Have you been hearing all the hype surrounding sports cards recently, but don’t know where you can buy them?
Sure, you can go to your local Walmart or Target and hope to find retail packs and boxes. Those are great for beginners in the hobby who are looking to purchase an inexpensive product, with the odds of hitting a card of significant value very long. However, it has become tough even to find these retail boxes, as they typically fly off the shelves the second they are restocked.
For those looking for higher-end products such as hobby boxes, which give you much greater odds of pulling valuable memorabilia and autographed cards, you will have to go to a specialized card shop. Besides packs and boxes, these shops also give you the opportunity to check out display cases full of single cards across all sports in an environment that you can not recreate online.
This weekly series will put a spotlight on one of those shops in every state as we virtually travel across the country and tell the stories behind some of the top brick and mortar storefronts in the hobby.
I recently had a chance to sit down for a Q&A with Dan Fleyshman, who, along with the world-famous DJ Steve Aoki and DJ Skee, recently opened Cards & Coffee in Hollywood, California.
ONE37pm: How long have you been collecting cards, and what is your favorite thing to collect?
Dan Fleyshman: From 4-8 years old, I was buying and selling cards at the swap meet. My parents had a Levi's Jeans booth out of the back of a van. They set up their jeans, and I set up a card stand. Then I got big into Magic the Gathering, Pokemon, and POGS. I won the National Championship in Magic the Gathering and POGS at Comic-Con in 1995, and I stopped playing. About a year ago, Gary Vee asked me to come to the National - the Sports Card Convention in Chicago. I was just gonna go for a few hours. I had no idea what it was. I got there, and I ended up staying for a few days. The cards that I bought there I got a LeBron James 2003 Chrome PSA 10 and a Michael Jordan 1986 Fleer PSA 8 & 9. I was excited, but I didn't understand how big it was gonna get. A few months later, those cards went up 100%, then 200%. Gary started a group chat, and I just got addicted. That’s how it all evolved into this. I just realized that I had bought so many cards that I decided to turn it into a business.
ONE37pm: How did you link up with Steve Aoki and DJ Skee, and how did you develop the idea for Cards and Coffee?
Fleyshman: DJ Skee was in Gary’s group chat. I saw that he had a ton of cards and was really knowledgeable. Aoki had just gotten into the hobby, and all of a sudden, he had six figures in cards, and then a million dollars in cards. It was the first time in his life that he wasn’t traveling. He normally DJ's about 280 nights a year. I saw how much pure joy and excitement was there. So I was looking to open a card shop, and Skee said, “wait a minute—at Dash Radio you can open up inside of here. We have 25,000 sq/ft”. We are on Hollywood Boulevard. It all just kind of evolved into our sports card shop, but then it evolved into live breaking. Live breaking is going to be the core of our business.
ONE37pm: Besides live breaks, what do you have in mind for Cards and Coffee in the future? With all of the artwork and other things you are featuring, it definitely isn’t your typical card store.
Fleyshman: The idea is to be a super mainstream type of card shop. Kind of like Netflix vs. Blockbuster. A lot of card stores have been around for 20 or 30 years, and it’s usually a father and son running the shop. They know everything about sports, and I can’t compete with that. I don’t have the same history and legacy that they do. What I can do is try to modernize it and still let the father come here with his two kids, the mother to come here with her daughter and son and feel comfortable. But we will have the “cool factor’ that will want to make the sneakerheads come here; social media influencers and rappers will want to jump on live breaks. People will feel comfortable sending us their cards for PSA group submissions. We want to be everything that somebody would want in the card space, and doing content consistently, teaching people about the industry. I want to make videos about the shop and tell people how they can run their own shop. Showing the back end and business side of things. Also, for us, it’s just a lot of fun.
ONE37pm: You, Aoki, or DJ Skee—Who has the sickest collection?
Fleyshman: Right now, the entire collection inside of the store is just my cards. There's $1.9 million in cards here, and we have some more coming. Jason Koonce of OTIA Sports, he’s got a big six-figure collection he is sending over here. Then I will get Aoki’s cards and Skee’s cards to put in their cases. I’d say they are very different. Mine is a lot of modern basketball, some vintage basketball, and a little bit of baseball. Aoki is deep into basketball, but Skee is the most diverse. He has all the different sports.
ONE37pm: Did your background in business, specifically in the poker world, prepare you well for this industry that you are relatively new in the game? There would seem to be a lot of natural tie-ins between gambling and sportscard breaks.
Fleyshman: There is a big correlation. Live breaking is a form of gambling. I think the main difference is that most everyone is going to get a card, a pack, or a stack of cards. In gambling, you get nothing a lot of the time. If you are gambling at a casino and make a bet, say you have $500, you might make ten $50 bets, and you could wind up with $0. That happens a lot of the time. If you buy into 10 different breaks at $50 per break, even if you got unlucky, you are still gonna get physical cards that might go up in value in the future. People have a different feeling about it. The feeling of getting stuff makes you feel better than if you have zero chips when you walk away from that table. You know you are gonna get some cards in the mail, and that $3 card could end up becoming a $20 or $100 card. If you got a Luka when Gary was buying them at $35-$70, and now they are $1000-$1500, you just don’t know. However, the gambling feeling is still there. You have that same gambling excitement.