Nothing ticks me off more than dealers cancelling the week before the show or just not showing up on the day of the show. These dealers just suck ass.
The main reason it ticks me off so much is that with more notice, I could have filled the space. Some dealers will pay me for the space after they miss the show, others don't bother. They do not realize that I still have to pay for the building rental whether they show up or not.
Another reason I am ticked off is that I have a HUGE waiting list of dealers and desperately want to add some guys off the list. I could have added four or five more guys from the list and not lost any money if some dealers had given me reasonable notice that they were not going to attend the show.
I had to tell one dealer, who cancelled the night before the show, that he has to go back on the waiting list because, even though he paid, he has cancelled multiple times on the night before the show. It is only fair that I try someone from the wait list who might actually show up.
I also think it hurts the show when I have five or six empty spaces in the building. Customers want to see all the spaces filled... me too!
This is an ongoing problem. I am amazed how many irresponsible people we have in this hobby.
So one guy no-showed me in April. No call, text, message. He just did not show up. The week before the May show he texts and asks for a spot. What? Why in the world would I leave space for him when he probably won't show up? Priceless!
All the guys who cancelled the week of the show and did not pay will not have tables at future shows. They are going to get pissed off at me but I just don't care. I have a card show to operate and a duty to fill all the spots. I need to get rid of all these jokers who don't have the decency to give me reasonable notice or any notice that they can't make the show.
Did I say I am ticked off?
Bad dealers aside, it was an excellent show. Lisa and I arrived at the Salvation Army around 6 p.m. Friday night. I am getting more organized and have begun to make maps of each room that show the layout and where each dealer is located. New this month, I gave the maps to my main man at the Sal, Mr. Mark.
I was so hopeful the rooms would be laid out according to my map. Well, at least all the chairs were out. As I watched Lisa struggle with my maps, I realized I need to edit them to make them much more clear, then hopefully Mark's crew and Lisa can read them.
Lisa and I ended up spending four hours rearranging the tables and chairs and placing out our dealer name plates. It is such a big job and awfully tiring, especially when I worked all day.
Lisa started to nod off around 10 p.m. We left the Sal at 10:15 p.m. I was starving and tried to find a late-night place to eat. We ended up at Denny's, the one across from Mitchell Airport.
Late night at any Denny's is always an adventure. We waited a good 20 minutes to be seated. Then we waited another hour to have our order taken. Our food arrived around 11:45 p.m., about an hour and half after we got there. Mine, a T-bone steak, was quite good. Lisa's French toast breakfast was disgusting. She ended up sharing my food. At least we ate something. Though, we won't be visiting that particular Denny's again.
I woke before my alarm was set to go off at 6 a.m. We made it to the Sal around 7:15 a.m. The parking lot was already full of dealers. I opened the front door for the masses.
Thankfully, I loaded in Friday night and was able to start setting up right away. With so many no-shows, I had my pick of spots. I chose to set up in front of the concession stand. The kitchen is being remodeled and we moved concessions to the stage in the Chapel. I really liked that spot. If the kitchen is still out in June, I'm snagging that spot again.
One note about the spot. It was initially blocked with a huge metal structure containing a sink. On Friday night, I told Lisa we'll move the structure so we can set up there. She tried to lift it and said it was too heavy to move. I tugged on it and thought I could move it myself and told her so. She got angry at me and then moved it by herself. Note to self, don't make Lisa angry, she is super strong.
Another on-going issue with the dealers is trying to get them to prepay for their space.
With 130 dealers, it is just way too hard to collect from everybody during the show. We're tired as it is after spending four hours Friday night setting this thing up. I think I am going to start charging more for the space from dealers who fail to prepay. Hopefully that will solve the problem.
Lisa did the vast majority of the fee collecting. I was so tired and truly thankful to have her walk around and collect table fee. She is as trouper!
After set up, I went out on patrol. I have to make sure that dealers don't take more than their share of space and also don't move their tables into the aisle. You would not believe how many dealers move their tables into the aisle -- totally asinine! How do they expect customers to reach them when they block the access?
I had one dealer pay me for his tables early in the morning then disappear. WTF? He did not tell me he was not setting up. Again, I would rather have him tell me the week prior that he was not setting up and pull someone from the wait list. I hate empty tables!
Another issue with dealers is that some will find replacements when they cannot attend the show. I would rather pull someone from my wait list than have the dealer go find someone. I will save dealer spots if they just give me at least a week's notice that they can't be there.
When you have 130 different dealers, there are lots and lots of headaches.
Another headache is customers who arrive well before the show opens at 9 a.m. I watched customers come in at 8 a.m. I know I've said this before but I just don't understand these early arrivals because none of the dealers are open for business at 8 a.m. Most are just arriving at 8 a.m. Please, do not come to the show before 9 a.m. You are just in the way! We need to load in and set up!!
As the show went on, I was in a much better mood. My tables were busy from the get-go. I had a great day selling cards. It was awesome to see Jason and his wife Michelle. Aside from being a great guy, Jason has been buying card from me at Milwaukee shows for more than 20 years. He pulled a nice pile of cards. Thanks Jason!
Craig purchased some cards but I missed his better half, who did not attend. Robert purchased some cards. Thanks Robert! Jerome purchased some cards as well. Thanks Jerome. Dave found a few. Thanks Dave! Bob bought some cards and did not leave any this time. Thanks Bob!
I was busy from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. when the place cleared out. The big winner today was Shawn who purchased a huge pile of 1963 Topps baseball. Thanks Shawn!
Seemed like everybody and their mother was on the hunt for 1961 Fleer Great of the Game. I have them but am not anywhere near getting them ready for a show. I might be motivated now to organize them.
I had one of my best Oak Creek shows of the year. I talked to some other dealers that had excellent shows as well. I also talked to a few dealers that bombed. It happens, you are going to get a bomb here and there. I do. Whenever I bomb out, I automatically re-evaluate and come up with a game plan for the next show. I suggest that those dealers that did not have a good show try and bring different inventory in June, or possibly lower your prices.
There is just no rhyme or reason. Why did I have a really, really good show when others did not. Then there are the days that my sales are not very good and I talk to others whose sales were terrific. On those days, why did they rock and why did I bomb? Who knows! As for me, I just try to hustle and fill these binders before every show and make sure new inventory is out on my tables at each show -- usually that works.
On the buying front, Jim sold me some 1950's Braves, as usual. Jim C. brought over a guy selling a 1961 Post Eddie Mathews and a 1966 Topps Sandy Koufax, which I purchased. Thanks Jim!
Jerome had a box of 1959 Topps commons that he was walking around. He still had them at the end of the day. I hope to purchase them at the June show.
On the food front, I had sloppy Joe at 9 a.m. then two bratwursts later in the day. I felt bad for all the dealers in the Chapel because the scent of food permeated the whole room. I think I would have been drooling all day if I was set up in there.
On the people front, I was delighted to see that Johnny Adams flew in from Minnesota to attend the show. Thanks Johnny! The show now attracts folks from far and wide. One dealer drove up from Southbend, Indiana. We now have quite a few Indiana dealers. Thanks guys! I know it is quite a drive. Lisa said she met some folks who drove up from Kentucky. Awesome!
I also ran into a couple of Oak Creek first timers. The first is Bob, who I met years ago at the Gonzaga show. Bob had nothing but kind words and really enjoyed the show. Thanks for coming Bob! I also saw Paul Costanzo from the Wisconsin Sports Collectors Association. I also met Paul at Gonzaga. I appreciate all the kind words Paul! Thanks for coming!
On the health front, my health is shite. I learned after coming home from Strongsville that I am suffering from diabetic macular degeneration in my eyes. I went to see a retina specialist who stuck a needle in my right eye and injected something in there to try and alleviate the fluid that is gathering in there. So that sucked and was super scary.
I am still working on getting my blood pressure down. I had a good reading at the doctor's office last week but these meds just kick my ass. I did not take them the morning of the Oak Creek show. They make me too tired. I took them when I got home and had a good blood pressure reading on Sunday after the show.
I have all sorts of doctors appointments lined up. I need to make more with this or that specialist. Man, diabetes does not pay! I have been feeling down because of my health issues but my pal Larry Larsen always brightens my day. Larry has the heart of a warrior in defeating cancer twice. More than anyone, he understands what I am going through and is a huge inspiration. You guys need to stop at Larry's table at the Oak Creek show for a chat. He always has great cards and is not only one of the funniest guys I know, but he tells it like it is, no BS. Thank you Larry!
I know I rant but I am always happy at the end of the show because it is usually a good day. No reports of thefts. One dealer tracked me down because he thought a young guy stole some stuff. Officer John and I talked to the guy and determined he was clean.
Attendance was down to 780, our first show in months under 900. I don't attend any other one-day shows that draw 780, so I can't complain.
Next show is June 3. I hope to be able to get in a large number of new dealers for that one, along with all the old favorites. Thank you so much for your support. A big NO thank you to the dealers that did not show up!
Next up for me as a dealer is the Premier Card Show in Loves Park, Illinois, on Friday and Saturday, May 12 & 13. I am going to work a half day on Friday and try and get there around 1 p.m. I am not sure what to bring out. My binders took a beating in Oak Creek. I might have my 1979 baseball ready to go for Loves Park. I am not sure, I need to figure this one out. I might want to give the binders a rest.
Below are some photos from the May 6th Oak Creek show. Lisa took most of these photos.