1144 Fourth St, San Rafael
Who are they?
Bobby Michener has been in the sports collectibles business since 1993. He opened his San Rafael location in the summer of 1996. Michener was a teenager when he started in the business and frequented local sports collectible trading shows, where he bought, sold and traded with local dealers long before it became an industry. After years of staying with it, Michener decided he had finally worked up enough courage and inventory to attempt to launch a legitimate business.
Born and raised in the Bay Area, Michener was an avid sports fan, playing baseball, basketball and soccer all through school. As a kid, he started collecting sports cards and memorabilia as a hobby after being turned on to a massive vintage baseball card collection by a relative who, throughout his lifetime, built one of the larger known collections in the nation from the turn of the century to the 1990s.
Michener's early teenage summers were spent at Bay Area stadiums, attending games and chasing autographs from all the players, little by little building a private collection of his own. That collection is still alive and growing today. While Michener and his friends would wait for players to arrive, they would dream and draw up plans for their card shop, never truly believing that their little underground hobby would explode into a full blown industry and that Michener would really be doing this 25 years later.
What do they offer?
Diamond displays a wide variety of sports cards, memorabilia and general collectibles that Michener has been turning for 15 years. He believes collecting and trading as a hobby provides people with a real visceral experience that has the ability take people back to a special place in time and provide memories for what we love and appreciate.
Michener's uses his business as a catalyst for people to take their love and passion to a healthy place to share with others. His experience with big stores these days is a lack of a real connection between customer and proprietor.
"You have a host of employees that get paid very little money and just want you to make your purchase and get out of their hair," he said. "I can promise you you won't get a free Baseball Card or a conversation about the 1989 World Series at Target!"
How long have they been there?
Diamond Sports Cards has been in San Rafael since 1996.
Why are they in our Business Spotlight?
While collectible sports cards are hardly only for kids, Diamond gets the young ones in the door, and without anything digitized.
"They're aren't too many of me left around here," Michener said. "If nothing else I'm pretty rare, and from where I come from, 'rare' is good!"