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Old 02-25-2008, 04:55 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default (upper Deck Store Finally Opened)

(UPPER DECK STORE FINALLY OPENED)

Steve Garvey and current Laker Luke Walton showed up to sign autographs at the new Upper Deck retail store in Huntington Beach, California, ushering UDC back into the retail business after a failed attempt at City Walk at Universal Studios. The new store, which UD claims will be used to test the market and promote the industry, has been in the planning stages for more than than a year.

(Luke Walton signed this weekend at the new Upper Deck Store.)

"This is a terrific opportunity to showcase our best merchandise and partner with some local sports favorites to make our retail store a most memorable one," said Tim Muret, VP of trading card and memorabilia marketing. "Our plan is to open a store where we can test new products, kid friendly marketing initiatives, and promotion and retail merchandising solutions."

UDC has said since news first broke the company was going into the retail business it was not going into competition with other hobby stores. This was experimental, and was going to be used to test products and concepts. UDC did own a retail outlet at Universal City Walk in Los Angeles. It was a high rent experiment which never reached it's potential and eventually was shut down. UDC did talk to other stores in the area and announced it would get the same allocations other hobby stores got on product, high end and otherwise.

"Upper Deck is strongly committed to supporting hobby stores everywhere," said Greg Goldstein, UD's VP of gaming and entertainment. "The Upper Deck store is a perfect place for us to test out new products to see first hand how customers respond to hobby promotions."

With the power to bring in players such as Garvey and Walton and to stock UDA merchandise as well as vintage items from the Hunt Collection, it would seem UDC had little to risk on the store. Still Goldstein insists it's just another hobby store in the mix.

"The ultimate goal of everything we learn here is to help hobby stores increase sales and more effectively host in-store events," he said.

The company staged a remote with KLAC Radio to broadcast the opening live outside the store and inside the Bella Terra Shopping Center. Former Dodger Garvey signed for free for two hours. Artists from UDC distributed World of Warcraft also did some sketching for customers.

The 2100 square foot store is just blocks away from other stores in the area which brought about great concern. UDC tried to allay those fears by meeting with store owners.

"This is my life," said Brian Farole who owns Baseball Cards Plus a few blocks away. "It just makes sense we should be working together and this is something we can be a part of and that will help to keep the industry growing."

The UDC store has in store computers and a lounge area where customers can browse on-line and to check UDA merchandise as well as to get information on UDC products. Gaming tournaments will also be held frequently.

"We want to figure out ways to work with local hobby stores to attract new collectors create excitement," added Muret. "It is our intention to continuously test ideas and programs and to share those results with the hobby community. There is no better way to learn than at the street level."

Will this be the first of several or just an isolated case. Read further.
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