There was a ton of extra work for this one with dealers cancelling for graduations and their children's sporting events. I had to contact everyone on my waiting list. I am always amazed when waiting list dealers do not bother to respond. Why ask to be placed on the wait list then?
Then there is the ongoing problem of dealers cancelling the day before the show. As I said before, once a dealer reserves a spot, that spot belongs to the dealers and he or she has a responsibility to either show up or pay me for the spot. Nothing pisses me off more than dealers cancelling the day before the show.
Another wrinkle to this show was that a week prior I was contacted by the Wisconsin Department of Revenue who wants me to fill out some sort of form. Included in the form is space for information on every dealer setting up at the show.
Apparently, Wisconsin has a law that all flea market promoters and "like events" have to register with the Department of Revenue. The kind folks at the Department of Revenue did not give me a whole lot of instruction. So I looked up the law and found that it is legit, I must provide info. I also looked up the administrative rules -- which accompany every law and offer instructions for the state agency on how to administer the law.
As a result, I copied a form off the department's website and included it in my dealer newsletter. Well, that did not go over very well. Dealers had questions for me of which I had no answers. I really think if the Department of Revenue is going to enforce this law, then they need to attend my show and explain it to the dealers. It is not really fair to dump this on me and expect compliance when I don't fully understand it and most of my dealers certainly do not understand it.
Some dealers walked out as soon as they saw that they had to submit this info to the Department of Revenue. Some dealers stayed and set up but they are not coming back because of this new requirement.
Other dealers just blew it off and did not fill out the form. So, under this law, I am required to submit a whole bunch of information about each dealer or face a fine of $200 for the first infraction and $500 for each subsequent infraction. Dealers can face a misdemeanor for not filling out the form.
I've got 10 days after the show to submit all this information -- which is a ton of extra work for me! Ugh! I am going to do the best I can and get as much info to the Department of Revenue as I can.
Next, I have to look into obtaining a seller's permit from the Department of Revenue. Ugh!
I talked to several other promoters about it just prior to the show. We have all been contacted by the Department of Revenue, so it looks like this is a requirement for every show in Wisconsin.
As I told Keith from the Wisconsin's Sports Collectors Association and the Roma Lodge show, this is just another headache in a sea of headaches!
Bottom line is that the cost of operating a show in Wisconsin along with setting up at shows as a dealer has just gone up. We'll see how this unfolds.
Anyway, back to the June 3 show in Oak Creek, a town in the lovely State of Wisconsin. Earlier in the week, Mark informed me that the front parking lot would be blocked off for folks attending a Weight Watchers event upstairs in the community center. Ugh!
Not much I can do, so I put the word out on Facebook which freaked out several dealers who were concerned about loading in. I honestly did not have answers for them. I was not sure how this would go. I figured it would sort itself out in the morning.
Back to the night before the show, I went on Priceline to reserve a hotel room and observed that the price of my regular hotel had increased. Instead of paying the increase, I opted for a divey hotel which actually worked out just fine.
Lisa and I made it to the Salvation Army around 4:30 p.m. on June 2 to set up the show. Mark and his crew do the initial layout of the tables and chairs according to my map. This is a work in progress. I need to continue to improve this map. Lisa and I spent about three and a half hours rearranging the tables and chairs and placing out dealer name-plates and our newsletter. We are getting better and quicker. I think it took us four hours last month.
Around 9 p.m., we set out to find some food and settled on the Water Street Brewery, just down the road on Howell. The brewpub is a huge space and serves food until 11 p.m. on Friday nights.
Lisa ordered a veggie burger while I ordered a California Beef Burger which came with avocados. My burger was awesome. My only complaint was that it was sandwiched between too much bread. I may cut the bread down next time.
We also ordered some beers. Lisa had a raspberry Weiss Bier while I had a regular Weiss Bier. Lisa said her beer was excellent. Mine too!
At the end of the meal, we could not find our waitress. She finally came by and said she was stuck with something going on elsewhere in the restaurant. I think we have an inkling of what was going on because we saw this Karen, who had a mean-looking bulldog on a leash, give it to the hostess. Apparently, some man was bothering her at the bar and staff did not help her like she wanted.
Okay, I get it but the hostess, who is paid minimum wage, is not going to be able to help. Karen needed the manager and she needed to remove her beastly dog. It showed its teeth at me when I tried to walk past when leaving. Lisa asked her to move her dog so we could pass. I also observed that nobody was bothering Karen at the hostess stand and I felt she should have just left. I think she was a bit tipsy.
The divey hotel was noisy for a while but died down. That alarm hit me like a brick in the morning. I had trouble falling asleep and did not sleep all that great but someone has to bake the donuts!
Lisa and I arrived at the Salvation Army around 7:15 a.m. and saw that the Weight Watchers people had filled up the front parking lot. I had loaded in last night so I parked across the street in the Target parking lot. I was met by a dealer who pulls a trailer of stuff on his truck. He did not know where to park or load in. I did not have an answer for him. He figured it out.
All in all, load in went smoothly. No fights! I had a ton of new dealers and most seemed to be able to find their spot. Though, I was pulled in many different directions in the morning as I tried to set up. Dealers were freaking out over the state form. Some dealers wanted to switch spots. I had to show several new dealers where their spot was located. It was hectic. Thankfully, Lisa went across the street to get me some coffee. It is amazing how a little coffee can help one deal with a situation!
I brought out one display case and filled it with pre-war. I had enough space to get out all of my binders. I brought them all except for my 1950's and 1960's football binders. Those ones are in desperate need of reloads. I had reloaded 1951 Bowman baseball prior to the show.
Attendance was steady, though down from last month. We had about 600 people through the door which is more than we had at this time last year. I also don't think 600 people is something to sneeze at. None of the other shows I set up at bring in 600 people.
Some dealers were not happy and apparently their sales were not very good. I was amazed that one dealer, who I observed during the show being mobbed with customers, reported his sales were down. Though, other dealers reported excellent sales. For me, I had my best show of the year. Sales were excellent!
It was great to see Rod and his wife who have not come out since Covid hit. I've known these guys forever. Rod is working on a bunch of vintage sets. He purchased a large number of 1970 Topps at this show. Thanks Rod!
I also saw big Mike, who I have not seen in a while. I was so busy and did not get a chance to chat. Mike used to have a card shop in Lake Geneva. Then there is the other big Mike who is always so pleasant and entertaining. Mike purchased some cards as well. Thanks Mike!
Robert purchased some cards. Thanks Robert! A bunch of other guys purchased cards. Thanks guys! Craig and Doreen purchased some cards. Thanks guys! Scott R. found some cards. The big winner was big Scott, not to be confused with Scott R. Big Scott purchased my 1954 Bowman Willie Mays. Thanks Scott!
A couple of guys thought they had some cards stolen. One was a dealer and he was not totally sure if the card was stolen but he could not find it. The other was a customer who thought someone stole one of his cards but he later found it in his box of cards.
Another dealer thought he saw the guy we banned because he stole cards at either the Janesville or the Oconomowoc show, I can't remember exactly where. I did not see him and alerted our police officer who has his photo. We did not see him.
On the buying front, I purchased a near-set of 1955 Topps baseball. It will be a while before I have those cards out at a show. I actually already have a pretty great inventory of 1955 Topps. I plan on loading my binder within the next several months.
I had a tough time leaving the show at the end because I was enjoying chatting with Bronko, Rocky and Shannon. Great folks! We were the last three dealers left at the end. I was tired!! I passed out when I got home. Another Oak Creek show in the books!
Next one is July 1. Being a holiday weekend, many of my regular dealers have other plans. So once again, I have dealer space available. All new dealers must bring their own tables and must prepay for space. If you are interested in setting up at the July 1 show, contact me at email@example.com.
Next up for me is a double bill weekend with the Darien show on Saturday and the Roma Lodge show on Sunday. I am looking forward to these shows! Not sure what I am going to bring out yet. Leaning towards display cases.
A big thank you to everyone who attended the Oak Creek show on Saturday! You guys rule!
Below is a photos essay of the June 3 Oak Creek show.