Small Business Spotlight: Cardiacs Sports & Memorabilia

The Cardiacs team is, from left, Lorisa Fife, John Musselwhite, Jonny Cannon, Sam Felts and Seth Cannon.

Cardiacs Sports and Memorabilia is like a candy store for sports fans and collectors of all ages. Kids with spending money come in with friends, and parents hoping to pass on the hobby bring their children.

The business has changed since owner Jonny Cannon first started collecting sports cards in the ‘70s. Hobbyists can now find Star Wars, Pokemon and Mandalorian memorabilia alongside autographed baseball and football cards. What hasn’t changed is the joy of discovery and the fun of collecting with friends.

“The Cardiacs business grew from my love for collecting sports cards and memorabilia,” said Cannon. “Getting to do something every day that you absolutely love doesn’t even come close to saying that I ‘work’ for myself. I am just blessed to do what I love.”

Cannon and Sam Felts, who manages daily operations at the store, talk about the business and why more people are getting into the hobby these days.

Seth Cannon holds cards for Lionel Messi, Zion Williamson, and Eric Staal, below.

Why did you want to work for yourself?

JC: There is obvious risk, but there is unlimited potential for reward, and not just making money. Helping others, doing good things in the community, helping develop others, and many more experiences is really what it is all about. I have had many great mentors that I admire and draw from throughout my life, and I am thankful for that.

Being a family-owned business, there is no better reward than seeing my children develop and grow and hopefully one day allow me to ride off in the sunset — but not too far away. I may even go back to collecting then.

Autographed helmets, bobble heads, figurines, and other sports memorabilia fill the Apex store.

Can you tell us about a favorite item in your personal collection?

JC: My favorite item is not a card but an authentic signed framed Jimmy V piece given to me by a dear friend.

Since going into the business, you have to make the decision to collect or sell. I only collect cards from my favorite teams — NC State, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cincinnati Reds. So some of my favorite cards would be David Thompson, Terry Bradshaw and Pete Rose. With over 7,000,000 cards in stock, they all feel like my collection — until they sell.

How did you get into the trading card business?

JC: I played baseball, football, basketball and even ran track while in school, so my love for sports is not just watching but playing, being involved, and collecting trading cards. As kids, we made up games and used the players for our old-school “fantasy teams.”

Thank goodness my mother did not throw out my collection when I left for college, and they were preserved by my little brother who also got the itch. They sat dormant for a number of years until my brother got out of the Army, and we started collecting again together. From there we opened our first store on Maynard Road in Cary.

Tell us about the new Apex location.

SF: We moved to Apex in November 2020 when the Cary Town Centre Mall started shutting down. Our new location is 6,000 square feet in size versus roughly 3,000 square feet in the mall location. We have been able to build a beautiful store that is very shoppable and far more organized. The new location has also allowed us to add more product lines than we were able to sell in the past.

How did the pandemic affect the trading card industry?

SF: The hobby right before the pandemic was on a huge upswing. The past three years’ rookie classes in all sports have been nothing short of amazing, and the talent just keeps getting pumped into the leagues. The Michael Jordan documentary, “The Last Dance,” was another spark, and it caused Jordan cards to explode.

Everyone stuck inside went through their belongings, and many old collectors found boxes of memories, investments, and hidden gems. Former collectors found popular rookie cards and limited edition cards that were locked away for years. Even rediscovered Pokemon cards took off.

This caused a lot of people to get back into the hobby and start to collect new cards as a hobby or investment. Because the all-time greats like Jordan skyrocketed, new collectors saw the potential for some of these rookies and young players to reach those heights as well!

We now spend a lot of time educating those new to the hobby on what makes a card valuable and how to get started.

Cardiacs Sports & Memorabilia
1101 Marco Drive, Suite 202, Apex
(919) 463-5685 |

1 Comment

  • I have Tom Brady rookie cards 5 in all I have the ticket rookie card number 144 and it’s 012/100 and score Tom Brady card number 316 and also it is 12/32 2000 rookie card I also have two others iv been collecting since 1975 for 22years I would like to know we’re the best place to have them graded thank you

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