FARGO — Responding to a pandemic-induced boom in the trading card market, JWW Sports Cards and Gaming is undergoing an expansion to their existing space in the lower level of the West Acres Mall which will more than quintuple the shop’s footprint.

Store owner Josh Wolters told The Forum the expansion will bring JWW Sports Cards and Gaming to 5,400 square feet, up more than five times from its current 1,000-square-foot space.

The highlight of the project will be a 2,000-square-foot events space for tournaments such as Magic: The Gathering, Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon in addition to 800 square feet of office space.

The retail area will be about 2 1/2 times the current size and allow Wolters to carry more products.

“I’ll be expanding on my offerings. With that space, it will allow me to have a better selection of products,” he said. “We’re completely renovating the whole space, so everything is going to be completely changed and brand new.”

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Wolters, who bought the former Big Nick’s Sports Cards and More in June of 2020, said a goal of his was to augment his events schedule and add new product lines. New products Wolters expects to carry include board games, sports memorabilia, gaming and sports card supplies and collectibles such as Funko Pops and anime and sports figurines.

A large Pikachu figurine stands on a display case inside of JWW Sports Cards and Gaming located in the basement of the West Acres Mall on Friday, Aug. 20, 2021.
Alyssa Goelzer / The Forum
A large Pikachu figurine stands on a display case inside of JWW Sports Cards and Gaming located in the basement of the West Acres Mall on Friday, Aug. 20, 2021. Alyssa Goelzer / The Forum

An reported a renewed interest in the collecting hobby sped up Wolters’ expansion plans.

“When I took over, I had plans of expanding the store, but it was more of a five-year plan,” he said. “With the way the market was and what we’ve done, my five-year plan became a one-year plan.”

JWW Sports Cards and Gaming has also felt the rising tide in the trading card market, Wolters said. Across the country, card shops like his have JWW Sports Cards and Gaming, with the COVID-19 pandemic cited as a driving force.

Josh Wolters, the owner of JWW Sports Cards and Gaming, helps a customer check out inside of his store in the basement of the West Acres Mall on Friday, Aug. 20, 2021, in Fargo
Alyssa Goelzer / The Forum
Josh Wolters, the owner of JWW Sports Cards and Gaming, helps a customer check out inside of his store in the basement of the West Acres Mall on Friday, Aug. 20, 2021, in Fargo Alyssa Goelzer / The Forum

In Wolters’ case, it helped that the upswing in the card market aligned with the beginning of his ownership. “We’re a little bit more focused on cards,” he noted. “I focus more on the cards, and that’s really helped, especially with the timing. It worked out well.”

Wolters added that both the gaming and sports cards sides of the business “look very promising right now” after a moderate decrease in interest when the summer began. “When summer started and things started opening back up, you could see a slight dip,” he remarked. “Now it’s starting to surge back up again. It looks like it’s doing pretty well.”

Autographed Trey Lance trading cards are pictured in a display case inside of JWW Sports Cards and Gaming located in the basement of the West Acres Mall on Friday, Aug. 20, 2021.
Alyssa Goelzer / The Forum
Autographed Trey Lance trading cards are pictured in a display case inside of JWW Sports Cards and Gaming located in the basement of the West Acres Mall on Friday, Aug. 20, 2021. Alyssa Goelzer / The Forum

Wolters reported that the goal is for the newly renovated space to open in the next three months, putting a possible opening date in November. He credited customers for making the expansion possible and sticking by the business during the pandemic and ownership change.

“The customers supported us and allowed us to do what we’re doing. You’ve obviously got to give it up to your customers,” he said.

With the pandemic pouring gasoline on the trading card market, Wolters is projecting a “bright future” for the business. “Especially locally, with the expansion and everything, it’s going to do nothing but create more excitement and a fun new space,” he said.

“We’re just going to keep working our butts off and keep it rolling,” he said.

Readers can reach InForum reporter Thomas Evanella at tevanella@forumcomm.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasEvanella