I had two shows this weekend. Saturday was Orland and Sunday was Gonzaga. A lot of empty dealer tables at the Orland show, which seems to be the norm lately. There is a lot of grumbling amongst the Orland dealers. Many are not happy. Orland is not bringing in the large number of customers that it has in the past. As a result, dealers aren't making the kind of money they used to make there, myself included. Many dealers are skipping Orland for other shows. I don't know where the customers have gone but we need to get them back.
I think the Orland show needs a spark. Here are some of my suggestions:
(1) There needs to be a food booth. I really miss the nice food spread that the former hot dog lady used to bring. I think food encourages folks to stick around longer.
(2) The fee for dealer tables needs to lowered. All the other one-day shows I do have lower table fees. I think a lower fee would lighten the sting when a dealer has a bad day.
(3) The promoter needs to encourage dealers to spread out onto empty tables and avoid having the bald guy put them away during the show when the tables are empty. A room filled with sports items is much more attractive to customers than a room that is only half-filled.
(4) The show needs autograph guests. Bring in some old-time Bears, Hawks, Bulls, Cubs and Sox. Guys who will sign for $5 to $10. It doesn't have to be any big names.
These are my suggestions. I'd love to hear yours. Orland was once a terrific show and I'd love to see it return to its former glory (so would my wallet!). I'm skipping the November 10 Orland show because Gonzaga is that day as well. I pay less in table fees at Gonzaga, I make more money, they have food, a live auction, and occasional autograph guests. Crowds continue to flock to Gonzaga. It is done right and is a much better show than Orland. One of the December Orland shows is on the same day as the Serb Hall show. I'm debating on setting up at Serb over Orland right now. I'm also considering Schaumburg and Bloomingdale over Orland. This is the process that dealers go through. There are multiple shows each and every weekend in the tri-state area (Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana). Most dealers will set up at the show where they know they will make the most money. I am currently making more money at Gonzaga, Serb, Schaumburg, and Bloomingdale than I make at Orland.
The reason I'm still there is that my Orland shows are not disasters. It is just that sales are down. I'd feel a lot better about the show if I didn't have to pay so much in table fee or if the promoter put an empty table next to me and allowed me to use it at no charge (like every other promoter in the country does). I still have some tremendous customers at Orland whom I look forward to seeing every month. It's a tough choice, I'm not backing out but I will skip shows occasionally, if I know I will do better elsewhere. I have observed that other dealers have opted out of Orland. It is a lot of time, money and effort that isn't worthwhile when sales aren't there.
While the crowd was definitely down on Saturday, I was busy most of the day. My cheapy boxes were a big hit. I can't thank the guys enough who spent time and money at my table. It's always great to see Chris, Rick, Paul, Joel, Tom, Jim and all the other guys whose names I can't seem to ever remember. I appreciate all you guys. Many were very complimentary this Saturday. One customer, observing the lack of dealers in the room, told me that if I stop coming to the show, he's not going to go anymore. I think a lot of regular customers are wondering why there are so many empty tables. I'm not the promoter. I'm not sure what I can do as a dealer to get other dealers to show up. Rest assured, my faithful followers, I will be set up buying and selling cards somewhere each weekend. If I'm not at Orland, you can still come and see me somewhere else in the area. In the meantime, I will be set up at the October 27th Orland show, so come on out and support the show!!
I actually saw a few Orland customers up in Milwaukee on Sunday. The Gonzaga show was absolutely terrific. We had a large crowd from the get-go. I was busy all day. While I was setting up, I helped the guy who runs the Mears booth complete his 1966 Topps set with a Bob Uecker. Bill purchased a ton of '58s. Thanks Bill! Mark was back after a long absence. Thanks for the purchases Mark! Another long-time customer was back after a few months off and purchased a large pile of 1955 Bowman football. I sold a 1958 Topps Ted Williams and a 1959 Topps Sandy Koufax to a father and son team. Thanks guys! Jeff and Jason pulled their usual large piles of cards. Thank you!! Tim was in from Madison and we did our usual cash and trade deal. Thanks Tim!! A bunch of other guys bought cards and the sales added up. A great day! Thank you everybody!!!
Early on, Dave H. informed me that there was no cake. I was a little worried until I had one of the greatest doughnuts that I have ever eaten. Man that was a good doughnut! As much as I love the cake, I could deal with those doughnuts every month.
I picked up a few things this weekend. I bought a large group of 1970 Topps baseball. Unfortunately, they all have water damage. I will be selling those cheap! I also picked up a couple of large groupings of lower grade cards from the 1950's and 1960's. Those cards will make it into my cheapy boxes shortly.
I started working on 1974-75 Topps hockey. I'll have those done by the Serb Hall show on Sunday (Oct 20, 2013). Jason requested that I work on some 1962 Post baseball -- I should have those ready to go by Sunday as well. After the Post, I plan on working on 1968 Topps baseball. I should have those ready by the October 27th Orland show.
In sum, Orland down, Gonzaga up, cards are fun and I've got to go to my real job tomorrow :( I can't wait until next weekend!! See you guys at Serb Hall!!!!!