Mike's Coliseum opened for business in 1982 and I was one of the first people to
buy something from the little shop around the corner from my house. Back then, the
only baseball card companies
were Topps, Fleer and Donruss, and the cover price for comic books was .50 cents.
A comic and sports card shop was pretty unique in San Jose in those days because it
wasn't a big business at all. Mike Gamble, the owner, was in his early 20's when
he opened the store and he
was the kind of guy that everyone liked to be around. It wasn't long before the
store became a place where regular customers and a small group of neighborhood
kids would hang around during the day.
Back then, I spent a lot of my free time at the shop and it wasn't long before I
became good friends with Mike. Eventually, I bought into the store with Mike
and became a small partner in a growing business. In 1988, Mike decided to sell
the shop and JK, one of the employees, was there to continue the tradition. For
the next 14 years, the shop grew with the business, but it continued to be a
place where customers and friends could go to talk about comics or cards or just
hang out. In 2002, JK decided to sell the store and once again, a former employee
was there to continue the business. Dan Shahin took over as owner and I remember
paying him $2.50 an hour (in trade) to do odd jobs around the shop when he was a kid!
Part of the draw of the store in the early days was being able to spend time with
Mike. We actually had a table with chairs around it in the middle of the floor for
the sole purpose of sitting, talking and eating! That idea continued with other employees and
over the years, there were some great characters working at Mike's. JK, Gary and I were the
earliest employees, but you can't leave out Jeff Kelley, Bell, Frank, Billy, Kevin and
of course Dan!
After 20 years, the business has completely changed! There are hundreds of different
kinds of sports cards and most people can't even remember when comics were .50 cents.
The thing that hasn't changed is the shop, because it's still a neighborhood place where
people can go to escape and to find good conversation.
It's kind of strange to think about how long the store has been around, but
a few of us gathered this summer to celebrate our 20th anniversary. I can't tell you
how many memories we shared in that small shop, but I think that all of us know
that the shop was (and still is) a special place. A lot of who I am today came from
all the friends and customers that I met through the store and it's good to know
that the shop will stay in the family, under Dan's ownership. After 20 years, I still
think back to the very beginning and I still miss those early days. Even as a kid,
I knew that we had something great going. I'm hoping that 20 years from now, a whole new
generation will be saying the same thing.
- Steve Moorman