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Each month, Upper Deck will spotlight one of our hobby retailing partners and some reasons why you need to visit their store if you live in the area. Visiting a hobby shop is always a lot of fun: they all have unique items and informative staff.
If you haven’t been to a sports collectibles shop lately and you’re in the Los Angeles area, make sure you visit our Retailer of the Month: South Bay Baseball Cards
South Bay Baseball Cards Inc.
1751 Pacific Coast Highway
Lomita, CA 90717
Monday-Saturday from 10:00AM-6:00PM
Sundays and Holidays from 10:00AM-4:00PM
I remember the first time I walked in South Bay Baseball Cards. I instantly said to myself, “Now this is what a sports card shop is supposed to be like.” The 3000 squire foot store is a family business run by the Allen family and you can’t help but feel the passion of a sports fanatic if you spend five minutes with South Bay’s Vice President, Scott Allen. He’s the classic story of a collector turned hobby shop owner, and his love for sports and the industry provide the drive his family needs to make South Bay one of the best shops to visit in the Los Angeles area.
The shop is well organized and arranged with loaded showcases and displays. On my first visit I was running around visiting a lot of different hobby shops in the Los Angeles area, so I was short on time, but when I got there, I had to slow down to take it all in. Quite frankly, the store was a lot different than some of the other shops I had visited that day. I drank it all in marveling at the history stored in each display.
One of the great things about the shop is the strong sense of community that Scott Allen and company have with their customers. The customers of the shop are all extremely friendly, but also very knowledgeable on their sports and their collections. There are usually box opening events around new releases at South Bay to help collectors get to know each other. Scott Allen believes the sense of community his family has cultivated is important, because the success of the store stems from, “the family experience, the trading and bartering, the purchasing and selling, and the feeling of accomplishment of building sets (that) will get passed down.”
One of the reasons they have been successful for so long now is because they embrace their community of collectors. “For 23 years we have run the type of sports collectible business that we always wanted to walk into,” said Scott Allen. “We give back all year long in may ways from thousands of dollars in prizes won by our regular customers, to supporting the local schools, churches, temples, boys clubs and little leagues.”
Their motto is, “Serving the collector, young and old!” For the young, South Bay will host birthday card parties for kids with prizes and other goodies. For the older collectors they offer vintage trading cards and memorabilia along with layaway programs. At least six times a year they have large give-away nights for their regular customers where they reward these customers with thousands of dollars worth of collectibles.
They also help bring trading cards to life by having in-store signings with major athletes from the area. In the past 24 months they have conducted signings with Steve Garvey, Fernando Valenzuela, Matt Kemp, Andre Eithier, Orlando Hudson and more!
Another reason they have been successful is because they have embraced technology. In 1999 they began an online business at sbaycards.com. Brian Johnson, their internet store manager has done a tremendous job of making their virtual store almost as exciting as their actual store. So stop in some time soon to South Bay Baseball Cards, either in person, or online.