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'My inspiration is my dad' | Indiana father, son bond and learn from each other as trading card business grows

By doing what he loves, this New Albany teen has created his own business.

NEW ALBANY, Ind. — In just 13 years, Conner McMahan found what takes some people a lifetime. It's not just a job and a career. He's doing what he loves: collecting and trading cards. 

In a storefront on State Street in New Albany, Conner is surrounded by hundreds and hundreds of cards. He recounted the early days of his career, attending school from home during the pandemic, while his dad made runs to buy more cards. 

Matt McMahan said he would call Conner and ask what to buy. Conner has always been the brains of their trading card business. 

He does the bulk of his business online, but occasionally they go to card shows. Matt described his son shaking hands and making deals with grown men who had a hard time believing a kid ran the business. 

"They look at me and they're talking to me and I'm like, I don't have any idea," Matt said. "It's his business." 

Conner's dad didn't realize just how much his son was making until he got a tax form from eBay. "We did $70,000 on eBay," he said. "But we also did like $40,000 on Facebook marketplace." 

Connor said the work can be hard and boring but he's been lucky to have an entrepreneur in the family to look up to.

"My inspiration is my dad," he said. "He's just really taught a lot to me and been an amazing dad."

We asked Conner's dad how it felt to hear him say that. "I'm not going to lie, I teared up," he said. "I mean I wasn't close with my dad growing up so being there with him is more than just a business, like doing this together and seeing him succeed in doing it, it's just a bonus on top of watching him grow." 

Conner's business continues to bring in over $100,000 each year. The teen said he's already starting to diversify; his dad is helping him enter the stock market and he's bought a few pairs of shoes he wants to sell. 

Mostly, the money goes back into his trading card business.

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