J&M Sports Cards
now offers sports and collector cards and memorabilia in the Oakland area.
“We have all kinds of supplies for sports cards, such as hobby boxes,” said owner Mike Warnick. “We can get just about any type of autographed memorabilia — baseballs, jerseys, hats, pictures. And we just started carrying Pokémon and Garbage Pail Kids.”
Warnick opened the store in August in Brodak Plaza. He has since been joined by Justin Dunithan as a co-owner.
“I deal more on the memorabilia side, and Mike knows more about cards than I do,” Dunithan said.
Warnick noted that Dunithan has been a good addition for the shop.
“He’s a people person like I am,” he said.
Warnick said he has been collecting cards since he was about 6 years old.
“What gave me the idea for opening the hobby shop itself was when my son (Brett) got into opening packs and collecting,” he said. “You don’t see very many brick-and-mortar shops anymore. I’d like to bring that back. There were a lot of good childhood memories for me when I opened up packs, and the expression on his face is the same way.”
Dunithan is involved for some of the same reasons.
“I started collecting when I was probably 5 or 6 years old,” he said. “My son, Kaiden, is a big Pokémon collector. That’s why we’re trying to get that started, because a lot of kids are collecting.”
So far, business has been going well.
“We sell an absolute ton of supplies,” Warnick said. “There’s a lot of people in Garrett County that collect.”
Customers also come from Cumberland and the Keyser and Morgantown, W.Va., areas since there are no other similar shops available.
“We have a lot of young kids that come in, but there are some older people and guys our age,” Warnick said. “It doesn’t really discriminate age-wise.”
An event that is held occasionally at the store is called “Pack Attack.” About 40 seats are available at $75 per seat. Participants receive a bag with unopened packs of mixed sports cards. The packs are opened when the announcer calls for it, and those who find certain cards are given more packs.
The event goes through several rounds, with prizes also drawn from the tickets sold and a grand prize at the end.
These events are announced on the store’s Facebook page.
Dunithan also noted the shop tries to stay competitive price-wise, possibly even dipping below big retailer prices.
“An advantage we have with being a hobby shop is that our products are hobby (while) they’re retail, so our products are a lot better. You get a lot better stuff in (the box). Nine times out of 10, most people like the hobby version over the retail version,” Warnick said.
The shop owners are also willing to buy and trade items, and customers can also make requests.
“If we don’t have it, we’ll try to get it,” Warnick said.
Unfortunately, the baseball cards that Warnick started to collect as a child are not worth much money today.
“When I started collecting, it was the junk wax era, and they just mass-produced everything because it was so popular back then,” he said.
Today, cards are more valuable.
“It’s not uncommon to pull a card out of these boxes now that’s worth $1,000, and some of them even over $100,000,” Dunithan said.
Warnick explained the store works with a distributor for the cards, but the process is getting more difficult.
“The sports card industry is so popular that they don’t need little guys like us,” he said. “Everybody’s getting cut back.”
Recently, the store’s distributor cut the store off totally, and the co-owners had to find a new distributor.
“The small guys gotta scratch and fight to survive, but so far we pay the bills,” Warnick said.
Before opening the store, Warnick was a part-time freight conductor for a railroad and sold on Ebay full time.
He grew up in Mineral County, W.Va., but he and his wife Jennifer wanted to raise a family “in an area that was laid back.” They have been here for 18 years. Besides Brett, their children include Kearstin Moser (recently married), Audrey and Josephine.
Dunithan is from Elk Garden, W.Va., and came to the business after his job ended when the Verso Corp. paper mill in Luke closed.
“One thing we both like about this place is we’re very family-oriented,” Warnick said.
Dunithan agreed, saying, “There’s kids in here playing games all the time.”
Currently, the shop is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.