All Star Sports Cards navigating the pandemic
CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee-All Star Sports Cards Owner Steve Wrate has owned the store for almost 30 years.
“I’ve seen all the ups and downs that come with a hobby business. When the pandemic hit, I was really concerned about what was going to happen,” said Wrate.
It turns out the pandemic actually has helped Wrate’s business.
“Busy, busy days, foot traffic is exploding. We’re looking into hiring more people to do shipping and some of the other everyday stuff that I used to be able to do. Now I just don’t have time,” said store manager Kevin Bajraszwski.
Wrate said the pandemic brought families together and led to family ones bonding over sports cards.
“People were stuck at home and they got bored. After a month of the kids playing video games, dads wanted something else to do. So they got the sports cards out and talked to the kids about collecting. Kids got interested again in collecting and it just took off from there,” said Wrate.
Another part of the industry that has taken off is ‘breaking.’ Which is where someone anywhere in the world buys a deck of cards, Wrate opens them live on camera for anyone to see and then he sends those cards off to the buyer.
“One guy is in the furthest reaches of Alaska. There’s no road to where he lives and he gets on every day and buy stuff probably every week and it’s just been a huge boost to the business because the reach the internet is all over the world,” said Wrate.