A mecca for sports collectible fans is coming to the Hudson Valley, and it's like nothing you've ever seen before.

Trading cards are very hot right now. Over the past year, the hobby of collecting sports cards and memorabilia has skyrocketed. During the height of the pandemic, people who were unable to travel or buy tickets to events have had money burning a hole in their pockets. Many sports fans turned to memorabilia, autographs and trading cards as a way to stay connected with their favorite players and teams.

It seems like there's no better time than now for Dan Slate and Dave Prince from Piece of the Game to launch a brand new sports collectibles store right here in the Hudson Valley. The duo has been operating a business online that not only sells trading cards, but also some unique pieces of sports memorabilia.

Prince explained that he was excited after getting a "hit" from a box of Topps trading cards. The thrill of receiving a relic card quickly turned to disappointment when he inspected the signed piece of sports equipment attached to a trading card. While having an autograph was cool, he thought how much better it would be if it was on an actual ball or sports jersey that was used during a game. Since then, he has made it his mission to obtain signed pieces of sports memorabilia that are actually a "piece of the game."

The store sells signed balls that are authenticated for signature, which includes details on when it was used in actual gameplay. The balls are also painted with one-of-a-kind artwork. The same concept goes for jerseys and other sports equipment sold at the store that come with a completely traceable database showing who used it and when.

The duo's online business will soon become a brick-and-mortar shop that's unlike the usual card store you remember as a kid. Instead of a bunch of glass cases and piles of cards to rifle through, the items at Piece of the Game will be laid out on custom-made displays. This new state-of-the-art approach to selling collectibles is something the hobby hasn't really seen.

The store is scheduled to open in October at the Hannoush Jewelers Plaza on Route 9 in Wappingers Falls. Scroll down for a sneak peek of the construction that's being done inside.

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