October 4, 2022

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Sports Really Satisfies

Braxton Brewing Co-Founders Open Hit Seekers, a ‘Modern’ Sports Card Shop in Northern Kentucky | Culture | Cincinnati

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Photo: Provided by HitSeekers

Hit Seekers is attached to the Braxton Barrel House in Fort Mitchell.

Braxton Brewing co-founders and father-and-son-duo Greg and Jake Rouse have combined their dual passions for card collecting and craft beer into their latest business venture with the opening of Hit Seekers Sports Cards in Fort Mitchell. 

Greg Rouse is a self-proclaimed “card shop guy.” He tells CityBeat in a recent interview that he started collecting sports cards in 1971, and he and his two sons, Jake and Evan, visit local card shops together whenever they travel. 

Hit Seekers started as an online streaming business on both Facebook Live and the Loupe app, a live e-commerce streaming platform built for sports card collectors. Two years of tremendous success led the Rouses to take a chance on opening a brick-and-mortar store of their own.

Currently the shop carries a vast inventory for all levels of collectors. While Hit Seekers focuses on sports trading cards like baseball, basketball and football, they also offer more niche franchises in the market. 

High-end collectors can find a $30,000 Tom Brady card, a $22,00 Joe Burrow card and a rare Ken Griffey Jr. card from his time at Archbishop Moeller High School to name a few. The value of these cards, according to Rouse, is driven by the player, year, rarity and brand. Budget and value boxes are also available for the common collector. 

Hit Seekers offers non-sports cards, too, like Pokémon, Star Wars and Topps Formula 1 trading cards. Greg says the shop is continuing to expand on that inventory. 

Greg describes the freshly built store as “not like any card shop that you’ve really ever seen before.”

He means that literally. Hit Seekers’ is built to replicate the feel of a ballpark — the floor is covered in astroturf and also has dirt-colored concrete painted with white baselines to resemble a baseball infield.

“When you walk in the front door of the of the shop, it’s essentially like being in centerfield of a stadium,” he says.

Unlike traditional card shops with rows of white boxes and little room to shop, Hit Seekers uses what it calls a “modern day” approach to card trading with an emphasis on fostering a community. While display cases run along each wall, the store’s layout is mostly open and focuses on a community table where the Rouses plan to host trade nights, inviting collectors to congregate and converse over their top collections. 

Once shoppers make their way to “home plate,” they can relax, watch TV and purchase a canned Braxton beer, water or soda at the store’s custom-built, glass-top bar, which features some of Hit Seekers’ most-coveted and diverse inventory, including PSA-graded Michael Jordan cards and cards of other top athletes like Cristiano Ronaldo and Tiger Woods. 

“Everyone will feel comfortable here and fit in here, regardless of what their collecting tastes are,” Greg says. 

While operating the brick-and-mortar, Greg says the Rouse family plans to continue to grow their online business via the Loupe app with the help of two in-house studios for livestream selling. 

“(It) just makes it very modern from an e-commerce platform — the ability to purchase in person or online,” Greg says. 

Shoppers are invited to view one of the studios through a car-wash-style window and watch a streamer “break a case” live — opening and describing the contents of a pack of trading cards for the remote purchaser on Loupe. Rouse has a team of five people operating the studios, selling and streaming 15 to 16 hours a day, seven days a week. 

Greg says the concept for Hit Seekers’ success is simple: “Make it cool. Stock it well. And develop a sense of community.

Hit Seekers’ collection is “vast and continuing to grow,” Greg says. He is continuously digging and pulling from his previous collections to find new inventory available for sale.

Hit Seekers currently allows the public to walk in and sell personal collections to the store, however, between high public demand to sell and Hit Seekers’ high selectively for their inventory, Rouse plans to move to appointment-only purchasing.

Keeping things in the family business, Hit Seekers is located at 2501 Dixie Highway, Fort Mitchell, attached to the Braxton Barrel House.

Find operating hours and learn more at hitseekerscardbreaks.com.

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