KEARNEY — Nick Kidd, a big kid at heart, has been buying and selling sports cards since he was 12 years old.
“I’d buy collections out, piece them out and sell them and make profits,” Kidd said.
When Kidd was 10 years old, he tagged along with his mom Lyn Krabiel from their home in Hastings to antique shows in Lincoln where she sold antiques and collectibles. At 12, Kidd bought his first full set of sports cards from another dealer who wanted out of the business.
Kidd set up his own booth and sold cards from the collection. He said he made a profit his first weekend of sales. That profit helped him purchase more cards.
“I would buy packs (and) sell the cards out of it right away,” he said.
As Kidd grew older, he got into buying and selling Hot Wheels and Johnny Lightning toy cars.
“I found out how fun they were because if you can’t own a Corvette, at least you can own little Corvettes,” he said.
Now 40 and living in Kearney, Kidd is turning his passion for sports and nostalgia into a brick and mortar business at 2424 W. 24th St., Suite 1, in Kearney.
He named the shop Kidds Korner.
“You know the name fits me 100 percent. I am a very big kid at heart,” he said. “I love toys. I love cards. I love talking about cards with people.”
Kidd opened his store in January but quickly shut down in March because of the coronavirus pandemic. He reopened the shop in May and will have a grand opening and ribbon cutting at 1 p.m. July 31. Because Kidd also works as a supervisor at the Big Apple Fun Center in Kearney, his store hours are limited to 1-5 p.m. Sundays and Tuesdays, 1-6 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays.
Along with the sports cards and vintage die-cast cars, Kidd sells comic books, Husker memorabilia, gaming cards, vintage toys and other antiques. Kidd’s mom, also now of Kearney, still buys and sells antiques, some of which are at Kidds Korner.
Kidd, who described himself as a “dog chasing a squirrel,” said he collects everything.
“I will go really hard on sports cards for a while,” he said. “Then, ‘Hey, I found a really great collection of Hot Wheels. Let’s go and see what they got.’ Now comics have come into the fray. ‘Hey, I just found a collection of comic books. Let’s go through these today.’”
Kidd’s shop shows his broad interests. In one corner, comic books are sorted in boxes for customers to shuffle through. Kidd’s wife, Jennifer Kidd, decorated the walls in the corner with her favorite superheroes.
Another wall is lined with mostly 1980s, ’90s and early 2000s die-cast cars and vintage toy trucks and cars, which Kidd said are becoming more popular.
“The thing that is funny about toys is actually old rusty toys are making a comeback right now,” he said. “I want to buy the toy I played with. The more beat up it is reminds me of how I loved it.”
Other toys, such as the Fisher-Price brand from the ’70s and earlier, also are hot commodities right now. Kidd has displayed a few of these nostalgic pieces in his store. Next to that sits a small deck of cassette tapes, which he said teenagers have come into the store to buy.
Kidd also has stacks of magazines, including vintage Sports Illustrated, Car Life and Mad.
At the focal point of the store, posters of local sports teams — University of Nebraska at Kearney Lopers, Nebraska Cornhuskers and Tri-City Storm hockey — hang on the walls alongside a signed poster of former Minnesota Twins player Kirby Puckett and a character in Kidd’s favorite movie, “The Sandlot.”
Below the posters are where Kidd keeps his best sports cards on display in glass cases. He has dedicated one section of the case to former Husker players and another portion of the case holds hockey players, Kidd’s 10-year-old son Landon’s favorite sport. Also, inside the case is a poster of “The Sandlot” cast with six of the cast members’ signatures.
He has lined additional ’80s and ’90s cards in boxes behind the glass cases. In that era, Kidd said, sports cards were mass produced and easily obtained.
The newer cards, however, are harder to come by. For example, Kidd said he can’t keep basketball cards in stock. He said there is high demand for these cards because COVID-19 cut short the basketball season and limited the production of the cards.
Kidd said he decided not to carry the latest season of basketball cards because of the cost.
“Basketball is the only thing that is getting crazy to the point that you’ll see people selling cases of 2019-2020 basketball cards for $1,000 a box. For me to even get some in wholesale cost, we’re talking $800-$900,” he said.
But it’s not all about the money for him.
Kidd, a former Hastings College football player and self-proclaimed sports fanatic, said he most likes talking to customers, especially children about their favorite teams and players when they’re looking at cards. He said it’s something he was able to do as a child at one of many card shops in the Tri-Cities, which since have closed.
“Us young collectors had a place to go, not only to buy, but we get to shoot the bull with people about our favorite players or things coming up,” he said. “And while school was in session, I actually had a lot of kids coming in and doing that. That’s what actually made me the happiest. Yeah, they might buy $5, $6 here and there, but they have a place to come and talk about their favorite teams.”
Photos: Kidds Korner
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