How gamers and pandemic are driving a 150-job explosion at TCGplayer; see its openings


Syracuse, N.Y. — TCGplayer, the company that took the trading card market online, is rapidly expanding its footprint and hiring in downtown Syracuse, thanks in large part to the coronavirus pandemic’s positive impact on the gaming industry.

Founder and CEO Chedy Hampson said the company has grown its workforce from 221 in February 2020 to 312. In addition, he said the company has 50 open positions “with many, many more coming.”

The company lists available jobs and accepts applications online at careers.tcgplayer.com/job-openings. Among the openings are jobs in tech and its fulfillment center.

In March, the company will expand its office space at The Galleries of Syracuse, taking 30,000 square feet of space on the third floor, he said. It now occupies 45,000 square feet in the downtown office complex.

The pandemic has badly hurt many businesses, but not TCGplayer. With people spending more time at home, many are turning to video games and trading card games for entertainment, providing a sales “tail wind” for the company, Hampson said.

“We went into hiring mode and we now have added over 90 positions,” he said. “We’re over 300 strong at TCGplayer, so we’re really excited about that.”

Helping to drive the increase was the company’s decision just before the pandemic hit in March to launch a service in which it handles the full e-commerce operations of comic book and hobby stores around the country.

Stores that take advantage of the service ship their cards for popular fantasy games such as Magic: The Gathering and Pokemon to TCGplayer’s fulfillment center in Syracuse. Workers in the center sort them, list them on the company’s online marketplace, then package and ship them to customers around the globe.

The service enables stores with limited resources to sell their cards throughout the world, not just to the customers who walk through the door.

Hampson said the move by the company came just as the pandemic made e-commerce sales of all sorts explode, with many people more comfortable buying online rather than in person.

“It’s very clear that we became a lifeline to a lot of the brick-and-mortar stores in the country,” he said.

TCGplayer’s offices in The Galleries of Syracuse are designed to resemble many of the trading card games it sells.Rick Moriarty | rmoriarty@syracuse.com

In May, the Service Employees International Union Local 200United called off a drive backed by U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders to unionize workers in TCGplayer’s fulfillment center.

The decision came after the company pledged to expand its employee stock option plan and raise the entry-level wage at the fulfillment center to $15 an hour, with opportunities to earn up to $17.50 an hour based on experience and productivity levels, by the end of 2020. Hampson said the new pay rates are now in place.

Many of the jobs being created are in the fulfillment center, but the company is also hiring operations supervisors, IT managers, data analysts, product managers, software engineers and customer service representatives, many of whom are currently working from home because of the pandemic.

Hampson said more than 20% of the fulfillment center workforce has received promotions to new roles inside the company during the last 12 months.

“We use our fulfillment center as a talent funnel for many roles across the organization and it is a key differentiator for us,” he said.

Hampson sees even more growth ahead for TCGplayer. He said the company is making plans to expand into sports cards and video games.

Rick Moriarty covers business news and consumer issues. Got a tip, comment or story idea? Contact him anytime: Email | Twitter | Facebook | 315-470-3148





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