LONG BEACH - On Thursday Nov. 1, Long Beach Coins and Collectibles opened its doors for business.
Owned by Jeff Hensel and fiancée Theresa Husen, Long Beach Coins and Collectibles will provide coin-appraisal services as well as feature coins from the United States and all over the world from the 19th century to today. The store will also carry stamps, collectibles and sports memorabilia and serve as a full-service eBay store where customers can buy, sell or trade their items.
Once a military police officer, Hensel says he has collected coins for more than 20 years and his interest in stamps and sports memorabilia began about 10 years ago. His interest in retail didn't develop until he began experimenting with eBay sales on the Internet eight years ago. Starting with small items such as VHS tapes and DVDs, Hensel says eBay sales were just a hobby until he began to auction off duplicate collectors' coins online.
"It just exploded, it went crazy," he explains. "I went from being a small little business that is just being done as a hobby, versus developing into an actual small business growing into a large business. It went from making a couple hundred dollars a month as a hobby to $2,000 a month."
Last May, Hensel and Husen took a 10-day trip from their home in Tampa, Fla., to visit Husen's parents on the Peninsula. Hensel says he immediately fell in love with the area and the weather. After finding out that the nearest coin collector store was 80 miles away, he chose to make the cross-country move and open up his very first retail store.
Now set up in south Long Beach, Hensel's store carries state quarters, presidential dollars, coin protectors and accessories, collectors' catalogs and manuals for research and even features a "coin wall." In addition to coins, Long Beach Coins and Collectibles carries sports memorabilia and items for stamp collecting.
Hensel says his shop focuses on the hobby of collecting and encouraging younger generations to collect. "We are affordable instead of just catering to high-end customers. You're going to be treated the same whether you're spending $2 or $200."
Also serving as an eBay store, the shop caters to Hensel's love for selling items on the Internet.
"Everybody has junk and their husband or wife wants them to get rid of it, so they sell it through the paper or at a garage sale," explains Hensel, a licensed appraiser. "Here they can bring it in, and being a self-service store, we will sit down with them and appraise it and give them an idea of what that type of item might sell for. Then we will take their item and photograph it, make a listing page and monitor it. When it sells they can come in and collect their money. They can watch their item sell without having to do anything."
While other eBay stores charge 38 to 40 percent of overall profit to sell a customer's item, Hensel says he only charges a 20 percent flat fee.
"A few years ago I found two used WWE Stone Cold Steve Austin video tapes, so I stuck them on eBay for 99 cents for the pair of them. In the end, they sold for $77.50! I thought it was a joke, but the customer sent money and I was tickled to death. Come to find out, she lived 115 miles from an actual town and her grandson wanted them as a gift! There is a market out there for everything and there are 50 million buyers that have the opportunity to see your item online."
Long Beach Coins and Collectibles opened last Thursday and Hensel is excited to meet local collectors and visitors while doing with he loves most.
"How many people can say they can go to work for 18 hours and love their job and look forward to coming back at 7 a.m. and doing it all over again? I do. I look forward to it and I can't wait to get started."
A grand opening event with drawings and giveaways is scheduled for the weekend after Thanksgiving, Nov. 23 through 25.
Open Mondays through Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Long Beach Coins and Collectibles is located at 811 Pacific Highway South in Suite 11 in Long Beach. Visit their Web site at (www.lbcoins.com) or call 642-3007.