New Bellingham business owner wants to keep this hobby enjoyable

Collecting sports cards is a hobby that’s been bouncing back in recent years, and Jimmy Sears wants to keep it enjoyable.

Sears and his wife Stacy Wakefield opened Turf & Dirt Sports Cards on Saturday, Oct. 5, at 702 Kentucky St., near Hardware Sales. The shop also sells memorabilia and non-sports cards.

For the past four years Sears worked with Joe Miles at Joe’s Sports Cards in Fairhaven before deciding to open his own store. Sears said he wants to create an atmosphere similar to a barbershop where 30 people are hanging around, but only five are actually getting a haircut.

“I want them (customers) to feel comfortable, whether they are buying something or just looking around,” Sears said.

After peaking in the mid-1990s, sport card collecting, particularly baseball, stumbled partly because of money and greed, Sears said. One reason for the downfall was that extra print runs flooded the market and the focus was on price. The hobby is in much better shape now, with online helping fuel collectors track down sought-after cards.

Some baseball card companies learned the lesson of the 1990s and limit the print runs. Some will insert the plate into the card packages, proving to hobbyists they won’t be making more print runs.

Another way the hobby has changed is there are so many different ways to collect. It used to be focused on collecting rookie cards and hall of fame players, but now there are many different avenues to pursue.

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“One thing that hasn’t changed is that feeling when you open a pack and getting the card you like,” Sears said.

In an effort to create that comfortable atmosphere, Sears is planning to host a variety of events at the store, including a World Series viewing party and trading days, where customers bring in cards to swap.

Sears also has a range of football, basketball and hockey cards. Hockey cards are becoming particularly popular around here, he said, as Seattle moves closer to establishing an NHL team.

The store is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends. It is closed on Monday. For further details, visit Turf & Dirt’s Facebook page.

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Dave Gallagher has covered the Whatcom County business community since 1998. Retail, real estate, jobs and port redevelopment are among the topics he covers.