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Sports card store opens its doors in Brockport

by Panagiotis Argitis - Editor-in-Chief
Tue, Sep 24th 2019 09:00 pm
JC's Cards and Collectibles opened its doors in early July at its new location on Market Street. Owner Jennifer Oberlies hopes to drive children and teenagers back to handheld pastimes rather than electronic ones.
JC's Cards and Collectibles opened its doors in early July at its new location on Market Street. Owner Jennifer Oberlies hopes to drive children and teenagers back to handheld pastimes rather than electronic ones.

In a world where all ages grow obsessed over electronics and mobile devices, small shops like JC’s Cards and Collectibles based in Brockport, NY, are turning back the clock to offer a forgotten yet beloved form of handheld fun. 

While more of its kind are slowly vanishing from the map, JC’s Cards and Collectibles’ owner and avid card collector since the age of seven Jennifer Oberlies decided the Village of Brockport would serve as the perfect home for her store, which opened late in July 2019. 

“We love it here,” Oberlies said. “Ironically, it was an accident. I was eating at Coleen’s [Kitchen] and found this spot. It was all done after that.” 

Named after Oberlies’ first name and her 4-year-old nephew, JC’s was originally based on Culver Road where it began the purchase, sale and trade of classic and modern sports card sets it is known for today. Oberlies later closed the store in 2003 after a year of operation. 

Despite the grand opening of her first store, the market for card collectors and similar enthusiasts was simply not present at the initial location. 

“The market just dropped,” Oberlies said. “Several years later, I thought I would give it another shot.” 

Since the new store’s opening, located at 19 Market Street, JC’s has seen a massive turnaround in customer interest, as multiple clients and various card collectors regularly journey from Buffalo and other parts of Western New York to take a closer look at the newest collections offered at the store. 

“I am actually very surprised by [the market],” Oberlies said. “It [the market] has been great, I have someone that comes in twice a week, never fails.” 

Along with the ongoing love she has for collecting sports cards, Oberlies’ goal behind JC’s stems from her wish to bring the younger and current generations back into card collecting. 

“My main focus of opening the store was to get kids back into collecting,” Oberlies said. “It’s hard to compete with the online world, but here people have the chance to touch and see the quality of cards. Hobbies are healthier and allow for kids to get involved with something other than electronics.” 

While stores that aim to attract a younger audience back into vintage hobbies have found some success, most of the audience is consumed by today’s form of online entertainment and games, both of which remain to be popular among pre-teens and adolescents throughout the country. 

“It’s important for places like this [JC’s] to exist,” JC’s employee Bryce said. “People are so addicted to phones and stuff, there needs to be a break.” 

Like most pure hobbyists, Oberlies has not stopped collecting, following her first sports card set and continuously updates the plethora of card inventory that JC’s boasts. While part of JC’s supply comes from outside card retailers, a majority of what is displayed at the store originates from Oberlies’ mass collection she estimates to be over 100,000. 

The store’s card stock ranges from baseball, basketball, football, hockey and many others, which are more than likely offered in both a classic or current variant. 

Apart from the physical card collection, JC’s also contains athletic sportswear like caps, shirts and other sports-themed goods. The variety of gifts and displays inside the store make for a popular destination among those who pass by the shop.

“I like to bring my little ones to browse around JC’s Cards,” Brockport resident Marie Cummings said. “It’s just a nice place to visit.”  

Prior to the rise of the video gaming industry and other online attractions that are now responsible for more than a quarter of how the average U.S. teenager spends their time, physical-based games ruled the world of children’s entertainment. Despite the increasing development of consoles and applications that offer a personalized way to play, enthusiasts like Oberlies strive to prevent traditional hobbies and games from fading away. 

 

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