I was up at 4 a.m., on the road to the show by 5 a.m., and arrived at 5:45 a.m. Unfortunately, as the promoter, I have to be at the sh0w crazy early to rearrange the tables and to place name plates on 106 spaces. It takes a while to complete these tasks. I ask all the dealers to arrive at 8 a.m., to give me some time to get everything done. I heard dealers tugging at the door at 6:45 a.m. WTF?
I finished everything up around 7:30 a.m. and opened the doors to dealers. I loaded my cards into the show as well. On this day, I gave myself the space in Fellowship Hall that I had in December because we had some extra tables and I did not want to haul my card tables into the building. I ended up lending the card tables to a dealer who forgot to bring tables.
The venue now has 77 tables but I need 106, so I require the newest dealers to bring in their own tables. I still have a crazy long waiting list and receive a steady stream of table requests. I was able to get a bunch of new guys into the show this month. Also, it looks like I can fit in an additional four to six more tables so I plan on having 110 or 112 tables for the March 5 show.
The morning was smooth sailing. Several dealers were late arrivals but everyone showed up -- I think this is the first time in eight years where everyone showed up! I was so pleased. Thank you guys! I can't tell you what a headache it is when dealers don't show up because then all 50 guys on the waiting list come up to me and complain that I did not give them a table. They don't seem to understand that some dealers don't bother to show up so I usually have some empty tables.
It was a cold day! The thermometer in my car read 7 degrees as I drove in the dark to Oak Creek. Upon arrival in Oak Creek, the temp dropped to 5 degrees. You could feel the cold while the doors were open during load in. After the show, the temperature warmed up but the wind picked up so it felt colder than the morning. Brrr!
My main man Mark, who is in charge of the event for the Sal, tries his best to maintain a comfortable temperature in the building. It really does not help matters when many people complain to him about the temperature. If you are cold, bundle up. If you are warm, take off some layers! Give Mark a break!
We had a really nice turn out. I'm guessing between 750 and 1,000 people. It is tough to gauge attendance when dealers are spread out throughout this large building. I think we had good control over the flow of people at this one, with the main entry at the front, folks walked through the dealers in the front hallway, who seemed busy all day, then into the Game Room and Fellowship Hall, and lastly into the gym.
While the gym did not seem as crowded as last month, it seemed like more customers were milling in the other parts of the show than previous months. Most dealers reported excellent sales. Seemed everybody was happy which is what I like to see!
I brought out my binders and business was brisk at my tables. A lot of set builders. A huge thank you to everyone who bought cards from me. Also, thank you to Rachel, who watched my tables, as usual, while I hit up the other 104 tables for rental fee.
A big thank you to Doreen for getting me my breakfast Sloppy Joe. I was disappointed to see that the concession stand ran out of Sloppy Joe near the end of the day. Mark said they pretty much ran out of everything including brats and hot dogs. All the funds from the concession stand benefit the Salvation Army so I really appreciate everyone who visits our concession stand.
Along those lines, next month we will be charging a $1 donation to the Salvation Army to enter the show. These kind folks run so many wonderful charity programs and are in desperate need of funding. The $1 donation from everybody will really help them out. A Salvation Army volunteer will be at the front door next month collecting the donations. Please enter from the front door and not the gym.
It was nice to see a lot of different folks at the show. I saw Troy Kinunan, who owns Milwaukee's own Mears Auctions. Troy had some really kind words for me about the show which I really appreciated. Likewise, I have nothing but great things to say about Mears which always has an excellent monthly auction. There is a lot of great stuff happening in Milwaukee!
Then I saw Rick "Gizmo" Giddings spreading love throughout the building. Rick told me he dropped $25K at the show. Thanks Rick!!
I was exhausted by the end of the day but happy. Seemed everything went well. So many people came up to me during the show and thanked me for putting it on. I appreciate all the kind words and really appreciate everyone for attending. We've really created something special here in Oak Creek together. Thank you guys!
After the show, I learned about a few hiccups. Seems one dealer had some blaster boxes stolen. I am going to start looking for a security guard again. If anyone is interested, let me know.
Another dealer reported that someone passed him a fake $100 dollar bill -- that was a new one. Now we have to be concerned about fake bills.
Also, a customer after the show sent me an email and complained that a 1980 Topps Rickey Henderson and a 1987 Fleer Billy Ripken he purchased were trimmed. He is coming back to the March 5 show to return the cards. I doubt the dealer intentionally sold trimmed cards. Sometimes these things happen. Dealers, I would ask that if you know a card is trimmed, label it as such. Thank you!
Despite these hiccups, we are just rolling along in Oak Creek. This show has morphed into a tremendous event each and every month. There is such a great variety of dealers. As a vintage collector, I love that we have more vintage dealers than any other show around. I am also impressed with the popularity and number of Pokemon dealers in the building. Of course, modern is amazingly popular. There is such a great buzz in the building. It is so cool!
On the buying front, I picked up a few things. I bought a 1971 Topps Hank Aaron from Kevin Farrell. I think I just need a Mays to complete the set. Then I purchased a T205 John McGraw from Tim. Lastly, I purchased a 1971 Topps O.J. Simpson from Jim. Not a big haul at this show but I was happy with my purchases. Next Oak Creek show is March 5. As usual, dealer tables are sold out. I will pluck a handful of guys off the waiting list for the March 5th show.
Well, this was the first show of a double bill weekend for me. I was set up in Schaumburg on Sunday, Schaumburg report coming soon.
In the meantime, I'm setting up at the Rock Church show in Rockford on February 12. I'm bringing out binders again. Let me know if you want me to bring anything special. See you in Rockford!
Below is a photo essay from the February 5th show.
Thanks again for coming out. Hope to see you at the March 5th show at the Salvation Army Community Center, 8853 S. Howell, Oak Creek, WI.