Small Business of the Year – Bricks & Ivy Sports

Bricks and Ivy Sports
Small Business of the Year

          If you stop by Bricks and Ivy Sports, Sports Cards and Memorabilia, in Hoopeston, chances are you would be surprised at all of the collectibles there. It is one of the Vermilion County businesses being honored this month as winners of the 2020 Small Business of the Year Award. The award is presented by the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Danville Area Community College.

          Bricks and Ivy Sports owner Bob Brown describes the business…

          {‘We are a sports cards – memorabilia – gifts store. We also do player signings where we bring Major League Baseball, Basketball, Football players in and do public signings with them. We send off memorabilia for framing, ” added Brown, “just offer a lot of services within the sports memorabilia and cards category.”}

          Brown says the business got started out of a need to clean out his basement…

          {“Well, we’ve just been collecting – our family – for a long time. And most of this was in our basement, to be honest, when we started,” said Brown. “And we bought this building, had this space, so we thought we would start one. We’ve traveled the country going to sports cards and memorabilia stores, so we just thought we would try it ourselves.”}

          And how has the COVID-19 pandemic affected the business this year?

          {“Well it did shut us down for a while, but we do so much online. And if you know anything about sports cards you’ll know that it’s one of the hottest investments right now,” said Brown. “There are huge investors that are dropping their money in the stock market to scoop up sports cards. It’s super hot right now. We do a lot of our business online – probably 75-percent. So we were able to keep running even though we couldn’t keep the doors open,” added Brown.}

          As mentioned, Bricks and Ivy Sports also hosts events where Major League players travel to Hoopeston to meet their fans. Brown says he and other members of his family enjoy bringing them into town, and he explained how they are able to do it…

          {“Well, we just have a few agents we work with. And they make them offers, and as long as you pay them enough money they’re willing to come,” said Brown. “You look for the nicer people that are going to be better with our customers. We just try to keep getting more – and bigger – and try to make customers be able to see players they may never get to see in person.”}

          Brown adds, unfortunately, COVID-19 has impacted the player events they wanted to host this year…

          {“We have a few scheduled but they’ve obviously been postponed until probably next year. We have Ozzie Guillen, and Aramis Ramirez that were scheduled but got postponed until 2021,” said Brown. “But we’ve had – last year i think we had eleven signers in one year. So we had Ryne Sandberg, Dennis Rodman – Ben Zobrist was the one we had right before COVID hit. And he was our biggest signing by far.”}

          Brown says St. Louis Cardinal standout Lou Brock was one of his favorite players who stopped by his business in Hoopeston…

          {“… one of his last public signings was here. And he drove all the way up from St. Louis. And he was one of the most likable people you’d ever meet,” said Brown. “He come in on a walker, but he would stand up for every picture. He would get up and down in his chair because he wanted to make people happy. He was a great guy.”}


          Brock died on September 6th, 2020.

          With the popularity of Bricks and Ivy Sports, some people wonder why it stays in the small town of Hoopeston…

          {“…that’s pretty much what they say,” said Brown. “When we have signings, we have regular people that fly in from California, Florida – I mean pretty much every state has been represented here with people coming for signings. And this is just where we’re from. We have multiple businesses in town. So it just seemed like the right place to do it.”}

          In addition to Bricks and Ivy Sports, Sports Cards and Memorabilia, Brown owns a construction company. And he and his wife own the 112 Wine and Coffee Shop and run a property management company in Hoopeston.

Contact Bricks & Ivy Sports 201 E. Main St. Hoopeston, IL via: Facebook, Phone (217)-283-2250, or website .