Sports Card Shop to Open in Hirsch’s Clothing Store Building

Valley News Business Writer
Published: 10/22/2017 12:39:34 AM
Modified: 11/6/2017 3:39:37 PM

Lebanon — Play ball! Or deal ’em. Or perhaps both.

A new sports card and sports memorabilia shop is getting ready to open in the former Hirsch’s clothing store building on Hanover Street in Lebanon.

The Bullpen, as the new Lebanon store is called, is an extension of the Twin States Sports Card and Collectibles Show that runs every month at the Upper Valley Senior Center and which is run by Jim Younce and Brian Pike.

Younce and Pike, co-chefs at the Harvest Hill retirement community, have been trading sports cards both online and at collector shows for several years but think the recent rebound in the card trading market will support the opening of a storefront despite the challenges faced by traditional retailers in the online shopping age.

“It was booming in the 1990s until they mass produced too many cards,” said Younce, of the boom-then-bust market that swept sports card trading during the recession. “But it’s coming back now and we just decided it’s time to do this.”

Karen Husband, who with her husband, Gary, owns the Boston Dreams cafe and sports memorabilia gallery in Windsor, agreed that sports card trading is seeing a resurgence and said she had just mentioned to her husband that perhaps the time is right to expand their online sports card business into a retail store.

“We got our hands full with just the cafe and high-end sports memorabilia,” she said.

“But the economy is better and people are working again. It’s very exciting to see (sports cards) come back.”

Younce said he hopes the store will help to generate the excitement for sports cards among kids in Lebanon that he felt collecting cards when growing up in Newport. (Pike grew up in Claremont). “We’re really going to focus on kids, like running promotions tied to report cards. It’s such a great hobby,” he said.

Younce said one of the things that attracted them to the Hirsch building was building owner Ed Hirsch, whose family-owned store occupied the location for decades until Hirsch ended the work apparel side last year focus on the uniform business.

He recently rented the space at the other end of the building to an operator of cafe and Caribbean art gallery.

“We had a long conversation with him. He’s just such a genuinely good guy,” Younce said.

Hirsch has had the building, which has six apartments on the second floor, listed for sale and said potential buyers look at the building weekly, “but we are nowhere near a sale.”

Younce said The Bullpen will open on Friday, to be followed by regular store hours of  2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday through Sunday. It is closed on Mondays. 

Correction

The Bullpen is open from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday through Sunday. It is closed on Monday. An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported its hours of operation.




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