Mar. 31—Johnny Kampis fell in love all over again and decided to pursue a worthwhile opportunity.
The 44-year-old Cullman native has collected sports cards and memorabilia for years and is now ready to share his passion for the hobby with the community.
Cullman Sportscards & Fun Shop is slated to open Tuesday, April 6 — the culmination of an idea that first took root last summer.
"Back in the 90s, I collected like a lot of people did — back when there was the first boom," Kampis said. "Cards were huge back in the 90s. The funny thing about all this is that I was actually liquidating most of my old collection. I had carried it around for years and really did not fool with it much. But I bought the stock of an old card store back in the summer, which I did mostly to liquidate, and then I ended up remembering why I loved cards so much back in the day. After that, I kind of got back into it.
"Then, I discovered the sports card market had really taken off in the past year during the pandemic. I think part of that was lack of live sports — people moving on to new hobbies or returning to old ones. I think a lot of dads got back into collecting with their kids, too. And then I just got a crazy idea to start a card shop. This building came open, and the price was right for me; so I thought I'd give it a shot. Here I am."
The shop offers a variety of inventory — both hobby and retail — including packs and boxes ranging from the mid-80s to more recent releases, a wide array of singles from all sports and several other items of interest such as Alabama, Auburn, Atlanta Braves, Pokémon and Star Wars collectibles and/or memorabilia.
"This certainly isn't all of it, but because of the supply and demand issue right now, it's crazy hard to get newer stuff at a good price," Kampis said. "And one of the reasons why I tried to get more vintage wax is people my age remembering some of these sets. But I do have some newer hobby boxes coming in as well."
According to Kampis, his will be the first sports card shop to operate in Cullman since Baseball Cards & Comics closed back in the mid-90s.
As for his Year 1 goals, Kampis said he'd like to increase his selection, build his reputation within the industry and ultimately create a place where those who enjoy the hobby as he does can come in and feel at home.
"Definitely want to build my rep with distributors so I can get newer stuff," he said. "As of now, I have all of this vintage wax, and I'm trying to focus on Braves players, Alabama and Auburn players, then go from there. Your client base dictates what you carry. You see what they want and find it if you don't have it. At the end of the day, I'd like to make this a fun atmosphere."
Cullman Sportscards & Fun Shop is located at 306 U.S. Highway 278 E in the old Scizzors Salon building.
Business hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Tuesday-Friday) and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Saturday).
The store is closed on Sunday and Monday.