When we where going through some files the other day we stumbled across an old Beckett Direct from 2002 that had an interview with Adam in it. This interview was conducted by Pepper Hastings from Beckett Media. Figured we would share it on here:
If good guys wear white hats, Adam Mart might be a saint. Most hobby observers never have seen Martin without one of his now trademark white ball caps on his head. But as Chief Operating Officer of Dave & Adam’s Card World in suburban Buffalo, N.Y., Martin wears many hats- employer, buyer, seller, trade show whirlwind, and deal maker. Martin recently talked with Beckett Dealer Direct about how to open a card shop, getting help from Dad, and being called “Dave.”
Beckett Dealer Direct: Adam, you’ve spent thousands and thousands of hours and dollars at collectible shows over your professional life. Looking way back, do you remember the fist card show you ever attended? Where was it and who did you go with?
Adam Martin: The first show I ever attended was in late 1985 at the Buffalo Airport Radisson Hotel. Mattingly was smokin’ hot and everyone was searching for 1984 Donruss boxes. I grabbed a couple of collecting friends and droved up with $40 burning in my pocket. I bought a 1985 Topps wax box for $25 and was mad I didn’t get an Eric Davis Rookie.
BDD: How did you and your partner, Dave Silver, meet each other? At what point did you decide to go into business together?
AM: I met Dave in 1988 at a show in Rochester, N.Y. At that time he was attending R.I.T. and would do weekend shows to get extra money to live off of. Since we were by far the youngest exhibitors there, we tended to hang out together. Boy, those Rochester shows were great. I can remember walking the show buying Jordan Fleer Rookies for $10 and having the dealers laugh at me.
A couple year later, unsure what I wanted to do with my life, I decided it would be fun to open a store. I didn’t have any money, just a bunch of cards, so I went to some of my best friends who were just out of college and hitting the job market to see if they wanted to be my business partner. No one did. Discouraged and ready to give up, I mentioned it in passing to Dave and he jumped at it.
BDD: Some businessmen avoid partnerships, yet you and Dave seem to have flourished together. What are the different strengths that each of you bring to the business?
AM: Dave is pretty laid back and levelheaded. I’m pretty aggressive and intense. It’s a combination that probably shouldn’t have worked, but it did. Dave also had a background in accounting, which really came in handy. I’m asked all the time what makes us good business partners, and the answers is that we stay out of each other’s way. I trust what he’s doing, and he trusts me. Over the past 12 years I don’t think we have had a serious argument.
BDD: Was there every any consideration that the name be “Adam & Dave’s Card World?”
AM: Oh yeah… before we ever discussed opening the store we decided to run classified ads in hobby publications to buy Pierre Turgeon Rookie cards. He was selling great locally for about $8 and I figured we could get him for $3. I approached Dave about splitting the ad cost and the cards we bought. I told him we would call it Adam & Dave’s Hockey World. Well, some discussion began about whose phone number to put in the ad- we both wanted to take the calls and make the deals. By the end of the day, my number was in the ad, and the new name of the company was Dave and Adam’s Hockey World. A few months later we began buying Jim Kelly cards and the name changed to what it is today… Dave & Adam’s Card World. Needless to say, everywhere I go, I get called “Dave.”
BDD: You now operate both a storefront and a distribution/warehouse site. Talk about the first day you opened your first store in downtown Buffalo. Do you remember when you turned the lock open?
AM: We opened the 450 square foot Dave & Adam’s Card World retail store May 15, 1991. We had $120 in cash, and $145 in the checking account. Every nickel from three month’s worth of shows we did to raise money was pumped into the showcases, inventory and all the other minor costs of opening a store. We had four sets of those flimsy metal shelves with pack boxes in rows, and a few showcases full of rookie cards. On our first day, the place was packed with kids and we did $600 in sales. Friends and well wishers stopped in all day long. I remember thinking it would never get any better than this.
BDD: Who were some people behind the scenes who were instrumental in supporting you and Dave when you first got started?
AM: We tried to get banks to loan us money, but none of them would. We ended up having our fathers co-sign a $3,000 loan for us which we used almost entirely for rent. The owner of the property had seen the last three tenants skip out of him, so he made us put up almost four months of rent in advance.
So our families were very important. Our friends pitched in helping us move as well.
Part 2: Tomorrow.