Successfully running your own business is a tall order in today’s retail environment. I don’t think I’m being too blunt when I say the odds are stacked against you.
Staying in the black with a trading card and sports memorabilia store is tougher yet. You are dealing with a niche market, and a high percentage of customers who can be fickle at the best of times. My hat is off to those who own and operate the few stores in the Niagara region catering to this market. These guys deserve the support of all hobbyists.
And that applies to every retail (aka “brick and mortar”) outlet across the country. A store can offer elements of the hobby experience that a private dealer or eBay specialist cannot. There is personal interaction and face-to-face customer service. If you develop a sound relationship with a store owner, he can almost serve as your hobby “agent,” not only looking out for what you collect, but also offering professional news and advice.
Every store is different, and a reflection of the owner’s vision. Some are more grandiose than others. And when it comes to grandiose, it is hard to imagine anything bigger and better than what you’ll find at Frameworth Sports Marketing (frameworth.com).
Located in Toronto near the Yorkdale shopping centre, Frameworth formally opened the mother of all sports memorabilia showrooms earlier this year. A sports nut could refer to it a number of ways - heaven, nirvana, Shangri-la, the promised land - and all would be appropriate. The room is huge and the ideal venue for displaying hundreds upon hundreds of framed and autographed memorabilia pieces featuring athletes from all sports.
Of course, Frameworth has been in business for over 15 years and has a well-earned reputation as a quality producer of matted and framed items. The showroom is a natural extension of those efforts. Yet, it is so much more than a showroom. It is also home to the Legends Café, the perfect place for a sports nut to enjoy lunch. There are sports simulators, and large-screen televisions, all situated in a gorgeous and classy décor.
Owner Brian Ehrenworth admits he got a little carried away with the project. He was originally planning on investing approximately $300,000 on his new showroom. By the time he was finished, his expenditures were pushing $1 million including $100,000 on the woodwork alone. One look at the end result will demonstrate his vision. The facility will take your breath away.
“When you spend a million dollars on a project,” he says, “you’re always a little tentative but the initial response to this place has been phenomenal. This is a much more intimate setting. When you walk into our door, that’s when you notice the difference.”
With what may be the finest facility in the land, a natural evolution for Frameworth entails hosting autograph signings. They have just launched their “Saturday Signings” series in which one or two retired stars appear at the showroom from 2 to 4 pm each Saturday. Eddie Shack and Pierre Pilote are scheduled for this Saturday, while Gerry Cheevers will be signing on December 8.
“We are trying to make this a more friendly experience,” says Ehrenworth. “People can actually book a time in advance to receive their autograph and meet the player. They won’t have to stand in line for hours. You can have your picture taken with the athlete and the photo will be ready in 15 minutes. We also offer a spectacular deal on a custom-made frame.
“We’re trying to add some class to the event and it’s working out nicely. Customers have already told us that this was the best signing they have ever come to.”
So, if you have something special in mind for yourself or a loved one who can’t get his or her fill when it comes to sports, a visit to the Frameworth showroom should be a high priority. I think it’s safe to say you will be amazed.
All signed products come with a Certificate of Authenticity. Frameworth is a licensee of