Ecruteak Cards: Blending the Past with the Present
Embarking on a unique journey in 2022, Ecruteak Cards distinguished itself from the typical hobby store. Our ethos isn't about hoarding random stocks; we emphasize fresh releases and personalized special orders, ensuring that every customer finds precisely what they're after. This distinctive approach is encapsulated in our name, drawing inspiration from Ecruteak City in the Johto region of Pokémon—a locale renowned for its rich past blending seamlessly into the present.
But while Ecruteak's chronicles began in 2022, its lineage can be traced back to the nostalgic 1990s. Cricket’s Grand Slam, nestled in Hilliard, OH, was the original landmark. This iconic store was founded by Walter Lemaster, the great-grandfather of J. Anthony Upchurch, Ecruteak's visionary founder. Initiated as a sports card haven in 1994, it gradually welcomed beloved collectible card games like Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh into its repertoire.
Cricket’s Grand Slam transitioned ownership in the early 2000s, enduring until the dawn of the 2010s. However, 2020 witnessed a revival under Anthony's stewardship. This rejuvenated era was, however, short-lived, as Anthony recognized a shift in the landscape and reimagined the store, closing Cricket’s to make way for Ecruteak Cards by August 2022—ushering in a refreshed brand and innovative business model.
Anthony, the visionary behind Ecruteak Cards, is not just a store owner but a passionate player, collector, judge for the Yu-Gi-Oh TCG, and a professor for the Pokémon TCG. His passion transcends mere business – he's on a mission. As a Pokémon professor, Anthony has mentored countless children in local elementary schools, teaching them the nuances of the Pokémon TCG and instilling in them the value of the card community.
Witness our legacy through the images above, capturing our origins and hinting at the promising expansions awaiting Ecruteak Cards. We're not merely a store—we're a saga, an institution, and a community, ever-evolving yet rooted in treasured traditions. Join us as we redefine the future of card collecting.