Lynbrook Patch - Card Shack Celebrates 25 Years

Twenty five years ago, Steve Cardi was just like any other baseball card collecting teenager. He could flip them and trade them with anyone on his block.

However, unlike many others with a similar hobby, the passion would quickly turn into a career.

On May 30, 1987, a 17-year-old Cardi opened a small card collecting shop on Hempstead Avenue in Lynbrook. A quarter of a century later, Card Shack is still catering to the needs of local sports memorabilia collectors.

“When I was a young boy, I was an avid card collector,” Cardi said. “As I got into my teenage years, I decided to start selling some of the cards that I had duplicates of. So, I went to trade shows. When I was about 15 or 16, I decided to see if I could take over a table.”

He did and soon opened a 400 square foot store.

In its infancy, Card Shack was operated after Cardi was let out of school each day. He continued to operate the shop while attending three local colleges.

In 1991, Cardi moved his store to Valley Stream, his hometown.

“The store was about two-and-a-half times what I had,” he said. “That’s when the market boomed for football, basketball and hockey — before that, it was mainly baseball. Because of the other sports, I needed more room to display stuff.”

The early 90s also saw a major increase in autograph sales. Cardi began to cater to that market and still makes a large portion of his profits through signatures.

Cardi nestled into his current location on Atlantic Avenue in 2008.

To celebrate his silver anniversary in the business, Cardi planned a week of special events.

“I’ve never done a sale in 25 years,” Cardi said. “It’s a thank you to my customers.”

Friday night is Customer Trade Night. Customers can bring down their card collections and trade with others. Cardi says he will also get in on the swapping.

The owner will be hosting a card collecting seminar on Saturday morning for children ages 12 and under.

“I’ll give each kid a collecting kit, teach them how to take care of their cards and explain about different types of cards,” Cardi said.

Children who come to the store on Saturday dressed in a uniform showing the sponsor of their Little League team will receive a free pack of cards, according to Cardi.

 “That’s to promote [sponsorship] in Little Leagues and any other league,” he said.

An invite only brunch will be held for longtime customers on Sunday. Cardi’s first employee, Lynbrook resident Michael Frumento, and his first customer are both slated to attend.

The brunch is sure to bring Cardi’s life in the business full circle.

And, to think, it all started with a hobby.

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