The Heart of the Cards: Interview with Brandon and Megan Adams of Two Pair Collectables

EEDC spoke to Brandon and Megan Adams, two of the four owners of TPC, which recently opened on Elliott Rd. The other pair (of the Two Pair) is Andrew Rinaldi and Kristen Vigneri.

 

EEDC: What’s Two Pair about?

 

Megan Adams (MA): We are a collectible store; we sell Pokémon, Yugioh, and Magic trading cards. We also have some Plushies and some figures, but our sole focus is on trading card games and anything related to that.

 

Brandon Adams (BA): But Pokémon is how we got our start. We started it online, and it gave us the funding to be able to open this store.

 

EEDC: Why trading cards, why Pokémon? Was this something you were always into?

 

BA: Even as a kid, I was pretty hardcore. My parents loved it because it was free daycare. They would drop me off at noon every Sunday at Books-a-Million and came back to pick me up at five. This went on from when I was about 11, which is about ‘99 when Pokémon was first released, to when I was around 13. So, for two years straight, I went and played Pokémon for four to five hours every week.

 

MA: I also was into Pokémon. We lived in a complex, and around 10-15 kids would be playing Pokémon. One of my brothers had friends come over and play, so I picked it up, trying to fit in with his friends.

 

EEDC: Is that how you two met, over your love of the game?

 

BA: We were both in the Army. I had been stationed in Hawaii and was being processed for medical retirement. And Megan wound up coming to Hawaii on the day I was supposed to leave. But because of a delay, I got to meet her, and it was kind of love at first sight. We were married two weeks later. That was eight years ago. We now have a five-year-old son, Brandon Jr. He is also a Pokémon fan.

 

EEDC: How did the idea for a business start

 

MA: It happened during the pandemic. The passion for the cards came back for both of us and the other owners. I was online on Twitch (a streaming platform similar to YouTube, but instead of videos, it’s live) and noticed that Pokémon was in a high view category. People were opening packs and pulling out these expensive cards. I had not realized until then that Pokémon was again popular and that the artwork was expanding. I decided to go back to collecting not only for nostalgic purposes, but in the chance that I could hit a really good card and maybe resell it for a little bit of value.

 

I didn’t tell Brandon at first that I was into Pokémon again. I was almost 30 years old, and I thought he would laugh at me. So after seeing that Target shelves were completely empty of trading cards, I found someone selling them on Twitch. It turned out to be Drew and Kristen, the other shop owners we’re in business with. We lived in Florida at the time and got our business license, created a website, and started our business.

 

EEDC: What was it about Maryland, or more specifically, what was it about the Eastern Shore that attracted you and your business.

 

MA: We were already planning on moving to the northeast and considering the Virginia area, but because of Drew and Kristen, we also looked at Maryland. Although Drew is a transplant from Massachusetts, Kristin is a native of Cambridge. So we flew up here, stayed in Cambridge for four days, and decided that this was a perfect place. We liked the small-town feeling of Easton.

 

BA: We looked around for retail space around the Eastern Shore. I have a business background, and I did a little bit of market research, weighed in the average household income compared to expendable income, and Easton seemed to be better equipped. From what I saw online, it was a growing young couples’ community with kids in that five to 12-year-old range, which is perfect for our demographic.

 

EEDC: What made you decide on this particular building location?

 

BA: We had been thinking about how we would set things up with cabinetry and flooring but didn’t want to have to worry about permitting because we wanted to get stuff done quickly. So we looked at possible things we could do inside the store that would not require licensing. So no structural, plumbing changes, or electrical changes. Then we got estimates on having some cabinetry built. It was going to be around $60,000 – 80,000. From the start, we wanted our business to remain debt-free. So, I decided I would just do it myself. I’ve done woodworking in the past, but as I laughingly say, I got a master’s degree from YouTube University by watching probably 50 hours on cabinetry, and then I said, Okay, let’s build it. I built the cabinetry and everything inside of the store.

 

EEDC: The four of you run the store?

 

BA: We have two employees that know Pokémon very well. Any time a kid comes in and wants to learn how to play the game, we give our employees the ability to stop working. They are still on the clock, but they sit down and teach the kids the differences in the cards. We have what we call Academy Nights on Wednesday evenings dedicated to people who want to learn.

 

MA: We do have other nights for competition. We have tournaments every week for Magic, Yugioh, and Pokémon.

 

EEDC: Do you have a favorite card?

 

BA: My favorite Pokémon is Snorlax. And Megan’s favorite is Umbreon.

 

EEDC: What’s the most expensive card you’ve held, and do you still have it?

 

BA: I, personally, had a couple of Charizard cards. Unfortunately, when I was on my first deployment to Afghanistan, my mom informed me that she had lost the storage unit where I had kept all my stuff, including my cards. I would estimate that collection to be about $300,000.

 

We do have one of the Charizard cards in the store. It’s currently graded through PSA (Professional Sports Authenticator) as a five, and its value is around $1,000.

 

EEDC: Do people bring in their cards for you to buy?

 

BA: We do make offers. Mainly we advise people who don’t know if they have a card of worth. We tell them if their cards are valuable and how they should keep them protected. Then we also get kids coming in with an expensive card, and they want to sell it so they can buy some more packs. We try to steer them away from selling because some kids don’t understand the kind of investment that they have.

 

EEDC: So what’s your plan for Two Pair?

 

BA: Our primary goal is to get people into the hobby for the same reasons we fell in love with it back in the early 2000s. And we always strive to give everything at either MSRP or below MSRP because we remember when we started, there was a big issue with scalping. It was unfortunate that parents and kids had to pay that much money for a product that wasn’t intended to be sold at such a high price. We want to focus on having others develop a healthy hobby!

 

 

Two Pair is located at 8168 Elliott Rd in Easton.

 

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