I'll stick with the entry #2 theme for tonight, perhaps to celebrate the Tigers' win #2 in their key series of the month.
The second card shop I visited in 2013 was in "The Triangle" of North Carolina - Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill. This is a fairly commonly visited area and perhaps you might stop by there someday.
Shop - Cardiacs
Where - 1376 NW Maynard Rd / Cary, NC
Website - http://thecardiacs.com
Owner - "Jay" I believe. I cheated and peeked at their website. "Mike" was stuck in my memory. I believe 2 partners run the store.
Card Inventory - Fairly extensive. Lots of 21st century singles, the bulk of them "hits". Lots of wax, mostly new, older packs appropriately priced - 2011 Topps Update is now $4 / pack. Not sure if commons available, perhaps upon request. No quarter box type items.
Collecting Supplies - Yes. Even single pages should you need just one.
Space to rip your purchases - Yes, a small chair at a small table. Retail rents by the square foot of course, so I know I shouldn't expect much on this front.
Baseball Cards : Other Cards - About 50:50 I think, perhaps even a bit less than 50% baseball. Basketball is THE sport in The Triangle, the heartland of the ACC with 3 member universities nearby, and is well represented in the shop. Raleigh does have a successful expansion hockey team, the Hurricanes, and I came away with the impression that Cardiacs is probably a main local center for Hurricanes memorabilia. Very knowledgeable about Hockey cards, surely a rare thing in the south-east.
21st Century Survival Strategy - Interesting hours. Open Wednesday to Friday 5-8pm, Saturday 11-5, Sunday 1-5. This might seem odd at first, but I did quickly appreciate these. Working out in the middle of nowhere all the time, it was a little challenging for me to even make it there by 8pm, so that worked out great. The owner working when I visited explained that their hours are when the bulk of their customers have the most time to stop by - after work. He further explained that each of them work in another career and can not afford to staff the store on a more typical retail schedule. Seems like a good fit all the way around for the exceedingly challenging retail sports card business.
Cool Customer Service - A free gift for a new customer obviously serious about baseball cards. This was a neat little set that I need to make into a blog post of it's own one of these nights. I wish my work would have carried me through the Triangle a little more this winter to be a more regular customer. The shop also gave me my first Blue Sparkle wrapper redemption card, as I was beginning to realize I probably mailed in too late to receive any.
It also appeared that "New Cards Wednesdays" were a popular feature each Wednesday night, when new product was available.
Memorable Quote - "Make a decent offer on any card you see and we'll probably accept."
Treasure Wistfully Not Obtained - There were 2 of these in the realm of possibly obtained. There was another I don't expect to ever own in my lifetime - a 1956 Willie Mays. Such a great night card. Jay or Mike or whoever nicely helped me was very gracious in taking it out of a locked display case and letting me look at it up close in my very own hands, another experience I never thought to have in this lifetime.
On the other hand, I am regularly astounded at how cheap baseball cards are in the 21st century, when technology gives collectors instant access to thousands of card vendors and the resulting huge inventories of every card ever made, with dozens of copies for sale 24/7. (So sorry card shops, though I do promise to shop in them as much as I possibly can whenever I get to visit the Big City, wherever that may be). So perhaps someday on that Mays.
As I typed this up Bob Uecker was mentioning meeting the Say Hey kid just today in S.F., but then he detoured into a story about Hank Aaron facing Don Drysdale for some reason. Perhaps blogging during a baseball broadcast isn't the best thing for the fine details. I can't tell you the score right now, though I am looking forward to tonight's installment of "Ask Bob."
I was in the shop to work on building my then brand-new Series 1 collection with all my goofy subsets (well before dreaming up the Parallel Project), and to redeem several Spring Fever cards. I stuck to that project and even pulled the 1 Spring Fever / jumbo the owner thought would be in there, with only buying about half a jumbo worth of packs. So that went very well.
So I had to pass on two cards. A Stephen Strasburg manufactured patch card of the Montreal Expos cap logo. I liked the non-sensical, no-respect-for-Montreal composition of putting him on a sort-of Montreal card. The red-white-blue logo is a classic and made a neat little patch I hope to trade for whenever I get around to posting all the goofy 'manu-patch' (uggh what a horrible 'word') cards I have.
The other card I also plan to track down some day was a 1975 style Babe Ruth which was quite striking. It was NOT the 2011 Lineage mini pictured above. What year's card design is used on a modern card of a vintage player makes a big difference to me. I haven't sorted out what set it is from yet, I suspect probably the '02 or '03 Archives / Fan Favorites set, but I'm not sure without a visual checklist to consult on those as checklist writers don't bother including the card style in those sets. That's where you, dear reader, come in. ?