VALPARAISO | Chad Siewin chose The Sweet Spot as the name for his new business to indicate what it sells: a combination of sports merchandise and memorabilia, trading cards and candy.
“It’s a sports term,” he said. “It’s the spot on the bat you want to hit. And it’s also about candy.”
Siewin has been collecting sports trading cards and sports memorabilia for more than 20 years, and selling both on eBay for the past 12.
“I started collecting as a kid because it was fun,” he said. “I liked the candy sports packs and getting the bubble gun out of them. But now kids don’t seem to be doing it. My whole objective is to get kids back collecting. I want the hobby to continue.”
After operating a lawn care business for 10 years, Siewin sold it two years ago to concentrate on buying and selling sports collectibles through the Internet. He opened the store to take that business a step further.
“Having a store has always been my dream,” he said. “I thought now was the right time to start my own business. I had money saved up and I had a lot of stuff saved up from collecting. I don’t get bored because it’s something I always wanted to do.”
It took about $10,000 in saving to prepare the store and add more merchandise to supplement what he already had collected. Beside trading cards, artwork featuring famous athletes and memorabilia, Siewin sells shirts and hats touting professional sports team and several regional colleges, plus candy.
His desire to attract youngsters to the store and to the hobby is the reason he decided to stock candy, Siewin said. Half of The Sweet Spot is devoted to about 30 bins of bulk and pre-packaged candy, locally produced Albanese Confectionary Inc. candy.
“The candy is selling pretty well,” Siewin said. “But I sell more on the sports side: trading card packs, baseball cards. I love seeing kids come in and find the guys (on the trading cards) they collect. Having cards makes them more interested in a sport, then they collect their favorite players, and have cards of their idols.”
After just a short time in business, Siewin said the shop is doing well.
“Every week is going better than the previous week,” he said.
Yet because Siewin is using the store’s revenue to acquire additional inventory, it could take a year to recoup his investment. But the shop isn’t only bringing in revenue; it also brings in sports merchandise that Siewin resells on eBay.
“Seventy-five percent of my business is on eBay. The store helps bring people in and gives me access to their collections.”