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Man who started working life on Grantham Market aged 14 returns 18 years later to set up his own stall Collectabuzz, selling Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh! cards

A trading card seller who worked on Grantham Market aged 14 has gone “full circle” after setting up his own stall.

Tim Dowse, 32, grew up in Grantham and began working on Robin’s Fruit and Veg stall 18 years ago.

At the start of the year he started a business, Collectabuzz, that sells trading cards, including Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh!, which has a monthly stall in the town.

Tim Dowse runs Collectabuzz on Grantham Market.
Tim Dowse runs Collectabuzz on Grantham Market.

Tim, who now lives in Coventry, will be on the market tomorrow (November 4) and his stall is being showcased as part of a Journal campaign to support the market.

Collectabuzz was originally an online business, but Tim took on a stall at the May Day event in Wyndham Park earlier this year after his partner showed him the advert.

Tim said: “It was a bit of a last minute decision, but I thought why not? What’s the harm in trying?

Tim Dowse runs Collectabuzz on Grantham Market.
Tim Dowse runs Collectabuzz on Grantham Market.

“I had a stall there, really enjoyed it and liked talking to people about it and the look of excitement on kids’ faces when they see it all and the look of despair on sometimes on parents’ faces makes me laugh.

“I did a couple more events and fetes and thought why not look at doing something more regular than pop-up events.”

Tim now has a stall in Grantham and Rugby markets once a month, and noted that he enjoyed “talking to different collectors and players” about what they are searching for or looking forward to getting.

Tim Dowse runs Collectabuzz on Grantham Market.
Tim Dowse runs Collectabuzz on Grantham Market.

He continued: “Me and my brother always had the opposite [Pokemon] games, one had Red, the other had had Blue, we’d watch [Pokemon] on the TV, played the card game and went down to Fanatic in the George Centre, the card shop back then. It was wicked.

“When me and my brother dug the cards out, it just reignited the passion really. Within a few hours, I went and bought some new packs and it all started off again.”

Tim already had experience of Grantham Market, having worked for Robin Burrows.

Tim Dowse runs Collectabuzz on Grantham Market.
Tim Dowse runs Collectabuzz on Grantham Market.

“I seem to have done a full circle,” said Tim. “I started my working life with Robin, 18 years ago. We had a little chat when I was first on the market on September 23.

“He remembers me for knocking over some mushrooms and strawberries in his van. He said once a month you’ll be grand doing this. He was very wise with his words.”

When asked what the response to the stall had been like, Tim said that it had been “a good start”, with some customers recognising him from the Wyndham Park event.

He continued: “I’m starting to see some familiar faces who come over and ask what I’ve got coming in.

“What I find is, there’s a lot of parents, that know their kids like Pokemon but they don’t know much about it. To go into a shop surrounded by people who are there and know what they’re talking about can be a bit daunting at times.”

With experience of the market both then and now, Tim was asked what improvements could be made to Grantham Market.

Having set hours and making it easy for the public to know which stalls will be there each Saturday were among his suggestions, noting that Rugby market offered this and that it made things “so much easier”.

Tim explained that he can book onto Rugby market online, but had to go through “three or four people before being able to book”.

He said: “A lot of new businesses will start on markets because it’s too much of a gamble, so I think if it was a bit easier for them and the public as well to see who is there this Saturday, then they can plan around that.

“The market needs to get back to where it was when I was on it 18 years ago because it has shrunk somewhat. I used to do a full 10-hour day.

“The first shock I had was that I’d advertised that I’d be there until 4pm because that was when I used to finish the market back in the day.

“Then when I saw it slow down, I asked what time people started packing up? And they said about 1.30pm.

“I’m going to try and stay later even if I’m the last person there, because I feel that if people start staying later, others will start staying later, because if I’m there, I might as well be there for the full duration.”

To find out more about Tim’s business, visit: www.thecollectabuzz.com

He plans to be on Grantham Market on November 4, December 3, 16 and 30, then will continue in 2024.

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