Watched the sun come up as I drove north to the Clarion at 6 a.m. I stopped off at the Mickey D's in Pleasant Prairie, Wisc., for a sausage McMuffin with egg. I asked that they hold the cheese. Once back on the highway, I cracked open the wrapping and found that it not only had cheese but there was bacon in there as well and no egg. WFT? I could not eat it because I have lactose issues. I did not want to turn back. I am going to skip the McDonald's in Pleasant Prairie in the future.
Anyway, I made it to the Clarion around 7 a.m. and was met by hoards of seagulls. I also noticed that the parking lot was full. Many cars had six or seven seagulls on them. The hotel was filled at this early hour with finely dressed people for some sort of medical equipment event. These people not only occupied the ballroom but they had tables set up in the hallway, making access to the Rembrandt Room, home to my card show, difficult. On top of that, there was some sort of ongoing construction on the two rooms adjacent to the Rembrandt Room and crews were blocking my door with their carts. I moved the carts a few times only to find them placed back in front of my door. I finally had to ask the workers to stop blocking my door.
More complaints: there was no place for anyone to park. The Clarion had filled up the parking lot with cars from airport commuters. The manager told me it was a corporate decision, he has been arguing against the airport parking. I am not sure if we lost any customers because of the parking issues but folks coming into the show had complaints. I ended up parking on the opposite end of the hotel. Gary parked in the neighboring Aurora Health Clinic and received a $40 parking ticket. Many people just double parked in the Clarion lot which is what I recommend to do. They are not ticketing in the Clarion lot, so please double park if we have this situation again.
Despite my lack of breakfast, the seagulls, the medical people, the construction workers, and the lack of parking, it was a pretty good show. We had a great variety with our dealers. Gary, PJ and Larry had their usual mix of great vintage with a lot of new inventory. Bill was back with assorted modern cards. Trevor was back with some wax. Matt returned with a large inventory of modern. New dealer Scott had an interesting mix of graded and unopened. Customers enjoyed the variety and purchased both vintage and modern cards.
I had one no-show dealer who I think just forgot that he told me he was coming back after last show. I am going to give him the benefit of the doubt.
As usual, Jerome was my first customer of the day. He got there around 8 a.m. and spent a few hours with my newly reloaded 1966 Topps baseball binder. Jason was also an early visitor to the show and found some cards in my display cases. I have another regular at this show, whose name I cannot remember, he always buys a bunch of cards out of my display cases. He purchases hockey, football and baseball. He found a bunch of stuff as usual.
I had a bunch of new customers purchase cards. I handed out quite a few fliers at the Fanatics show the week before, I'm guessing the new customers saw my fliers. Overall, attendance was down from the February show but there still were enough folks in the room where most of the dealers reported good sales. My sales were good. I actually think attendance was pretty good considering the parking difficulties and that there was another show in West Bend that day.
Speaking of West Bend, I am the last guy who is going to complain about anyone doing a show but I just wish the West Bend guys would have picked another day. There are four Saturdays in the month and I have been promoting my dates since January while the West Bend guys started promoting their date about a month ago. It would have been nice if they picked one of the three other Saturdays in April where there was no other show. I might have even set up at their show if they had booked it on any other day but April 1. I lost one dealer to the West Bend show while the rest of the regulars stuck with me -- thanks guys!
One nice observation from this show was that we had a lot of kids in the room. I think they purchased just about all the wax on Trevor's table. I really hope we continue to get a nice stream of kids in the future. A big thank you to all the dads and moms that brought their kids out -- it really makes for a better show to have kids in the room.
On the buying front, I started building a 1966 Topps baseball set. I decided to build the set while I was working on my show binder prior to the show and realized I had far more cards than can fit into the binder. I found cards at Gary's and PJ's tables. I probably only need about 120 cards to finish the set. Just about all of the cards are nice. This will be a beautiful set when I complete it. I also bought a nice group of 1957 Topps baseball from Larry. Thanks guys for the nice deals!
So despite a little adversity, it turned out to be a really nice show. Next Clarion show is slated for May 6. I already have some new dealers lined up including Don who owns a card shop in Freeport, Illinois. I am looking forward to May 6 to see what Don is bringing out. He has reserved three tables so there should be some good stuff!
I made a mistake setting up my tables by only putting out display cases, no binders. My reasoning was to: (1) change things up, (2) I have a really great inventory right now,
(3) I was really tired from my show the day before and it is easier to load in the display
cases than to bring in the heavy bins of binders. So next Wyndham Garden show on May 7th, I will just bring binders, no display cases.
I had a really nice buying show. I picked up a 1971 Topps Aaron, Seaver, Munson, and
Rose along with 1975 Minis Rose and Ryan.
Sunday, April 9, 2017, Civic Center, Orland Park, IL
Nice spring weather always results in low card show attendance. We had some beautiful weather in the Chicago area on April 9th, thus attendance was way down. My sales were poor. This may have been my worst Orland show ever. Thanks to Rick and Will for showing up and saving me from a total loss.
On the upside, Will and Joe won the raffle for the signed Duncan Keith jersey. That was a really cool moment. Congrats guys!
On the buying front, there was a lot of opportunities but I didn't bring much cash with me figuring sales would be good enough to generate cash flow for buying. Junior had a bunch of Johnny Bench cards, including a rookie, that I wanted. We agreed to meet after the show so I could run home, get some cash and pay him. Generally, an ugly day.
Friday, April 21, 2017, through Sunday, April 23, 2017
Ohio Sports Collectors Convention, Holiday Inn, Strongsville, OH
I have been on the wait list for this show for a year or so. About 10 days before the show, I received an email from promoter Paul Fusco informing me that someone dropped out, their tables were open, do I want them. Yes! I wanted the tables but I had a few problems. I had a couple of cases up in court on Thursday and Friday and I had committed to the Gonzaga show on Sunday. I was able to get someone to cover my court cases and Keith was very cool about letting me cancel the Gonzaga show. It really hurt to cancel Gonzaga because that is my best show but I had been hearing such great things about the Ohio Sports Collectors Convention that I thought it was worth it to skip Gonzaga this one time.
I set up at all big shows with my buddy Dave McDonald. We made plans to hit the road in the a.m. on Thursday, April 20, and to make it to Strongsville by 4 p.m. for set up. We planned to rent a car. I showed up at a nearby National Car Rental at 8:30 a.m. on April 20th. My debit card was declined and I could not rent a car. I talked to my bank and they said since I never use my card, they cancelled it. So Dave and I had some problems. I had given my car to my wife and she took it to work and would not be home till 3 p.m. or so. I asked Dave if he could rent a car but he didn't want to rent a car then drive all the way north to my house than head back southeast toward Ohio. We decided to wait for my wife to return with my car and wait for me to get an oil change then head to Ohio in the evening. We would miss the 4 p.m. set up and have to set up on Friday morning.
Next problem was that I was stranded at the National Car Rental. My wife dropped me off there on her way to work. I did not foresee any problems. I walked a few miles to the local mall and hopped a bus toward home. I did not get home until 10:30 a.m. I debated on going into work but opted to go back to sleep. When my wife got home at 3 p.m., I raced out and got an oil change. Once back home, I loaded up the car and decided to head over to Dave's place around 4 p.m. Traffic was horrible and I did not get there until 5:30 p.m. We loaded Dave's stuff into my car and were on the road to Ohio by 6 p.m.
Next problem, time change, we lost an hour and did not arrive at the Strongsville Holiday Inn until 1 a.m. We were both too wired to sleep and only got three or four hours of sleep when the alarm went off Friday morning. Both Dave and I were dead to the world on Friday morning but we found the hotel breakfast buffet and then set up our tables. It took many, many cups of coffee to find coherence. Once awake and set up, I walked around the show. This was around 10 a.m. or so and the public had not yet entered.
Wow! Next the the National, I don't think I have ever seen a better room of vintage cards. Unlike any other show I have ever attended, just about every table had vintage cards and memorabilia. It was cool! I could not help myself and started buying cards right away. One dealer gave me a real nice deal on a stack of 1929 Kashin. Another dealer gave me a nice price on a stack of Red Man tobacco cards from the 1950s. I then decided to slow down and try to make some sales before blowing through all of my money.
Back at my table, not much doing. Customers started to come in and they seemed to make a beeline to certain tables. We were across from Uncle Dick and he had a steady flow of folks at his tables all weekend. We were next to another dealer with a ton of commons like Uncle Dick. I've seen this guy a few times before at Moeller and at Pittsburg. Last time I saw him he had a lot of off-grade stuff at decent prices. Well he upped his inventory big time and had all sorts of high-end graded stuff. He was extremely busy all weekend long.
Behind us we had an incredibly nice couple from Iowa with an equally incredible inventory. They had one display case that I would have liked to take home with me because it was filled with the likes of Christy Mathewson, Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. Turns out that they read this blog too! They were really enjoyable to be around all weekend and we had many opportunities to chat. They gave me some nice advice on programs to view on Netflix. Thanks to them I have since gotten hooked on the show "Lilyhammer." Thanks guys, hope to see you again!
Speaking of this blog, another follower, Mike was set up nearby. I met Mike back in September when I had set up at the smaller Strongsville show. Unfortunately, I called Mike by the name of Mark in that September blog. Sorry Mike. Now back in September, Mike was set up with all modern cards. This time around his table was filled with all vintage including unopened wax. He had a really cool set up.
Once the doors were open to the public, It did not take long for the room to fill up. Soon it was wall to wall people. My 1959 Topps baseball binder started to get a workout. I sold my 1952 Bowman Bob Feller. I also sold an old Sport Magazine with Feller on the cover. I sold a 1968 Topps Gerry Cheevers hockey card. I had a nice display of hockey out at this show. Quite a few people came by early in the show and said I would never sell any hockey in Cleveland. Well, hockey was my best seller all weekend. You know that old saying, never assume...
I had a nice little rush of people at my table in the late morning. Then I went to the hotel's restaurant and got a sandwich. I had a few more sales while I was munching my sandwich at the table then not much else afterwards. I sat at my table in a tired daze for six or seven hours watching customers walk by or shop at the surrounding tables. I was dissappointed when the closing bell hit at 8 p.m.
My pals Mark, Greg and Craig were at the show and they invited Dave and I to dinner but we were so tired to the point of delirium and opted to grab a bite to eat at the hotel bar and turn in.
Dave and I slept a lot better. I felt much better on Saturday. I was hurtin' on Friday. Once again there was a nice crowd in the room on Saturday but my sales were slow. Mark and Greg said that this is a show you have to do a few times before sales start to flow. From what I was selling, Cleveland players like Lou Boudreau and Bob Feller, I can see that I need to stock up on these guys for next year. I had some nice sales with hockey cards. I need to bring much more hockey next year as well. On the buying front, I picked up some 1966 Topps for my set from Dave. A random customer stopped by my table with some '66s to sell. I cherry picked the cards I needed for my set. I also went around the room and purchased Chicago and Milwaukee themed cards at very reasonable prices.
After the show on Saturday, Mark, Greg and Craig went to an OBC dinner. There were quite a few OBC guys decked out in their uniforms at the show. Dave and I drove around Strongsville. There is not much to Strongsville. It seems like there are just two roads that make up the town. We stopped at a place called Goldi's Deli. I had a delicious corned beef sandwich served by a very pretty waitress. Dave had a Rueben. Back at the hotel, I watched the Cleveland Indians beat up my Chicago White Sox then passed out.
On Sunday morning, Dave and I ate at the hotel breakfast buffet, just like Friday and Saturday. This time around, they had Swedish pancakes with lingonberries which were oh, so good. Back at the show, I had quite a few sales but they were all sort of small. A card shop owner from Michigan purchased a large pile of cards out of my 50-cent box. Another card shop owner, who said his shop was about 100 miles from the show in Ohio, also purchased a large amount of cards out of my 50-cent box along with a few football cards from my display cases. I sold a lot of stuff out of my 50-cent boxes and a bunch more hockey on Sunday. I bought a few more '66s for my set from the dealer next to us. We were on the road to Chicago by 4 p.m.
My thoughts on this show: (1) I was impressed with the attendance. There were big crowds all three days; (2) I was impressed with the dealers and their inventories; (3) I immediately liked the promoter Paul Fusco as soon as I met him. He told me modern cards are a cancer and he doesn't want them in his show. I couldn't agree more. He is an excellent promoter. This show was well run and both dealers and customers were happy. Pretty much all the dealers I talked to, other than Dave, reported excellent sales. I hope Paul invites me back!
We were in the middle of a four-day downpour when this show came around. I did not want to deal with bringing my display cases into the show during the rain so I opted to go with a totally difference set up featuring for the first time, all of my binders and all of my publications. I thought the set up looked pretty cool... the customers on the other hand, not so much. Sales were about the same as last show. A big thank you to Will for helping me cover table fee with his many purchases! Will and Joe did not win the jersey this time around. Though, Joe made it clear he did not want the Ben Zobrist jersey.
On the buying front, I made some nice purchases early then ran out of money. I bought about 2,500 cards from the early 1970s, some 1965 Topps football and an assorted group of baseball stars from the 1960s. Once again there were many people coming to my table with stuff to sell and I had to run them away.
I won't be at the May 6 Orland Show. Instead, I will be at my show at the Clarion in Milwaukee. Come see me in Milwaukee!