Owner pulls 1/1 Mac Jones shield auto
By David Yarger
“The Chase” Co-Host
Monday morning, Mark Gronek, owner and operator of Mark’s Card Shop outside of Chicago, sat down and joined “The Chase” to discuss the hobby.
Recently, Gronek pulled a one of one Mac Jones Shield Auto out of a Panini Contenders Optic box. Jones cards have been a hot trend of late, with some of the cards going for $100,000 and more. Additionally, Gronek talked about his passion and inspiration for his shop.
Gronek said he got into the hobby after his dad introduced him to cards in the ’90s and has fond memories of making trips to local card shops.
“I was all in on the ’90s. Hanging out with neighborhood kids, making trades,” Gronek said. “I got out (of the hobby) like most people, then got back in about five years ago. It’s been a whirlwind.”
After spending some time away from the hobby, Gronek said he seen some videos on social media and felt the new products coming out were “really good looking.”
“It’s kind of a unique thing. There’s a community behind it, there’s some hype. So people got back in with the pandemic, of course. I just got back in 2018. I remember going to the local card shop, getting a box of 2018 court kings for a couple hundred bucks, and it was just like I was sucked in from that point on,” Gronek said.
Gronek added, since he’s been back in, what he enjoys most about the hobby is the people and community involved with it. He said he’s met some great people and enjoys all the camaraderie amongst everyone in the card collecting world.
“I’m not trying to rip cards to go hang in my basement and look at them. I want to show people at the shop, I wanna post it on social media. Some hits are good enough where you don’t have to tell people, they see it. … It’s all about us, and without people coming into the shop or going to card shows, it just wouldn’t matter. It would just be expensive cardboard, so there’s meaning behind it, because there’s people behind it,” Gronek said.
He added it took a little time to get “hardcore” and eventually get into owning a shop, but he said the passion to own his own business was always there. Gronek’s card shop has been open for just over a year, and began after he realized it was time to follow his passion. He said after 10 years of real adult life, seven sales jobs and a pandemic, he said the time was now or never.
“I had a million different routes I was about to take throughout the last decade. … None of them happened, because the passion wasn’t really there,” he said. “As soon as this started to come to fruition, I had that small window of opportunity and I went for it. The rest is history.”
Mark added how he loves seeing people walk through the shop’s doors on a daily basis and he stressed how important it is to leave a lasting impact on his customers.
More on the Mac…
The day Gronek pulled the one of one card, he said he almost didn’t go into the shop, due to lingering cold symptoms. Despite that, he made the trek in, because another employee was also unable to work.
When he came in, he received a shipment of six Panini Contenders Optic boxes. He decided he’d break one to check out the product and see if he could get a big hit. Everyone had different opinions regarding the box Gronek pulled, but in the end he stuck with his gut and continued to believe “this is the one.”
After breaking the box, one of the first few cards he noticed was the back of the Jones card, which showed one of one. After some excitement on video and saying “That’s magic baby!” and “We eat!” he flipped the card over and revealed a gold card with Jones’ auto and the NFL shield.
“This is the coolest thing, because usually I’m watching the YouTube videos or I’m on CardPorn. This is so amazing when I’m like the subject,” he said. “You never think you’re gonna rip the big one. So, it’s cool if you have someone filming it, that was just impromptu, but you never think you’re gonna pull the big one and then you do.”
Gronek got a lot of love for his reaction to the pull and said it really shows the energy and passion the shop has every day, and he was happy it helped put his place on the map. He added that it is “easily” the top pull of his life.
“Just financially and exposure, nothing else compares,” he said.
The Jones pull is top amongst two other pulls Gronek noted, one being a Luka Doncic auto, where his auto said “Lulu,” which is sentimental to him because he calls his daughter, Lucy, Lulu. He also said a Fernando Tatis Jr. out of 71 was also near the top of his pull rankings.
As time moves forward, Gronek said he plans on getting the card graded and then possibly sent to auction.
To discover more on Gronek and Mark’s Card Shop, visit his social media accounts here.