Memorabilia shop gives fans a chance to own history
Matt Mortenson owns and operates Overtime Sports, a local sports memorabilia shop located at the intersection of Speedway Boulevard and Wilmot Road.
Mortenson has been working at the card store since he was 5 years old. Two months ago, he moved down a few doors to the left and renamed Mountain View Sports to Overtime Sports.
“It was my first job, my first love basically,” Mortenson said.
For Mortenson, his love for sports memorabilia, especially trading cards, started at a very young age with his brother. He worked at the store all the way through high school, and even when he started getting paid, it was only $5 an hour. His parents were not thrilled by the low pay.
“My parents were pissed,” Mortenson said.
Mortenson become a partial owner of the store when one of the owners he had worked for came to him asking if he wanted to buy his half. Shortly after, the other owner also sold his half to Mortenson and thus became the full owner of the store in August 2015.
The sports store houses apparel and memorabilia for almost every team in what Mortenson called “the big four” sports: football, basketball, baseball and hockey.
“A lot of chain stores only carry the teams that sell the most,” Mortenson said. “I’m trying to be the place where people can go, no matter what sport it is, to be able to get a gift or something they want in the store instead of having to defer and say 'online.'”
Mortenson is an Arizona Wildcats fan at heart, with his parents having season tickets for basketball since 1988. He pays close attention to Wildcat football, baseball and basketball, but basketball is his favorite sport and TJ McConnell his favorite Wildcat of all time.
He has seen a lot of University of Arizona memorabilia come in and out of his shop's doors, from signed basketballs to jerseys and hats. Mortenson had a hard time choosing a favorite piece of Wildcat memorabilia, but he had a few options come to mind.
“It's hard to be a collector and a fan at the same time, because I end up keeping too much stuff,” Mortenson said. “I have a cool Starter jacket that was my dad's that he gave to me that I'll never get rid of. That’s the one item I won’t sell because it’s my dad's.”
When it comes to the items in the store though, his favorite is a basketball signed by the entire 1997 Arizona Wildcats, the team that won the school's lone NCAA championship.
Having a business comes with tough choices as well, and Mortenson was faced with one when he sold a limited edition Michael Jordan card that only had 250 copies made to open up the new store, he said.
Mortenson moved from one side of the Bookmans to another into a much larger area about two months ago, a move that has now given him the opportunity to also do party rentals with old-school arcade games and a large projector screen that allows guests to bring in their own gaming systems, he said.
Ian Sheret, who works at Overtime, has seen a lot of things come through the doors as well, but one really stuck out to him, he said.
“Someone brought in a Babe Ruth baseball to be authenticated one time when we had James Spence Authentication here, and JSA said that the ball was worth $40,000,” Sheret said.
Sheret also mentioned that coming to work every day doesn’t feel like work and that his boss never tells him what to do, there are just things that need to be done and they get them done.
There is one thing, though, that Mortenson said is the hardest to sell at his store
“The thing I can’t get rid of fast enough is [Arizona State University] stuff,” Mortenson said.
Mortenson has worked hard to get the store to where it is today, at one point working an estimated 250 days in a row without a break.
“But I love it, it doesn’t feel like work,” Mortenson said.
Anton, who has been coming to the store for years, is happy to see the new location, and his favorite part is the new "Air Jordan" logo that hangs above the register.
Anton mainly collects Michael Jordan cards and other Jordan collectible items and says he comes in to gauge the market.
“I really like at the last one, he started doing the authentications, having the people come down. That’s very convenient instead of sending stuff off,” Anton said.
For Mortenson, the chance to own your business, to be able to run it how he sees fit and to be doing something that is “your first love” is what makes it all worth it, he said.
“It was never and is still never ... a money thing,” Mortenson said.