Cape Breton man trades work in western Canada for a sports card and collectibles store in his hometown

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SYDNEY, NS – Gordon Woodill backs off when he admits what he did with hockey and baseball cards he had when he was a child.

“I remember buying them from local convenience stores and then putting them on the shelves on my bike or throwing them against the wall,” said the owner of Light The Lamp Sports, now 47. . Cards, a business he opened two months ago on Charlotte Street in Sydney.

“Back then it was a lot of fun and I thought the games we played with the cards were great, but now when I look back I wonder how many rookie Wayne Gretzky cards have died that way. . “


Light The Lamp Sports Cards

  • Who: Gordon Woodill, owner / operator
  • What: Sports card and collectibles store
  • Where: 367 Charlotte St., Sydney
  • When: 11 am-7pm (LH); 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. (Saturday)
  • Why: The business involves exchanging and selling sports cards; collectibles and sports memorabilia

For the record, a pristine edition of The Great One’s 1979 O-Pee-Chee rookie card sold for US $ 3.75 million earlier this year in a private sale negotiated through an auctioneer. A similar Gretzky Rookie Card in the same state which was sold for $ 1.29 million in December 2020 had previously transferred the property for a sum of $ 94,000 in 2011.

Unsurprisingly, Woodill has no new condition Gretzky rookie cards on display. However, it doesn’t take long for him to produce a 1982 Gretzky card. collector can pick up this one for just $ 15. Woodall then shows off a 2015 Connor McDavid Upper Deck ‘Rookie Phenomenon’ card. It’s worth $ 50, with the price likely to rise as the current Oilers captain continues his sensational career.

Woodill’s new store, located in the former premises of Gordon Photographic Ltd. by Warren Gordon at 367 Charlotte Street offers more than just sports cards. An entire wall is dedicated to signed jerseys of various professional athletes. Another shelf holds all the accessories needed to store and display cards and other collectibles.

Gordon Woodill stands outside the two-month-old Light The Lamp Sports Cards store on Sydney’s Charlotte Street. Woodill, who for years traveled to western Canada to work, said getting up every morning to do something you love is priceless. DAVID JALA / CAP-BRETON POST – David Jala

POKEMON

And on an eye-level shelf behind the counter are Pokémon cards. Pokémon? Is this still a thing?

“It’s huge,” Woodill confirmed. “Pokémon cards that sold for example $ 30 in the early 2000s are now worth thousands. Truly.”

In fact, eBay statistics for 2020 show that Pokémon cards averaged five sales per minute, which is even higher than the much more established baseball card market rate.


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In Cape Breton, one would assume that the hockey cards would be king. And although they are hugely popular, Woodill said the younger generation seems to have a growing appetite for other sports.

“Most of the kids who come here are looking at basketball cards,” he said, unsure that the very next customer would ask if there were any new basketball cards in stock.

“Basketball is important with kids right now. And the recent NFL draft, which included three marquee quarterbacks, sparked increased interest in football cards. But I still get a lot of old people every day with cards that they’ve had for years, lots of hockey cards. This is what is so cool about this business. Everyone has different interests.

Light The Lamp Sports Card store visitor Richard Kauffman examines some of the signed jerseys lining the north wall of the Charlotte Street store which opened in July.  DAVID JALA / CAP-BRETON POST - David Jala
Light The Lamp Sports Card store visitor Richard Kauffman examines some of the signed jerseys lining the north wall of the Charlotte Street store which opened in July. DAVID JALA / CAP-BRETON POST – David Jala

A better life

Woodill acknowledges that he will not get rich in the sports card and memorabilia industry, although there is still hope of stumbling upon an extremely rare card in mint condition that may have been hidden for years in a box or a chest or an attic.

“I can’t imagine a better life right now – I just talk about sports and watch sports all day long, and that’s not such a bad thing,” said Woodill, who spent years commuting between Cape Breton and Western Canada where he first worked as a concrete carpenter before embarking on fireproofing.

“It’s the pleasure of working in something you love to do. And for me, it’s a sporting environment. People walk into the store and everyone has a story. Sometimes it’s someone they’ve met, sometimes it’s a game they’ve been in, sometimes it’s just their favorite team or a big event that just happened. pass.

Upper Deck's 2015 Connor McDavid rookie card, left, and O-Pee-Chee's 1982 Wayne Gretzky card are just some of the many cards on display at the new Light The Lamp Sports Card store on Charlotte Street in Sydney.  Customers shouldn't be surprised that store owner Gordon Woodill is a staunch fan of the Edmonton Oilers.  But, hey, there are also a lot of Canadiens and Leafs player cards available.  DAVID JALA / CAP-BRETON - David Jala
Upper Deck’s 2015 Connor McDavid rookie card, left, and O-Pee-Chee’s 1982 Wayne Gretzky card are just some of the many cards on display at the new Light The Lamp Sports Card store on Charlotte Street in Sydney. Customers shouldn’t be surprised that store owner Gordon Woodill is a staunch fan of the Edmonton Oilers. But, hey, there are also a lot of Canadiens and Leafs player cards available. DAVID JALA / CAP-BRETON – David Jala

Indispensable online

Ironically, this isn’t the first time Woodill has toured the block. He bought a sports card business when he was in his twenties and operated it as Gord’s Collectables Emporium. But the industry has changed since then, with much of its business being conducted online.

“My single card sales are mostly online, I guess about 90 percent of my single card sales are on eBay,” said Woodill, who is a longtime Edmonton Oilers fan.

“I can’t get as many weird cards here in the store as I do online, but your well-known players, guys like Carey Price and Sidney Crosby, are popular both online and here in the store.”

Light The Lamp Sports Cards is open Monday through Saturday. Woodill said sports fans and those looking for gifts for sports fans are always welcome to the store to check their stock, show off their collectibles or just hang out to chat about their favorite players, teams and games.


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