Janik received his first baseball card collection from his father at an early age. This hand-me-down collection developed a special bond between father and son.
“I was around 10 years old when my dad gave me his collection of baseball cards,” Janik told The County Gin. “After that, my dad would periodically stop by a store on the way home from work to surprise me with some new cards or a toy. It was something we both enjoyed.”
Janik continued his hobby throughout high school and college and even expanded his collection to include action figures and toys.
‘Some say collecting is a dying hobby. I say it’s because collectors don’t know they have a local vendor.’
As the world came to a standstill due to COVID-19, Janik found himself with extra time to begin sorting and cataloging his items. While attending church, he decided to take a leap of faith — turning his hobby into a business named TLJ Collectibles — an online collectibles store.
“COVID-19 really gave me the time to get this going,” he told The Gin. “It’s been a dream of mine since I can remember, but I was hesitant to start the business. Then, I heard a church sermon in June that talked about dreams. It said something like, ‘If it doesn’t take risk and you can’t do it without God, it ain’t a dream.’ After I heard that, I decided this was the time. I knew I wanted to do this and needed God to help me. I finally said to my fiancé, ‘Let’s do it.’”
He receives assistance from fiancé and amateur toy collector, Laura, who represents the “L” in TLJ Collectibles.
“Yeah, my house is kind of a wreck with all of my collection out for organizing and stuff,” Janik joked. “Laura greatly helps me to catalog and organize. I think she just can’t wait for me to get extra storage to clear up space in our home.”
Despite many reports of the collecting declining in popularity, Janik hopes to revive the passion in today’s youth.
“Some say collecting is a dying hobby,” Janik told The Gin. “I say it’s because collectors don’t know they have a local vendor. I would love to get kids started with their collections. I loved collecting as a kid and if I could pass that passion along to someone else, I’m all for it. It was and still is a passion for me. ”
There are a few items that Janik will keep within his private collection. One is a recently acquired issue of Batman Adventures, featuring one of his favorite characters.
“One of my favorite characters from the Batman series is Harley Quinn,” he said. “I was finally able to buy the issue of Batman Adventures with her first appearance. I’ve wanted that one for a very long time. Needless to say, I was pretty excited and that one is definitely staying with me.
The pair works toward organizing the collection that contains more than a thousand comic books. They then post items for sale via social media.
“Though my goal is to open a physical store in Wharton, right now we are selling through Facebook,” Janik said. “I’ll post a particular item — cards, comic books or toys and if someone is interested, they’ll message me. Mostly, I deliver the items if they are local, but I can ship as well.”
He continued, “I have had a lot of people reach out to me, not only to purchase an item I have in my collection, but also to assist them with finding a particular item. If I don’t have it in my collection, I can and will find it for them.”
TLJ Collectibles hopes to help everyone — from the average sports enthusiast to the more seasoned collector. To inquire about his collection or to view his latest items, visit the TLJ Collectibles Facebook page.
Chad Hartman and Natalie Frels-Busby also contributed to this article.