The following is from a Yelp review of Euclid Liquors, a hole-in-the-wall if there ever was one…
drunk review #451
This place reminds me of From Dusk Till Dawn!
Beat down old place but you’ll be surprised by their beer selection its better than most liquor stores. And the liquor? not bad at all! think about BevMo in a smaller scale. They are selling beer mugs too with those intricate designs for Oktoberfest.
I was looking for a sweet and sour mix cause i don’t really like jack and coke so that’s why I end up here.
Don’t be creep out by the old guy who works here, he’s pretty cool.
Hidden inside Euclid Liquors in Upland is a national treasure. No, I’m not talking about Panini National Treasures (although you should check out what a Hobbykings member got in a recent group break); rather, a real treasure was inside. In search of some Gatorade in this lovely late-August California weather, I discovered a trading card shop by the store’s alternate opening (there’s actually a sign outside that I’m guessing nobody takes seriously). That in and of itself isn’t that particularly odd; plenty of liquor stores sell random tchotchkes along with their fine beverages. We’ve all been tempted at some point in our lives to buy a terrible 49ers Starter Cap in the midst of a beer run.
What makes this certain establishment different are the cards being sold. Sealed boxes from companies like Skybox, Pinnacle, Parkhurst, Classic, and Impel adorn the shelves. Alongside David Robinson and Dale Murphy selling you on OlympiCards and late-80s Dornuss are the finest college basketball offerings of the Ted Williams Card Company. X-Men and Spider-Man cards had Fleer’s etched foil all over them. The pop culture section featured classics like William Shatner’s Tek World and Saved by the Bell. Rack packs and boxes that were only found in retail stores were precariously placed at the top spots as if to discourage people from sorting through them. When I saw that Upper Deck’s most prominently featured athletes were Shawn Kemp and Ken Griffey Jr., I soon began to wonder if I had stepped into the Twiglight Zone. All that was missing was my Dad giving me five dollars to spend judiciously for an hour.
It’s not uncommon to see businesses take on a retro theme to attract customers who want to relive their childhood. With so many kids who grew up in the 80s and 90s now grown adults with careers, selling wares that callback the good old days can be quite lucrative with the proper execution. A few weeks ago, I was witness to this when I visited the Iam8Bit art gallery in Los Angeles, a celebration of 80s video game culture. Interestingly enough, even they sold packs of old Topps Nintendo trading cards. A card shop or even just part of a storefront that recreated the look and feel of one from the mid-90s would attract many a fan of Eddie Jones, Paul Kariya, and Mike Piazza, Los Angeles-area sports figures that were very 90s.
But nothing about Euclid Liquors was ironic or self-aware. The boxes and the packs – most of which was part of an era where cards were overproduced in the millions and are practically worthless – were priced much like they were back when they first came out. Their display cases were full of neglected cards that have been exposed to too much light. Nary an autograph was to be found except for a Ray Allen 1996 Skybox Emerald Autograph Card that has faded over time to become a Ray Allen 1996 Skybox Emerald Card. The dust inside and on the packs themselves were so overwhelming, the video I shot automatically switched to standard definition, as if it was giving up. In other words, it’s a perfect replica of a seedy mid-90s card shop.
What is most interesting about Euclid Liquors is that the cut off point of “new” product seems to be 1996, which also represented a major change in the trading card industry as well. A lot of companies, including the aforementioned Ted Williams Card Company, had shut down once people realized that their collection were never going to achieve any kind of value other than comedic. The ones that did hang around shifted their focus to lowering their print runs, adding serial numbers, and bringing in athlete/celebrity-worn memorabilia to artificially enhance their values. By the following year, people had moved on from holograms to autographs and have not looked back since. Nowadays, a product that doesn’t have some level of interactivity with the people on those same cards have zero chance of making a dent in the business. In every sense of the word, Euclid Liquors is a throwback.
From an investment standpoint, Euclid Liquors isn’t going to give you that much return. You can expect a loss the moment you think that a box of 1994-95 Collector’s Choice (any sport) is a good buy at $35. If you’re looking for a potential steal in the display cases, there is a Walter Payton Topps Rookie Card that might yield a decent grade from a reputable service or a card so stuck on its screw-down holder that it might peel off the moment you take it out.
What you are really left with is if you’re contemplating making the trip is whether or not you open boxes and packs for fun, especially if you grew up doing so in the early-90s. There are plenty of places online and on eBay that can give you the same products for significantly lower prices, but you won’t be able to replace that fun feeling you had every time you stepped into a card shop on a Friday afternoon after school. And don’t forget to bring your Dad and his five dollars; he’ll just be outside waiting for you.