DIXON – A popular hobby soon will become a new business venture for Dixon residents Pat Kronenberg and his fiancée, Brittany Humphrey.
They are the owners of Sports Shop, 84 S. Galena Ave., which will feature trading cards, unique T-shirts, and baseball caps, to name a few things.
They’re holding a soft opening Saturday, and a grand opening sometime in June.
Kronenberg’s father operated a card store in New Lenox when he was a kid, and he soon became a collector himself. He now possesses an abundance of baseball, basketball and football cards. So does Pat and Brittany’s 12-year-old son, Brayden, a sixth-grader at Washington School. Their favorite athletes are San Diego Padres slugger Fernando Tatis Jr. and Houston Rockets power forward Christian Wood.
“Him and Brayden are into watching football, baseball and basketball, and they’re very big player fans, not team fans,” Humphrey said. “They would find cards that they liked, of players they thought were cool or looked cool, and it kind of snowballed from there.”
Many of those cards will be on display in Sports Shop, to buy or trade. Customers also can list cards on eBay for sale, after they have been graded for quality. Boxed sets of cards or individual packs will be available in the store.
“Because we have a brick-and-mortar shop, we will sell packs of cards,” Humphrey said. “If you want to come in and buy a pack of cards hoping you are going to hit the jackpot, you can do that.”
T-shirts will focus individual players, not the teams for which they are affiliated.
For instance, shirts bearing Walter Payton’s likeness don’t mention the Bears. The same goes for shirts featuring the Cubs’ Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo, and the White Sox’s Jose Abreu and Tim Anderson, to name just a few.
The shirt supplier is 500 Level, based in Chicago. Humphrey shopped at a 500 Level store in Wrigleyville, near Wrigley Field, and was inspired.
“I remember walking in there and being like, ‘Oh, this place is pretty cool,’ " Humphrey said. “It doesn’t say any team name on anything because they are not licensed with the MLB or the NFL. They are licensed with the players associations of each one.”
Don’t see a player you like? Orders also can be placed.
The Sports Shop is working on partnerships with apparel companies Majestic and Champion, for team-affiliated sweatshirts, and Company 43, for player-specific socks, Humphrey said. They do have a partnership with apparel companies Soft As a Grape and Chitown Clothing for team apparel.
Merchandise in the Sports Shop will be dictated by the season. It is baseball-heavy right now, then will turn to football in the fall, followed by basketball and hockey in the winter.
It is not, however, the place to buy sports equipment.
Down the road, Humphrey is hoping to offer local high school apparel.
There is also a charity component to Sports Shop: some proceeds will be given to Granny Rose Animal Shelter in Dixon.
One of Humphrey’s friends is Rudy Rutherford, who helps organize the Top Dog Bags Tournament that benefited Granny Rose in the past. COVID-19 has stopped the Top Dog Tournament, for now, and Rutherford has a backlog of donated sports items that were to be auctioned.
Those items, including a Packers helmet, will be on display in Sports Shop, and 100% of the proceeds will go to Granny Rose.
Check them out
The Sports Shop, 84 S. Galena Ave. in Dixon, is open from 2 to 9 p.m. Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m Saturday. Call 815-994-4197 or find Sports Shop Dixon on Instagram or Facebook to learn more.