For the past few years one of the bigger stories in the hobby has been the continuous shuttering of local card shops. Part of the problem has become the ability to find what you want at online dealers, and usually at a discount, and then there is the issue of certain card companies releasing product earlier to retailers like Wal-Mart and Target before it hits local card shops. Basically, what was once a lucrative option for dealers has now become a stressful existence.
A story from The London Free Press (London, Ontario) talks about a card shop in Chatham, Ontario (a city in Canada about 1 hour NE of Detroit). Someone broke in to his shop overnight, cutting through the security bars he had over his door, busting out the lock on the side door and then clearing off some shelves and stealing high-end boxes. Included in the haul were 3 Wayne Gretzky rookie cards and a 1954 Jean Beliveau rookie card. The card shop owner figured the loss of product alone to be at least $40,000 (Canadian dollars). Considering that they went for high end product and specific cards it leads you to believe that the thief(s) knew exactly what they came for when they broke in to the shop.
The owner has already cleared out his shop and temporarily closed because he needs to replace the door that was broken during the break in and he said that he may even have to close down completely due to the significance of the loss. It is pretty sad that local shops are closing down, being muscled out by retailers, card manufacturers and even thieves. I miss the days when I could hang out in a hobby shop just talking sports and cards, sadly now the nearest hobby shop is about 30 minutes away forcing me to order online or pick up the random product at retail stores.