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Hobby Lords was founded in Dunedin in 2021 to provide a fresh new look to the hobby and trade card games market and co-director Liam O’Neill said some "astronomical" prices were being fetched for cards brought as investments in what was a billion-dollar industry.
Last night’s opening of Hobby Lords in new premises in South Dunedin was a long time coming, the culmination of about 18 months’ work, after a test store proved the model worked "well beyond expectations", Mr O’Neill said.
South Dunedin was chosen for the flagship store due its accessibility, given parking problems in central Dunedin. There was also a vibrancy in the district, as he cited the impending arrival of the likes of Kmart, and he believed it could be the biggest commercial hub in Dunedin within about a decade.
Hobby Lords decided to position itself well ahead of that and its King Edward St premises were also very visible and accessible.
While the industry had been around for several decades, it had been "booming" since Covid-19. Many young people could not afford home ownership and were looking to alternative investments.
A card sold two years ago for $10 could now be worth around $1500 and there was a fear of missing out so demand was high. While there had always been waves in the industry, the current climate was the most consistent wave since the pandemic, he said.
Hobby Lords’ business model focused on the community and events were hosted at the store six nights a week. The store had also been fitted out by local businesses, he said.