By Christine Graf
Twenty-four-year old Queensbury native Chad Phinney was just 19 years old when he opened Trading Card Hub in the Shirt Factory in Glens Falls. At that time, he was selling sports trading cards on eBay.
“I was buying cards and reselling them, and I started making a lot of money doing it out of my parents’ basement. It just grew and grew until it got to the point where I had so many cards,” he said.
“My store originally sold just sports cards, but everyone wanted Pokémon, so I started getting into that.”
After about one year in business, Phinney found himself in need of a bigger space. He relocated his store to the Aviation Mall, and the following year, he considered relocating for a second time to the Wilton Mall.
“When I was renegotiating my rent for Aviation, I was in talks with Wilton. I ended up getting a good deal at Aviation and Wilton, so I decided to keep Aviation and open a second store at Wilton,” he said.
“A lot of the people who come to our Pokémon card trading events live in Saratoga, and they had been asking for a store there.”
Trading Card Hub is an official Pokémon store, and its Aviation Mall store hosts a popular Friday night Pokémon trading event, one that typically attracts more than 100 trading card enthusiasts. Plans are in the works to establish a similar event at Wilton Mall on Saturdays.
“Our trade event is free, and we get all ages—from little kids to older collectors with high-end collections. When they come, they can trade with each other or trade with us. All of the cards we have in our store are available for trade,” said Phinney.
“We’ve really built a community, and a lot of kids look forward to Fridays and beg their parents to come. Parents love bringing their kids because it gets them off their electronics.”
Trading Card Hub’s 1,500-square-foot Wilton store is staffed by 3 employees. The Aviation Mall space is twice the size and has 7 employees.
“We opened at Wilton Mall on November 16th, but it’s still a work in progress,” said Phinney. “We’re putting in more shelving and waiting on our store front sign. We’re trying to fill it with more product, and right now, it’s doing about half the business that Aviation does.”
In addition to offering collectible cards for sale and trade, Trading Card Hub sells new cards in sealed packs and boxes. The store also sells video games, drinks, and packaged snacks.
According to Phinney, demand for Disney’s newly-released Lorcana trading cards has been so strong that Trading Card Hub recently added a Sunday Lorcana trading card event to its calendar.
“On release day, we had a line going through the mall of people waiting to get them. I didn’t expect that many people, and a lot of them were older females which are a different clientele for us. There are a lot of big Disney fans out there.”
When it comes to ideas for new businesses, the young entrepreneur has many projects in the works. He plans to open a donut store as well as an indoor miniature golf course.
“I always have ideas,” he said. “I’ve found ways to make money since I was young.”
Phinney’s entrepreneurial spirit emerged when he was a teenager, and he made money by reselling video game promotional codes that were found on bags of Doritos and cans of Mountain Dew. He remembers a time when his mom’s kitchen was filled with 1,000 bags of Doritos and just as many cans of Mountain Dew.
“I was doubling my money,” he said. “I would pay $3 for a bag of Doritos and then go on eBay and sell the code for $6.”
For more information, visit www.tradingcardcenter.com