LOWELL, Mich. — Only a few businesses can say their sales went up during the pandemic, but Rookies Sportscards Plus in Lowell is one of them.
“You can't spend money on concerts or traveling or going to the movies,” notes owner Jack Reedy of his customers, “so they got money for Pokemon cards and comics.”
Reedy got into Rookies with his father 29 years ago, and he has never seen anything like this, especially with Pokemon cards: “There's just an insatiable demand for Pokemon cards. And it's not just kids. Kids, adults, dads with their kids, multigenerational.”
If Rookies carries it, it sells. “Game wise, of course, you can do board games during a pandemic,” Reedy explains.
And then there are the comics, which have the advantage of hot movies and series to promote them. “The Marvel movies are right front and center. Even without movies, we've got the Disney Channel: ‘WandaVision’ has been a hit. The new ‘Falcon and Winter Soldier.’” Other comics staples like DC’s Batman and The Joker continue to be popular, plus comics that aren’t super hero stories. “Stuff like ‘The Walking Dead’ or ‘The Boys’ on Amazon, these are all shows based on comic books.”
The entertainment value of these items at Rookies is obvious, but the collectible side is always part of the mix. You’ll find a rookie sports card for NFL star Tom Brady for $499.95 or Issue #2 of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for $1,999.00. (“I actually bought that in high school,” Reedy admits. He recently had it appraised, or “graded” in collector's parlance.)
Games are another wildly popular item these days, and they are different from standards like Monopoly. “A lot of the older games just weren't very good. A lot of them were kind of, you go around a board,” Reedy says. “Today's games are just better games.” They tend to be role-playing games, such as Reedy’s favorite, King of Tokyo. “You’re giant monsters fighting each other rolling dice.”
One part of the business Reedy hopes to see again soon: Events such as game nights. He says they were a great way to learn new games.
If you are beginning to think that Reedy is just in it to avoid work, there may be some truth to that. “I always say it beats digging ditches,” he admits. “You're not coming in here, you’re not having fun. This is kind of the other place to be.”