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Is Culture Collision Worth the Hype?

There is no shortage of card shows across the US, but a recent addition to the landscape has been making a strong impression on modern collectors. Culture Collision, held in Atlanta, Georgia at Cobb Galleria, is a trade show welcoming sports cards, gaming cards, sneakers, and more. While I have attended several card shows over the last few years, this was my first experience attending Culture Collision and I was curious what similarities and differences this show would have to others. I was able to attend the most recent Culture Collision from January 26th to the 28th as a vendor with my husband, Bryan, and I wanted to share some of our thoughts and experiences from this past weekend to answer the question “is Culture Collision worth the hype?”

The first day of Culture Collision was Friday, January 26th with vendor check-in beginning at 8:00am, VIP and Early Access entry at noon, general admission at 1:00pm, and closing to all at 7:00pm. Day 2 went from 9:00am to 5:00pm with general admission entry at 10:00am, and day 3 was from 9:00am to 4:00pm with general admission at 10:00am. Tables were $350 for new vendors or $450 for a premium table location, $50 per display case rental (optional), and vendors were able to choose the location of their table on the website during checkout weeks prior. The use of the convention floor space was very efficient with wide and easy to navigate aisles, and for vendors there was plenty of space on both sides of the table so crowding never felt like an unmanageable issue. The chairs provided to vendors were plastic folding chairs that were easy to move and not terribly uncomfortable; as larger individuals, we were concerned about the stability of the chairs but found they were more than adequate, so future vendors can keep that in mind for their personal needs. Display cases were available to rent from Zion Cases, and though I was told there were some issues on the Culture Collision registration website to reserve cases, Zion had great staff that made sure vendors were able to acquire the equipment they needed. The temperature of the room was extremely comfortable, and the free WiFi and cell service worked very well throughout the first day. The signal did become a little bit weaker with the larger crowd on Saturday, but was still very usable. The crowd was overall very friendly and talkative, though the general consensus was that sales were best on the first day even though the second day had much more foot traffic. On Sunday many vendors arrived late or left early due to trade nights running late into the prior evening and NFL division championships beginning at 3:00pm, but there was still a decent amount of activity for a final day. 

There was a DJ set up in the far corner of the room that kept the energy moving throughout the day while not overpowering the space with excessive sound. Our table was located towards the middle of the room, so vendors closer to the DJ may have had a noise issue, but several vendors I spoke with located in various parts of the room said they felt the DJ was doing a great job at managing the volume so as not to interfere with transactions while also providing to the positive ambience. Many vendors also commented on how safe they felt at Culture Collision; there were many officers, security personnel, and Culture Collision staffers throughout the space, and the face of Culture Collision, Raphael Mosley (aka Prizm_Gawd), was seen regularly around the show floor. I found the location of Culture Collision to be quite enjoyable and highly convenient; Cobb Galleria is approximately a twenty minute car ride from the Atlanta airport, and the convention center was attached to the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel.

Vendors and attendees were able to book a room with the Waverly at a discounted group rate through a link on the Culture Collision website. The hotel was easy to navigate and had a lot of open space which made an official (or unofficial) trade night less likely to be shut down due to safety concerns. There is a pedestrian skybridge that allows for safe travel to dining and shopping options at the Cumberland Mall, so alternative activities and sit-down restaurants are easily accessible without a required travel fare. Also, though it is currently the MLB offseason, the Atlanta Braves baseball stadium, Truist Park, is about a five minute car ride from the Waverly Hotel. 

If you needed a quick break from vendor browsing, Culture Collision also had several options for a reprieve. Two concession stands with typical fare such as soft pretzels, nachos, candy, and beverages were open within the show floor, but there was also a Papa John’s pizza and fruit smoothie stand directly outside the main show entrance. Downstairs from the main floor there was a Subway, and by the front doors of the center there was a small coffee and pastry stand, so there were plenty of options without wandering too far from the convention. For in-show activity, there was a basketball hoop area in the back corner opposite of the DJ for an ongoing 3-v-3 tournament and 3-point contests. One of the main events, the Card Star Charity Basketball Game, took place Saturday evening in the Overtime Elite Arena and though spectators were not allowed at the event, it was live-streamed for viewing through Culture Collision’s social media. While not the primary focus of Culture Collision, there were several discussion panels and signings also available during show hours. I did hear from one frustrated attendee that they received conflicting information regarding where the autograph signing was and proceeded to get lost, but with signings not currently being a primary event at Culture Collision, this may be a point for future improvement. The Culture Collision social media team created great templates for vendors to use on their own social media, which was great for publicizing your attendance with your personal branding and precise table location. I think that extra effort by the Culture Collision team was a great detail for modern vendors’ and collectors’ experiences. Also, I found the corporate presence to be much less imposing than at some other card shows, which I think allowed for a lot more collector-to-collector interactions and a more calm environment.

The official trade nights were well publicized and organized, and I believe attendance was high for both nights’ events. Friday’s trade night was in the lobby of the Waverly, and with such an open space there was plenty of room to navigate and mingle. There is a sunken-floor bar in the lobby for lounging and beverages, and the hotel put out several large, round banquet tables with chairs, as well as smaller tables and seats, so circulating amongst the crowd and sharing cards was very harmonious. This trade night had a much more social rather than methodical atmosphere as compared to other trade nights I have attended in other cities, but deals were still being made and relationships were flourishing. The Saturday trade night was being held at CardsHQ, a new shop venture headed by Geoff Wilson touted to be the “world’s local card shop.” Unfortunately we were unable to personally attend, but several attendees told me that it was a beautiful shop and a great experience. A shuttle from Culture Collision to CardsHQ was available to allow for easy access to the trade night event, which I think is a great way to boost off-site trade night attendance. There was still an unofficial trade night in the lobby of the Waverly on Saturday night, and the lobby trade nights would go late into the evening so casual attendance throughout the evening was discretionary. 

Our inventory was mostly sports cards, and that seemed to be the biggest draw to our table and for other vendors I spoke with. Bryan is very familiar with both sports and non-sports/entertainment cards, so he brought a lot of basketball and football, some baseball, and a smaller mix of golf, wrestling, hockey, and UFC, as well as some Leaf autograph cards and slabbed signatures from a 007 set. By the end of the weekend about 50% of the inventory had been sold or traded with most of that being basketball, football, or baseball. There was not a lot of purchase interest in the non-sports, but they were great conversation pieces and Bryan was able to discuss cards that sports collectors were not as familiar with. The laid-back environment and wide aisles allowed for people to take more time to look at cards and also connect with each other, which I really enjoyed. One of my favorite parts of card shows is connecting on common ground with fellow collectors to hear their stories and experiences, and I think Culture Collision is one of the shows that allowed for connections and relationships to blossom. 

So, is Culture Collision worth the hype? Short answer: absolutely. Overall, I found Culture Collision to be a very enjoyable and welcoming trade show. As a resident of the southeast, it was easy to travel to Atlanta and this show was one of the more gratifying regional shows we have attended. While it has been a once-a-year event since its 2021 inception, Culture Collision is expanding to a bi-annual event in 2024 with a second show scheduled for September 13-15th. Coincidentally, the LA Dodgers will be in town to play the Atlanta Braves September 13-16th, so if you want to see the highest paid baseball player in action with his new team, remember Truist Park is just a five minute car ride away. If you have not had a chance to visit Culture Collision yet, I highly recommend adding the event to your card show rotation for a great experience as a vendor or an attendee.  

*This is not a paid, promotional, or sponsored post. Culture Collision and any affiliated persons or entities did not contribute to or fund this article.


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