A few of the collectors, who run some of the booths at the local card shows, have been working on a plan to bring back a card shop to the area. After a lot of planning and hard work their shop, the Trading Card Co-Op, opened this weekend. Sure, there was a tropical storm lingering around North Carolina during the beginning half of the weekend, but that was not going to stop me, and a bunch of other collectors, from making a trip out to the Grand Opening.
If you live in the area, or are visiting the Raleigh area, the shop is in the Royal Building on Hillsborough Street across from Meredith College. It's in the same building as The Brickhouse restaurant and Ben & Jerry's. A convenient location, just a stop light down from 440.
The shop has a really cool feel and has a little bit different set-up from other card shops. The store is inside the building and collectors are welcomed by a glass facade, which makes up two of the four outside walls of the shop, and a nicely designed store logo on the front door.
The inside of the Trading Co-Op has a really cool concept and feel. From the outside doors it looks like any other card shop: Boxes of new products on shelves, tables with boxes of cards, display cabinets, etc. However, once you get inside the front door and start looking at the store's inventory and talking to the owners you will see why this is a unique and must see hobby shop.
When I first visited the store I spent some time talking with Jimmy, who ran Big D's Card Shop and was also a fixture at many of the local card shows, along with James who is also a fixture (and organizer) at the local card shows. There are several other collectors who frequent the local card shows who have also an interest in the Trading Card Co-Op, which is really where the shop takes on its flavor.
The Trading Card Co-Op has much more of a card show feel than a card shop feel. The display cabinets are each stocked by one of the steak-holders in the store. There is literally something there for everyone. When I visited on Saturday morning, I had a fairly busy day planned, and can honestly say that the forty-five minutes to hour that I spent in the store were insufficient to take in everything that I would have normally done on a visit to a card shop.
Again, a stand alone brick and mortar card shop might be doable in that amount of time, but a good card show? You can't pass up a good table, I have been there. Only, at the Trading Card Co-Op you are looking in the standard card shop display cases.
I started out with Jimmy's cabinet since he always has some Durham Bulls goodies lurking inside for me. You can't see it too clearly from the picture, but there are some nice Blake Snell cards on the bottom shelf. Jimmy is also the resident expert on the Carolina Hurricanes and always has a nice mix of hockey cards.
I had actually done a little work with Jimmy on a few cards the week before the store had opened and picked up two nice cards, one Cardinal and one former Durham Bull.
Cardinals player first:
I have a bunch of the Cardinals autographs out of the Past Time Pennants set, but did not have the Gibby autograph. Always a nice signature, plus he is wearing his trademark jacket underneath his jersey. Jim Edmonds rolled like that for awhile too.
Durham Bulls player:
I have not done much with memorabilia cards this year, but this one was too nice to pass up. The card has the authentication sticker on it that Topps started using last year with the Strata cards. I am typing this post while holding a baby, that's been most of my day, so I still need to look up the code to see when Archer wore this jersey.
So, this is where the card shop feel kicks in. After finding a pair of nice cards from one seller, I moved over a cabinet and found a few more nice things around the shop. I picked up an Aledmys Diaz Optics rookie card from James.....
Really I could go on and on about each of the different sections of the store, but I am not writing a dissertation here. Let's summarize it this way: The inventory is really strong in each of the cabinets and the collectors running the store are very knowledgable. Here's a look at some of the other cabinets......
This is one of the cabinets (above) that I could have spent some more time on. I see that Rodon on the top shelf. Let's hope its there next week. Some very nice hockey and football stuff in here too.
This cabinet (above) was baseball heavy with a lot of nice modern stuff on the top and some vintage stuff underneath on the bottom two shelves. The vintage cards looked sharp. The cabinet below had some great basketball autographs and cards, a little soccer, and a nice Piscotty card on top.
a cabinet of autographs......
They even have a cabinet with gaming cards.
If I had spent another hour or two at the store I could have sat down at each of the cabinets and done a write up on each of them and had a lot of material for my post. I feel that way moving from table to table to table at a card show sometimes too. I picked out a few cards, but could have easily bought something from each and every cabinet in the store and the pieces would have been strong additions to my collection.
There is even a section in the middle of the store with boxes sorted out by teams for collectors looking for some more inexpensive single cards. I found a cool old Pacific Darryl Kile parallel numbered out of 70...
The store also sells packs and boxes, which is the direction I went, since my time was limited and I have been a little behind on my 2016 cards. I missed the basketball, football, and hockey boxes, but in the picture at the bottom you can see the shelves wrap around most of the store. They also post collectors opening boxes and their hits on their Facebook page.
I decided to work on Stadium Club and Finest. I know the post is getting long at this point, but everyone wants to know what came out of the boxes....
Let's start out with the Stadium Club.
The base set probably deserves its own post, or two, which it will get in the coming days. I pulled two autographs out of the box. First up, is Reds catcher Kyle Waldrop.
Waldrop has been in Triple A with the Louisville Bats for the last few years. The Reds had him up the last week or two, but I believe he's been sent back down to the International League. The Bats are out of the playoffs, so I am guessing that he might be done for the season after this weekend.
Which brings me to my other autograph....
which belongs to Rangers pitching prospect Luke Jackson. Kind of a different looking card, so I had to flip over to the back which revealed that I pulled.....
a 1/1. While Jackson has not spent a ton of time with the Rangers this year, the former first round draft pick, is still rated by most publications as a Top 20 prospect in the deep Texas system. In fact, several have him ahead of Michael Matuella, former Duke pitcher, who once was considered a candidate to go first overall in the 2014 draft.
and the Finest. I will do more pictures, less words....
all very nice, so the two autographs had a very strong Durham Bulls flavor to them. First up is Andruw Jones. Always a very nice looking signature....
and the final autograph was my favorite card I landed from the first weekend of the Trading Card Co-Op:
This is just a great looking cards. Not sure it needs a lot of explanation.
Overall, I had a great time during my brief stop at the Trading Card Co-Op, but I am looking forward to my return visit in the very near future. There is so much in the store and it is such a cool concept to have a card show set up and feel. If you live, or have the chance to visit, the Raleigh area I highly recommend a visit.