Paul Garcia has been collecting things since he was six years old.

"At that time, I did it because it made some money for me," said Garcia, who grew up in Vineland, New Jersey and now resides in New Tripoli.

Garcia is still pursuing his passion for collecting, but now it has become his business.

Paul's Sports and Collectibles is open at 44 West Broad St., Tamaqua, the same location that housed El-Jay Jewelers for many years.

The store held its official ribbon cutting and grand opening Friday morning.

Garcia's new store is a treasure trove of sports memorabilia, including cards, figurines, autographed equipment, programs, magazines, you name it. He also carries comic books, records, license plates, videos, even Barbie dolls.

"I have every type of collectible imaginable, even coins and currency," said Garcia. "If you can collect it, I carry it. I buy, sell and trade."

Vendors can even leave their own collectibles at Garcia's store on consignment, he added.

Garcia said he had previously displayed his collectible wares at carnivals and festivals, such as the Allentown Fair.

"I came here to Tamaqua because of my wife," he explained. "I always wanted a storefront, and this is convenient.

"I had a store in Hazleton in the Laurel Mall, but most of my customers were from around here, so this is more convenient for them," he noted.

Linda Yulanavage, executive director of the Tamaqua Area Chamber of Commerce, welcomed Garcia and said that his store is a great addition to Tamaqua's downtown business area.

Garcia's wife Bethann is an elementary special needs teacher in the Emmaus School District, and he would like to use his store as a place for the youth of the community.

"We are both into education, and I plan to give discounts for kids who get good grades when report cards come out," he said. "Tamaqua can use a place for kids to come off the streets, and we can also do card games like Yu-Gi-Oh and Magic. They can come in here and learn how to do them, and keep out of trouble."

Paul's Sports and Collectibles is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 12 noon to 10 p.m. The phone number is (570) 668-4554, or email paulssportsandcollectibles@gmail.com. Those interested can also check out Paul's Sports and Collectibles on Facebook.