This year's Summit was attended by all the industry manufacturing leaders and about 150 card shops and internet retailers.  This year there will be no significant change in policies announced at last year's Summit.  Upper Deck and Panini stated they were working to improve upon what they did in 2011.  

Pictured to the left is the Team USA representative announcing Panini will be the sole manufacturer of Team USA Baseball.  Mr. Mark Warsop, CEO Panini America standing to his left later went on to state that in 2012 Panini is focused on the product, with fresh and bold designs and giving the consumer the value they expect for money spent on all Panini products.  Looking at the previews of upcoming Panini products, I believe you will be impressed.

During The Summit I had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Warsop, one-on-one for about ten minutes.  We discussed "The Redemption Problem"  and it's negative impact with respect to customer satisfaction.  I offered to invite all Panini customers to to my store to exchange their redemption cards for cards/merchandise provided by Panini.  The problem with my recommendation was determining a value for the redemption, so Mr. Warsop presented me with a concept Panini already has in the works. 

In the near future, Panini redemption cards will have a printed point value on the card.   The redemption holder will have the option at the Panini Website to redeem the card and wait for the signed card or select an available replacement based on point values and have it returned immediately.

Mr. Warsop impressed me as a man who understands the importance of the sports card shop to the future success of the hobby and remains committed to the continued success of the sports card shop.

On the final day of The Summit, I was honored and privileged to sit on a panel to discuss where the hobby needs to go from here.  This panel included Brian Gray, Leaf Trading Cards,  Brad Wagoner, Southern Hobby Distribution, Bill Sutherland, Beckett Media, Thomas Fish of Blowoutcards representing the internet retailers, and Mike Fruitman and myself representing the card shops.  After all was said, it all boils down to giving you, the card collector your money's worth from a value driven product and giving you the service you expect and deserve.

This year's Summit was extremely valuable for me (in addition to my Panini Black Box 1/1 Cam Newton Gold Standard Auto Patch).  I've improved the good relationships I already had with the distributors.   And, I had the opportunity to have meaningful discussions with the decision makers of our manufacturers.  I feel confident that 2012 will be full of products you want with quality and value you deserve.  As a result of this Summit, I have no doubt, card collecting in 2012 will be AWESOME, BABY!