September 2006

Remember When?

Author: Paul deVere

Q. What do these names have in common? Tiger Woods, Mark Messier, Derek Jeter and Robby Kreiger?

A. You can find memorabilia celebrating their achievements at YesterYears, a remarkable store located at Fresh Market Shoppes on Hilton Head Island.

Wait a minute, Robby Kreiger?

Click back to the ‘60s. Click back to “The Doors”. Click back to “Light My Fire”, a tune written by Krieger, one of the most underrated songwriters and guitarists of the rock ‘n’ roll era. You can buy a Fender guitar signed by Kreiger at YesterYears, too.

While sports memorabilia dominates YesterYears’ offerings, a relaxed walk through the store will bring smiles, wonderment and an occasional jaw-dropping experience. Which is exactly what store owner Brian Rogers wants to happen.

“I guess I can blame it on my father. I’ve been collecting since I was about five years old. He gave me my first autographed baseball card, a 1953 Jackie Robinson. I actually still have it today,” Rogers explained.

“I just fell in love with collecting. I was the kid who would ask for two of everything—one I could play with, one I could collect. My parents always laughed at me. They probably still do,” Rogers smiled.

What is truly remarkable about the store is the eclectic mix of collectibles that seems to closely mirror Rogers’ interests, age and experiences. From Stan Musial, Ted Williams, Phil Rizzuto and Pee Wee Reese signed photos to a collage of Pearl Jam memorabilia (reflecting his love of music), Rogers’ pulls it off. Sports legends, movie star legends, music legends, they are all represented, with the emphasis on sports.

Yes, there are baseball cards for the kids, but there is also a 3-D Tiger Woods display – featuring his driver actually extending beyond the display’s glass covering – that would make any golfer salivate.

Rogers was introduced to Hilton Head Island when his parents started vacationing here in 1978. He moved here permanently in 1995. He was a chef (at his father’s restaurant, “Brian’s” at Main Street Village), a teacher (he taught history and geography at Hilton Head Prep), and is now a small business owner. “I’d never had any retail experience before this,” he said. “This is something I’ve always wanted to do. Sometimes you just have to follow your dreams.”

On the collecting business itself, Rogers shared his insights. “There are definitely different degrees of collecting. Sure, there’s still stuff for kids, which is great. I love having the kids in here and watching their eyes get big. But there are degrees of collecting. It has shifted to high-end pieces. There is a specific golf market, baseball market, hockey market. The ‘game-used’ market is very hot, articles athletes actually wore or used during a game,” Rogers said.

It is all about authenticity, too. “We only use the largest companies out there. That’s extremely important,” said Rogers. He only deals with companies like Steiner and Open Deck, which provide proof of authenticity.

But it really is the eclectic spirit of Rogers’ shop that sets it apart. “It takes a lot of people by surprise,” he admitted. That’s understandable. Within moments, a customer can come upon the autograph of a football legend, the autographed helmet of a skateboard legend (yes, skateboard – the “vehicle” Rogers used as a kid), WWII model airplanes and 15th Century model ships (remember, he was a history teacher), and finally hit on Rogers’ totally whimsical self, reflected in a display of inflatable famous sports stadiums. “They make great potato chip bowls,” Roberts laughed.

The slogan for YesterYears is “Where Legends Live On.” Based on Rogers’ collection and sports knowledge, that is obviously true. But his store also has a lighter, delightful side, where Yogi Berra’s famous quote would also fit nicely: “Deja vu all over again.”

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