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When you do something for a long time, you sometimes forget that there is still a lot you can learn about what you do. That said, it’s refreshing to be given the opportunity to open your mind and hear from experts from both inside and outside your industry. In an effort to help strengthen and grow partner shops (aka Certified Diamond Dealers), Upper Deck hosted its inaugural Certified Diamond Dealer Conference in Phoenix last week. The event was attended by over 150 shops and the feedback was overwhelmingly and uncharacteristically positive.
“The goal of this conference was to help our industry grow as a whole and to help shop owners find new and better ways to generate revenue.” said Mike Phillips, Upper Deck’s Vice-President of Sales. “We brought in expert speakers on small business ownership including CIBC, Yelp, Check Out My Cards, top distributors and more to provide attendees with ideas and tools to become even more successful. We had league partners in attendance from the NHL® and NHLPA who provided unprecedented insight during panels, and NHL® Chief Branding Officer Brian Jennings even delivered an inspiring keynote presentation on Thursday morning to get attendees charged up about the Centennial and overall direction of the league.”
If you were one of the few that missed out on this incredible event, here are a handful of the comments that attendees had to shared:
Opening Keynote with Patrick Schwerdtfeger – Small Business Expert
“Patrick’s keynote was very inspiring and amazed me how easily I can grow my business with a little time and hard work,” said Moe Amerey of West’s Sportscards. “As long as you share the amazing content from your shop, you can encourage customers to want to be part of the experience. I had a chance to talk with him one-on-one and he gave me some tips that I know will help grow my business.”
The Upper Deck Authenticated Gallery
“The Upper Deck Authenticated room was amazing,” said Mike Davis of Eastridge Hobbies. “It was impressive to see that amount of premium signed collectibles all in one place. UDA is always bringing innovative new collectibles to the market, but many you have to see in person to fully appreciate. The biggest reason to carry UDA however is the peace of mind you have in knowing you are selling your customers a real item as they witness every signature.”
Upper Deck Non-Sport and Gaming Products
“Non-sport and gaming products from Upper Deck are great because they have a long shelf life and profit margins are much greater in most cases than on sports trading cards,” said Ken Richardson of Pastime Sports & Games. “Our customers love playing games and it is important for shops to diversify their product portfolio with entertainment releases. We all enjoyed time with their gaming team to learn more about the games.”
“A short flight and some time away from the shop is worth the knowledge gained, friends made and all the cool Upper Deck promotional items to take back and share with our customers,” said Jason Wobshall at Players Choice.
“It’s a privilege to do something you love and it’s nice to know Upper Deck really wants to see our businesses and this industry grow,” said Geoff Connolly, owner of Cloutsnchara. “You can really make things happen for your business when you have a face-to-face experience like this and it felt like we were part of history at this first event. This was by far the most positive dealer event we have ever been a part of where UD provided moments we will never forget.”
“This year I only brought one employee with me, but next year we will bring four or five,” said Adam Martin, owner of Dave & Adam’s Cardworld. “That’s how impressed I was with this event. Thank you Upper Deck for what you have created with the Certified Diamond Dealer Conference!”
Even lunch was exciting as Upper Deck, the NHL® and the NHLPA surprised guests by having a massive pack war with Arizona Coyotes mascot; Howler! Shops got a kick out of his antics during the interactive lunch.
One of the main highlights of the show was when Upper Deck presented Bruce Parker, owner of New England Sportscards with the Steve James Award. Bruce has been an overwhelmingly positive and helpful force in the hobby for decades. Upper Deck recognized him for his long commitment to customer service and the industry as a whole.
Over the next few weeks, Upper Deck will be sharing videos of many of these presentations with shops who couldn’t be in attendance at this special event. It is our hope that we can help inspire and educate all of Upper Deck’s Certified Diamond Dealers with this incredible content.