Everything old is new again as sports memorabilia is back in Barrie in a familiar location with a new but nostalgic name.
Doug Laurie Sports and Auctions opened Saturday, Sept. 8 and is stocked full of all your favourite trading cards and sports memorabilia.
Located in the Kozlov Mall across from Party City, Doug Laurie is not only a familiar name to some, but also has a familiar face behind the counter in owner Wayne Frazer.
“I ran the previous store that was in this location and have been involved with the industry for about 25 years,” Frazer told BarrieToday. “I know pretty much all the folks around the area that collect and what they collect, but I really like when someone comes in that I don’t know and can see what their hobby is.”
Doug Laurie Sports originally was the pre-eminent sporting goods store in Toronto and got its start in the early 1940s. In the early 1960s, the store moved into 62 Front St., which was the storefront next to the entrance of famed Maple Leaf Gardens. The store stayed open until the early 1990s when LeafSport moved in and Doug Laurie went quiet.
When Frazer decided to start up his own business, he acquired the name and said it is not just sports items that he is in the business of, but a bit of nostalgia as well.
“It is where any kid in the Toronto area went to get sticks, jerseys, sharpened skates, you name it,” said Frazer. “If you were 40 years old or younger, you may not know the name or you may recall it slightly, but the older generation knows all about it and we get lots of positive comments regarding the name.
"We’re actually currently in the process of trying to acquire some of the old jerseys with the Doug Laurie Sports tag in them."
The Kozlov Mall location is home to a massive collection of trading cards and collectibles that one will see Frazer tending to every day.
Many people comment to the owner about thinking the industry was dead and gone, but Frazer has a different view.
“People come in at least once a week and say ‘wow, a card store, I didn’t know these existed anymore’ or say that ‘no one buys cards anymore’ and I tell them, 'yeah, that’s why I’ve been in the business for 25 years',” he said. “They certainly aren’t what they were in the '90s, but that can be good and bad.
"It’s bad that the market has shifted to higher-end products, so it’s not as cheap as it used to be, but it’s good in that the over-production is gone," Frazer added. "When there is no scarcity of something, there’s no value. Just ask people who own Beanie Babies. Cards now are made at a much smaller scale, even if you see them at Walmart or the Dollar Store. Those packs are less valuable than what we have because we have the hobby packs, which have more than just the base cards and are more likely to contain the rookie cards and more expensive cards.”
Frazer says that cards are still going for a decent price and if you had an Auston Matthews rookie card in good condition, it could fetch up to $250 to $300 without being signed.
Doug Laurie Sports has events lined up over the next little while and has already hosted a couple Tim Hortons Trading Card Nights, which allows collectors to bring in there Timmies hockey cards and get what they need and trade what they don’t.
This Saturday, Oct. 20, the store will have Maple Leafs legend Red Kelly on location for an autograph signing that runs from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Frazer hopes to see lots of people there on Saturday and any other time they want to drop by.
“I view this job like being a bartender,” he said. “People come in to buy cards, but they also come in to talk and just kind of hang out. That is what I want to develop here, I’ve bought a coffee pot and the fridge is stocked with water so come in and chat.
"We might start having a pizza day or every now and then on a Saturday morning just have some donuts here and get to know each other, hang out and talk; there isn’t enough of that anymore and it’s always appreciated.”
You can follow the store on social media on Facebook, Twitter and their eBay ID at @DougLaurieSports.