GROVE CITY, Ohio — Plain City native Ryan Johnson is at the right place at the right time.
He just moved into his newest storefront located at 3455 Grove City Road in Grove City, with three times the space of his previous location.
It's been the perfect storm; the sports card industry has experienced a boom never seen before to coincide with the pandemic.
“I think a lot of people saw, hey, there's money to be made in this; this is fun. They're a lot cooler than they were in the 80s and 90s when everything was mass-produced and they all looked the same. Right, they've got autographs now, jersey cards,” says Johnson.
But Johnson is far from an overnight success story. He's been a trader, buyer and seller since he was a kid, taking full advantage of the power of social media.
He currently has 65,000 followers on Instagram and 23,000 subscribers on YouTube where he posts videos several times a week, in addition to a weekly podcast.
Johnson says when it comes to buying, selling, or trading sports cards, research is key.
“Getting an idea of what it's worth via eBay sold listings is a great place to start. But we see it all the time, right, where people find their collections in their closets from when they were a kid and they bring them in, and we're always happy to give people advice on like, this may be worth something. This might make sense to grade. This is not very good,” says Johnson.
Whether or not the sports card market could see a crash like it did in the 1990s continues to be a debate among collectors and sellers.
However, market research shows the sports card industry was worth $13 billion in 2019, could be worth upward of $100 billion in 2027.
Johnson says he's grateful over the last three years CardCollector2's top line has grown by four times, and the business has added eight employees to help meet customer demand.
Although he's putting in long hours these days, Johnson says he's enjoying the ride and seeing people of all ages coming together for the hobby.
“We really want to try and build that community aspect in it. You know, you’ve got a place to sit and break your cards. You’ve got tables to, you know, trade with other collectors, and our cards, just so many different things. We didn’t always collect these cards because they were worth money, right, it happens to be our business now. But we collected these cards because they were fun and enjoyable and we idolized the people on the cards. So I think that’s still important, is that this is still a hobby at heart,” says Johnson.