July 18, 2011 by danolaurel
Where did I leave off? Oh yeah, being ultra let-down about being in elementary school and my garage-turned-baseball card shop didn’t make me a gabillionaire.
Fast forward a little bit.
I’m now in 7th grade living with my mother and my sister and I have way too much free time on my hands. (I’m sure that sentence needing multiple hyphens, but ill leave them alone for now). The apartment complex that we lived in was the in the north west suburb of Houston and fairly calm. We lived upstairs above this amazing family which I’ll call the “Foresides”. Somewhat similar situation going on in the apartment downstairs as there were mutiple siblings living with their mom.
I became really close friends with the older of the two brothers whose name is Robert. We shared a passion for sports cards and turned out comic books as well.
This part of my life begins what being an adolescent is all about really. My voice what starting to change, hair was starting to form under my armpits and I wanted to fit in and be cool. Not just be cool, but be tough. So I started to do what most cool kids do around 13 and began to shoplift.
Now I wasn’t boosting cars, or holding people up at gunpoint, but I was shoplifting a lot of candy. Which led to shoplifting sports cards. Remember; this was the mid-90’s and cards were EVERYWHERE. The video section in the Randall’s grocery store sold them, gas stations sold them, I mean it was so mass produced no one even cared to notice. Which was great for me and my new friends because we loved to shoplift and we loved sports cards.
Having an abundance of cards created a problem though: Where do we stash all of our stuff? I have to admit that I threw a lot of cards away at the time. It was the beginning of special insert cards and limited runs. And looking back into my old collection there was also a craze with getting the premier asian player’s cards. Remember Chan Ho Park?
Speaking of Asians, this is where our good friend Michael came into the picture. His mother had a shop at our local flea market selling various ladies clothing and such, but had a friend adjacent to her that sold office furniture. We asked him if we could set up a table and see if we could sell our cards there. Surprisingly he said yes!
The three of us guys brought all of our comics and cards every weekend and actually had a pretty good amount of customers come visit. In my head it seems like we were there for years, but realistically it was probably for the weekends during the summer.
We drew up a sign and named our table ‘Top Dawgs Comics and Cards’. Card shop number two.
I learned an important business rule really quickly. The cheaper you get your inventory, the more profit you can make. And since ALL of our inventory was stolen goods, well, we got to keep all of our money. Which I saved, er invested, er spent on more junk I didn’t need, i.e. more comics and cards.
It was a good time that went by way too quickly. We ended up moving back to south texas and only recently got back into touch with all of those guys. By then my itch was gone and so was Top Dawgs.