ST. ALBANS CITY — After dabbling in collectibles for years, Eric Ploof and Nick Plouffe have turned their hobby into a Main Street business.
The two opened The Goldfather, located at 12 S. Main St. in St. Albans, near the beginning of June, and they plan on using the storefront to buy and sell a wide range of collectibles and precious metals.
Right now, the store’s stock consists largely of collectible card sets, but the two are looking at purchasing gold and silver jewelry from those looking to sell.
“Come and talk about what something is worth and we might make an offer,” Ploof said.
While Ploof has the most experience with precious metals, he said card collecting became a real moneymaker when the COVID-19 pandemic arrived. Due to its effect, people spent more time at home and picked up some of their old hobbies.
“It got people getting back at it,” Plouffe said.
Pokemon cards, especially, saw renewed focus. At the time, the two business owners began participating more actively in the card market by buying and purchasing cards through online venues, and after doing well, Ploof and Plouffe decided to go full-time with collectibles.
Usually, they’re looking for rarer cards, which can fetch upwards to six figures depending on the card and its condition. Ploof explained that card collectors are usually aware of what’s going for the higher prices, and in general, if something is older, rarer and in great condition, the two can pull in some profit.
In the sports card market, pricing is also affected by who’s represented on the card, and high-performing athletes can usually bump up how much it sells for. A rookie card for Michael Jordan, for example, is something worth looking out for, Ploof said.
As for their day-to-day business at The Goldfather, Ploof and Plouffe still expect to buy and sell items online, but the storefront gives them another avenue to bring in unique collectibles. Customers, for example, could bring in anything off the street, and Ploof said they’ll buy most items that have some sort of worth on the open market.
While precious metals and collectible cards play a large part in the business, they’re also open to items such as antiques, vintage signs, bullion or nice shoes.
The items they do not deal with, however, are diamonds. Plouffe explained that they can figure out how much a gold band may be worth, but diamonds are trickier. Due to marketing in the jewelry industry, it can be difficult to set a price that’s acceptable for a customer, especially if the diamonds have sentimental value.
For everything else, they said they’ll try to keep their asking prices close to whatever the online markets are offering.
“We’re a collectible store. We buy most of anything,” Ploof said.
The Goldfather will hold a grand opening event on July 2, when visitors can sign up for a free raffle. Adults who enter can win a gold coin, and a second raffle for children will provide one lucky winner with a set of Pokemon cards.