Mom brokers theater, game seats into a $4 million business

Say “ticket broker” and — fair or not — the image that may come to mind is a guy, somewhat shady-looking, phone cocked to his ear, barking: “Buy! Sell! Buy! Sell!”

Amy Stephens, that ain’t.

Yet, Stephens, 35, a former Fulton County middle school teacher, now a stay-at-home Smyrna mother of four, is a real-life buyer and seller of sports, theater and concert tickets. Amy’s Tickets, incorporated in 2004, claims gross sales of $3-4 million a year.

Which doesn’t make her Ticketmaster, but it does make her a name in an industry with thousands of less successful participants, not many of them women.

Atlanta native and Georgia State graduate Stephens knew nothing about the industry in 2001 when she and her husband, Tim, bought tickets to see “The Producers” on Broadway. They couldn’t use the seats and sold them on eBay for a $400 profit.

“I was like, ‘Wow!’” Stephens said.

The couple still wasn’t thinking of tickets as a business. But then came a child. And another. Then news of another. Stephens wanted to stay home but figured they needed an extra $1,000 a month in income.

That’s when, in 2002, Tim suggested they buy some partial season ticket packages for Anaheim Angels games, with an option on playoff tickets. The Angels went to the World Series and the tickets made a killing on eBay.

“That shifted me,” Stephens said. “I now had the cash flow to buy more tickets to other events.”

Next came the 2003 Fiesta Bowl, the national college football championship in which Ohio State beat Miami. Stephens bought and sold a big block of tickets for a huge profit, making the equivalent of two years of supplemental income.

Clearly, her future was ticket-selling.

The business has evolved. Stephens, who said she buys her tickets directly from the venue, promoter, team or individual ticket holders, wholesales more than half her inventory on StubHub. The rest goes through her website. Today, she focuses more on events like the Super Bowl and the Masters, selling packages with tickets, housing and hospitality.

One thing that hasn’t changed is her low overhead. She has one other full-time employee, a couple of part-timers and runs the business from her house.

There’s plenty of competition, with major players like Peachtree Tickets and Empire Tickets. But Stephens sees herself as different.

“I’m a female in this business,” she said. “That’s unusual. And everybody who works for me is a stay-at-home mom. If you call me, you’re probably going to hear my kids in the background. I’ve got four kids and I’m juggling my life.”