By Greg Batholomew
Owner, All American Cards and Comics
YOUNGSTOWN – What started out as a normal retail year for All-American Cards and Comics as we entered our 27th year in Warren and 23rd year in Boardman came to an abrupt halt in March.
Up to that point, sales were on par with our last five years.
The shutdown came at a good time, because I was recovering from a hospital stay and needed time to sell merchandise in our back rooms that were full of inventory.
From the end of March until May 12, we sold exclusively online and did quite well. We sold only extra inventory and didn’t touch anything that was in our showrooms.
After we reopened, we had record sales. For the 10½ months the store was open in 2020, we did 37% more sales then in our best full year of being open – and that does not include what we sold online when we were closed. Additionally, total sales were 40% higher than our second-best year for combined retail, online and convention sales.
We weren’t sure what to expect when we reopened. But it was immediately clear that the public wanted entertainment and since there were no comic cons, movie theaters or even vacations to go to, people supported local businesses.
I know some businesses have struggled mightily during this time but we are thankful that we survived and actually thrived.
My business model for the last 10 years was to make our inventory more about quality over quantity for just such an emergency.
Our average sale per item on eBay when we were closed was about $150, as opposed to the typical $10 to $20 range. We have higher ticket items and they found new homes.