Cooperstown is synonymous with the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
Topps is synonymous with baseball.
It only makes sense that Cooperstown and Topps work in harmony to give baseball fans and trading card collectors a unique experience in the quaint western New York town.
On Sunday, April 3, a Topps by Dave & Adam’s store opened just steps down the street from the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
“Cooperstown’s just a terrific community. It absolutely is transformed in the summer into kind of the baseball mecca of the world,” Adam Martin, co-founder of Dave & Adam’s Card World, told Sports Collectors Digest. “It’s going to be great to be part of that community and contribute to Fanatics’ desire to really grow the category.”
While meeting with Topps representatives at the 2021 National Sports Collectors Convention, Martin — whose company’s headquarters are in Tonawanda, N.Y., just north of Buffalo — pitched the idea about the Topps store in Cooperstown. It would contain Topps products and be run by Dave & Adam’s.
“I just kind of threw it out there because, honestly, most of the other ideas I had got rebuffed pretty hard,” Martin said. “To my shock and surprise, Topps was thrilled with the idea, because, unbeknownst to me at the time, they really wanted to open a flagship store in Manhattan, but COVID had completely derailed the plan.”
Topps’ representatives latched onto the idea quickly because one of Martin’s main points was the store would be for the Cooperstown community and to enhance the hobby, noted Topps communications manager Emily Kless.
“To have a Topps store in Cooperstown with Dave & Adam’s, who are one of the biggest in the hobby, it just feels like all the stars have aligned and we’re really excited to see it come to life,” Kless. “It’s where all of the iconic legends of baseball where their photos reside on plaques, and now they’ll reside on cardboard as well.”
The 1,000-square-foot store won’t be jam-packed with product; it will feature primarily single packs, boxes of cards and supplies. Single cards will not be sold.
Martin thinks the Topps by Dave & Adam’s store will be a great asset for the few card shops that currently exist in Cooperstown, because his company’s store will have a non-traditional feel and look to it.
“We’re going to have all Topps’ current product offerings there, and when they’re gone, there will be other ones coming behind it,” Martin said. “But it’s not like a traditional card store, so I don’t think that’s going to be much of a threat to the existing businesses there because they are very much true Cooperstown stores — they have memorabilia, they have autographs, they have apparel, they have tons of single vintage cards. We’re not going to have any of that.”
The main component of the store will be current release products from Topps. The majority of items will be baseball, but there will also be other sports that Topps produces such as Formula 1 and soccer cards. However, there won’t be an overwhelming amount of card options.
“That might mean 30 to 40 things in there at a time,” Martin said.
Along with current Topps releases, Martin said a cool aspect of the store will be its offering of vintage products.
“You can buy a pack of ’87 or a pack of ’79 baseball, if you want to,” Martin said. “We’re going to have rotating vintage boxes and packs in there, because, frankly, it’s nostalgic and it looks cool. We’re going to have all the current releases. We’ll have hobby product, but we’ll also have blasters and hangers and fat packs for people depending on how much they want to spend.”
Said Kless: “When we say that there’s going to be something for everyone at Dave & Adam’s, no matter who you are, what you collect, how old you are, there’s truly going to be something for everyone at Dave & Adam’s.”
Topps has been producing baseball cards since 1952. Kless believes the iconic having a presence in Cooperstown will hopefully attract more kids to the hobby.
“These are the memories you make, the family trips to Cooperstown and going to the Hall and seeing these baseball legends and then you get to go down the block and go to Topps by Dave & Adam’s and rip open some cards with mom and dad or a brother or sister or your own kids,” Kless said.
“It’s more than just what comes out of the pack, it’s really about the experience; it’s who you’re ripping open that pack with and the memories you’re making. It’s all about the experience of card collecting, and I think that’s what we’re trying to instill in the youth. That’s what Dave & Adam’s really set out to do is just make this a great experience for anyone of all ages that come into the store, especially kids.”
Martin encourages families to check out the store on their trip to Cooperstown. Dave & Adam’s are planning on giving away free items to any kid that stops by.
“Topps has generally provided us with a number of promotional items we can give away and we also have some Opening Day packs,” Martin said. “No one is going to come in that store and walk out empty handed, because we want the kids of America to know that baseball cards and card collecting are still fun and relevant.”
With merchandising giant Fanatics acquiring Topps in early January, adding trading card storefronts could be another avenue to enhance its brand and help grow the hobby in the future.
“It’s not the main focus, but never say never, right?” Kless said. “We’re going to see how it goes and see how the community likes it. … But it’s not a main focus to go out and start popping up with our own stores, but it is a really nice treat for us to be able to partner with Dave & Adam’s on it and kind of just be a part of the magic that is Cooperstown.”