if there are other shops in the area. It is probably not a very good idea to open a shop right on top of another shop that has an established clientele. It is very difficult to win over collectors from an established shop. It is important to work with shops in the area if you can however. Creating a mutually beneficial relationship with them where you are sending customers to each other is a great thing.”
Question: How do you find good employees?
Geoff at CloutsnChara: “Unfortunately there is no specific formula to find ‘good’ employees. What we have found successful is to find fellow collectors and bring them to the other side of the counter. Having staff that can relate to your customer and guide them to the correct product they are looking for it is really important.”
Question: There can be negativity in this industry. Why is it important to protect your customers from that negativity and keep things positive in the shop?
Geoff at CloutsnChara: “This is very true, there is can be an incredible amount of negativity in this industry, but it is our job to show the positives about it. We won’t always be able to keep our customers happy, but it is important to remember why we love this hobby. Waking up to realize I love going to work each day and there is real growth opportunity in this industry give me tons of energy that I try to pass on. I have been very fortunate to build some great contacts over the last few years and it has opened my eyes up greatly. It has also made me realize that our hobby is going in a positive direction. That is important to share with our customers. And if the customers are happy, they are more likely to spend their hard earned money with you.”
Question: Why is working through a partner like Universal Distribution important?
Geoff at CloutsnChara: “Not only do they provide a great assortment of products, but the service we get from Universal is second to none. Unfortunately in our industry distributors are rarely recognized for all their hard work, service, advice, etc. They are an incredibly resource for hobby shop owners. Working with Universal Distribution for Cloutsnchara has been our best decision we have had made as of yet.”
Looking for more information on how to open up a trading card shop of your own? Check out other stories on how to open up a shop here:
The information provided in this story is for assistance only and is not intended to be and must not be taken alone as the basis for an investment decision. Opening a trading card store, like any other business, presents certain risks for the business owner. Each reader of this information should make such investigations as it deems necessary to arrive at an independent evaluation of an investment.