Lefebvre's mainly collects MLB, NFL, and NBA cards.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass.— BPL Sports Cards & Collectables is a project of passion for owner Brian Lefebvre who is making his dream of owning his own store come true.
Store owner and collector Brian Lefebvre's new business venture all stems from a passion for sports and collecting that he admits borders on an obsession.
"I don't have very many vices in life, but this is my one thing," he said. "...I've been collecting since 1990 since I was a child. I am a lifelong collector and have been doing this for a very long time. It has always been a dream of mine to have my own store."
Lefebvre opened in the Berkshire Emporium on Main Street in June. His shop takes up an alcove in the store where he has lined the walls with sports memorabilia and different collectibles.
A glass case holds hundreds of cards.
"They are my own hobbies, and I am trying to cater to more sports stuff. That is my flavor, the sports related stuff," he said. "I try to carry a little bit of everything, and I want to be able to give options for collectors. Nostalgic items, things I find cool, or remember from my childhood."
The storefront also stocks Hotwheels Cars, models, sports memorabilia, jerseys, and even Pokemon Cards. There are both new items and items that will scratch that nostalgic itch.
"A lot of people got out of card collecting for a while and now they are kind of reintroducing themselves back to it," he said. "There is a nostalgia factor."
Lefebvre said his son Reilley is a big part of the business. Reilley makes his own recommendations and is responsible for the Pokemon Cards and Hotwheels stock in the store.
"He is a big part of this too. When we first started out, he was all about coming in and helping out and doing stuff," he said. "He'll travel with me to shows and help which is nice."
Family is important to Lefebvre and sadly it was the loss of a family member that moved him toward opening up his shop.
Late last year Lefebvre lost his wife to breast cancer.
"That's kind of the sad kind of ironic twist. I guess the reason why I decided to do this now is…life is too short, that cliche," he said. "Just after Christmas, I had lost my wife to breast cancer, and that kind of sparked a bigger fire in myself to want to go out and do something like this."
Lefebvre said he happily put this dream of opening up a store aside to raise a family but after his wife's death, he found a new perspective on time.
"I am sure she would agree that I would probably be happier doing this now, and I don't want to wait," he said. "I don't want to wait the next decade saying, 'What if?' Life is too short to not try."
Lefebvre said he is motivated and not afraid to fail.
"If I fail miserably, fall flat on my face, and this doesn't work I scratched that itch," he said. "But thankfully, for the grace of everything, it has been a success. This has gone way better than I expected. This place has steadily gained."
Family and community are a big part of BPL. Lefebvre said collecting sports cards is a generational hobby that parents, grandparents, kids, and grandchildren can all share. He said family members often come in together to dig through piles of cards looking for both new players and players from the past.
"This encompasses young and old. We had a 15-year-old boy at a table with a 70-year-old man doing the same thing, digging through all these boxes looking for cards," he said. "...There is no one age that comes in here. It is a cool connecting point. Fathers come in here with their sons and dig through looking for their favorite players."
Lefebvre said there is a close-knit community surrounding card collecting, and he frequently goes to conventions and card shows as a member of this community.
He added that the rest of the world is catching up with his own fascination, and sports trading cards have become popular again.
He said something happened over the pandemic.
"Right before the pandemic, around 2017, we started to see a slow build of interest. Then for whatever reason, I don't know, the pandemic just kind of lit the fuse and exploded the entire industry," he said. "The last two years have been insane, and I've never seen cards sell for these higher prices. The pandemic really put everything into overdrive."
He said breaking culture became popular over the pandemic. Breakers often live stream opening packs or cases of cards. Viewers often can purchase cards from the break.
Lefebvre said he plans to add breaking to his business at some point in the future.
"During the pandemic a lot of things were online. Breaking became very popular," he said. "I have been involved in that stuff, and I have looked into trying to do it myself soon. I enjoy doing it, and it gives people a sense of entertainment."
Lefebvre is always looking to grow his supply and collection. During an interview with iBerkshires.com, he was specifically excited about picking up a large vintage card collection in Vermont later that day.
He said cards from the late 80s and early 90s are less valuable and are known as the "junk wax era" mostly due to overproduction. Though, he does carry these cards.
Lefebvre said he constantly travels throughout the region setting up at different trading card conventions. He said his dream is to go to the National Sports Collectors Convention. He hopes his business can help him one day get there.
Lefebvre said he has never collected for the money. Although it is nice to find valuable cards, he is more interested in collecting and how it supports his own fandom.
"I have been a sports fan for the better part of my life. I follow Boston and New England teams. So collecting ties me into looking for specific players, teams, or whatever," he said. "It is fun to be able to sit there, watch a game, and maybe open something. Funny enough, nowadays I don't have time to watch a lot of sports."
He said he is more interested in collecting players from his favorite teams or finding special cards that may have a piece of his favorite players' jersey in it or an autograph.
This is a cornerstone of the collecting community, a love of sports. This is something he hopes to build on in his store. He eventually wants a bigger space that can truly serve as a collecting community hub.
"I would want to do events eventually. If I ever get big enough to get from this location out to my own building," he said. "I want to hold trade nights which is common in the trading community. It is a showcase for collectors who can all congregate in one area and network with a community of other dealers. Collectors, kids, whoever just to build a community."
Lefebvre is a vendor and admits running a business is new to him. He thanked Berkshire Emporium owner Keith Bona and This and That Sports owner Reggie Davis who have helped him along the way.
Currently, Lefebvre has a full-time job and is really only manning the storefront during the weekend. Although his items are for sale whenever the Berkshire Emporium is open. Eventually, he wants to make BPL his full-time job.
"Eventually I want to get out on my own. I want to be able to be here every day," he said. "I want to be here for about a year and then see where I stand."
Lefebvre said he has seen an upswing in business as the holidays move closer and urged people to check out his store. He said he surely would have something for any sports lover.
"There could be a very special gift here; a very personal gift," he said. "I am doing my darndest to keep fresh inventory, to try to keep getting more and more of it in."
Lefebvre also buys and trades and has an online presence. He can be found on Instagram, Facebook, and eBay.
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