An enthusiast and card collector himself, 44-year-old Dan Keiper, of Winlock, last October opened his own sports cards, collectibles and memorabilia store in downtown Centralia.
Keiper’s Cards, located at 320 North Tower Ave., suite 104, features mostly sports cards and collectibles but also sells other collectible cards, such as Pokemon and Magic: The Gathering. Before opening his shop, Keiper was working at a local company shipping products for them.
“I’ve been collecting since 1987, on and off, here and there. Life happens so you get out of something for a while but then you get back into it. Cards are something that have always been around for me,” Keiper said.
He added he decided to open this shop during the COVID-19 pandemic as he saw a resurgence in the sports card market.
“COVID is what really, really helped bring back a sports card, Pokemon boom. Any collectible stuff I think, during the start of COVID with people staying home and going through their stuff. You could still buy and sell stuff online and do all that,” Keiper said.
During the pandemic, he also decided he wanted to finally become a business owner.
“I was on vacation for a week and had been talking to the old lady about doing this for a while and she was on board. I stumbled across this place, not too many better locations really, so I jumped on it and quit the old job a few months ago,” Keiper said.
According to research done by Technavio, a global market research company, the sports card trading market is projected to grow by $6.71 billion by 2026.
Market resurgence wasn’t the only driving factor behind Keiper’s decision to open his store, as he was tired of traveling to be able to buy and sell cards.
“One of the biggest reasons I opened this shop is that the closest shops are either in Tumwater or Longview. I live in Winlock and I was tired of driving to one of those places to go to a card shop or look for cards. I knew there hadn’t been a card shop here in Centralia for 20 years or so,” Keiper said.
He added that the local Walmart, which used to stock both Pokemon and sports cards, hadn’t stocked them since the beginning of the pandemic. All the more reason in his eyes to open up his store, he said.
“You still can’t buy a box of cards at Walmart,” Keiper said.
Keiper grew up in Centralia and recalled the old card shop he grew up with, owned by Pat Slusher and located in the Yard Birds Mall. Slusher sold the store to another owner and eventually the store closed sometime around the turn of the century, Keiper stated.
Since opening in October, business hasn’t been bad, according to Keiper.
“Business has been pretty good for really not doing any advertising except on Instagram and Facebook. I’ve been getting one or two new customers a day,” Keiper said.
Aside from buying and selling cards and sports memorabilia, Keiper offers customers a variety of other services, including PSA grading submissions of cards and collectables and special ordering for cards he doesn’t have stocked.
Additionally, he hopes to have professional athletes come in for autograph signings. He hopes to have one later this month, though the person and details haven’t been confirmed.
Keiper’s Cards is open Wednesday through Monday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and is closed on Tuesdays. Follow the business on Facebook at https://bit.ly/3Hx6lxM.