Too bad nobody attended the show.......
I think I might need a bigger venue... the only problem with a bigger venue is increased costs. I am not sure the dealers would be willing to pay more in table fee. Also, I am probably going to have to start charging admission -- not to line my own pockets but to donate fully to the Salvation Army. The powers-that-be don't seem to like the huge crowd. Especially the knuckleheads who can't seem to cover their nose with their mask. I figure I could soften the blow if I charge admission and donate it ALL to the Salvation Army. You guys wouldn't mind paying a buck to get into the show, right? Especially if the entire admission fee collected goes straight to the charitable Salvation Army.
This thing has become a BEAST! I really never anticipated that it would grow into such a monster! When I started at the Clarion Hotel, I had hoped one day it could fill the ballroom at the hotel. Their loss! They should have never kicked me out. I can fill the ballroom and then some now!!!
I also never anticipated I would have to work so hard to pull this thing off. As I sit here and type up this blog, I'm getting one email after another requesting tables. I DON'T HAVE ANY MORE TABLES!! STOP ASKING FOR TABLES!!
The Sal offered a fourth room but there are some drawbacks. My costs would double plus they literally do not have any more tables. Dealers would have to bring in their own tables. I don't see how I could work it that way without knowing the size of the tables and having the room laid out prior to the show. Also, what do I charge a dealer who just brings in a small card table? I am just going to pass on this option and look for a large venue to hold a second show. I want to keep this one at the Sal and quite possibly run a second larger show, maybe quarterly. I need a big-ass venue which will probably bring a big-ass cost. Would dealers be willing to pay $50 per table for a larger show? Right now my $25 table fee is quite a bargain. I've seen the money that is changing hands. Wow!
The folks at the Sal have seen the money as well. Being a charitable organization that needs funding for great programs that help out the less fortunate, something is probably going to happen. They will probably raise up the room fee shortly. I'm getting those vibes. It is a shame that I just can't seem to run a show without interference from the venue. I need my own convention center!! I'll keep you posted but I think that admission fee is happening sooner rather than later. Remember that dollar admission fee will go straight to the Salvation Army and will help someone get a hot meal or a warm coat.
So, while the view from the outside looks like a huge success, the view from the inside shows one headache after another. I drove up to the Sal on Friday afternoon. I took a room at the Marriott up the street and took a nap. I had a long day of work.
I awoke around 6 p.m. and went to the Target across from the Sal to purchase a table to donate to the Sal. I arrived near the end of the Sal's adult volleyball league. A nice crowd was playing volleyball in the gym. It looked like fun. I sat around for a while. When the last game ended, several of the players helped set up the show -- which was awesome. Setting up 73 tables by myself is too physically demanding for these old bones.
I lost some space in the gym this month because the Sal reopened their concession stand which is not a bad thing. I figured some dealers would be pissed that I had to move them back into the meeting room. For once, nobody in the meeting room or the hallway complained about their location. Thank you!
Now the guys in the gym are another story. One dealer texted me at 3 a.m. Saturday morning asking for a certain location in the gym. Come on now! Don't text me at 3 a.m. before the show! I was ready to kick that dealer out!!
Attention Dealers!! Stop asking me for a certain location!! I can't do it. I have a huge waiting list of potential dealers willing to take any space in the building. I am going to have to start getting rid of some guys. I really am tired of this!! It takes a herculean effort to put this thing on. I need dealers that are low maintenance. I can't hold your hand. Don't text me at 3 a.m. the night before the show! Stop obsessing about it. Get some sleep! Your location in the building means nothing! I prove this at every show by taking the tables furthest from the front door and closest to the exit. I had a monster show! My best ever at the Sal!! Stop whining that you don't like your location or you don't have enough space!! Seize the moment! If you can't make money at this show, no matter where you are located, then selling cards is not for you. They are hiring cashiers across the street at Target! Go there and leave me alone!!
I was talking with superstar Jason Galleske prior to the show. Jason was telling me how he loves this blog (thanks Jason!). His main comment: "You don't hold back!" No, I don't. This blog has always been a tool where I could vent. I am under more pressure putting on this show than ever before, I am getting it from the venue, 43 dealers, another 35 in waiting, and thousands of customers. I really need dealers to just come in, set up, sell some cards, then head home and not be a problem.
I really regret any time I bitched at a show promoter about anything. It is a tough job running a show, especially when you don't have ANY help. It is just me.
I spent three hours Friday night setting up the show. I got back to my hotel room around 10 p.m. I ate some McDonald's, watched some TV, then passed out. The best part of getting a hotel room near the show is that I get an extra hour of sleep! I can't tell you how I treasure that extra time.
So there were problems right away when I got to the Sal around 8 a.m. A bunch of dealers filled the "social distancing space" between dealer tables with their own card tables. I don't know how many times I have had to ask, it gets tiring. But I had to go around and ask everybody to move their tables from the social distancing area. These card tables are not allowed by the Salvation Army. When you guys place those card tables there, I get in trouble. We're on thin ice. The Salvation Army can cancel the show at any time. Do you want to be the reason the show is cancelled?
My guy at the Sal pointed out another problem with the social distancing area. Card tables aside, no one was social distancing. That space between the dealer tables had runway traffic. The Salvation Army wants one-way traffic throughout the whole building, not scattered runway traffic everywhere. Well, our huge crowd had spilled everywhere. I am thinking the only solution is to place some duct tape in the social distancing area to block folks from filling the social distancing area.
One more problem to point out... the huge crowds have brought out the thieves. Cards were stolen from tables both at the January and February shows. I HATE thieves. We all need to work together to stem the thefts. Dealers need to be vigilant. Keep an eye on your stuff during the WHOLE show. Don't let your guard down! Lock up cards in display cases.
I recommend that dealers bring in their own mobile security cameras. Also, if you catch someone stealing, don't pummel them! I know that is your natural reaction, but as your attorney I regret to inform you that you have no legal right to pummel a thief.. unless you are threatened with physical harm.
Let's start catching and prosecuting these thieves. Believe me, when these idiots are taken out in handcuffs and hauled into jail with blood thirsty gangbangers, they will be crying for their mommies and regret snatching that Luka Doncic rookie.
If you catch someone in the act, hold them there, call 911 and text me at 773-616-3705. I'll make sure the thieves are prosecuted and get jail time. There is no place at the show for thieves!!
While there are many problems at a show this large, there were also many, many bright spots including mass sales at my tables. I generally do my best to maintain a cheery demeanor and I was generally in a good mood Saturday. There is nothing like customers flush with Benjamins and spending those things at your tables. Man, that was fun.
So I was extremely busy all morning and raked in the dough. Then my relief came in the form of Jason and Andy, who for a small fee watched my tables from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. so I could manage the show. The Benjamins kept flowing to Jason and Andy. Thanks guys!!
I did not take any tables in January, partly because it is just too hard to manage both dealer tables and the show. I also have this huge waiting list of dealers hanging over my head and I wanted to give someone else an opportunity to set up. But with that large crowd in January, there was no way I was skipping out at the February show. I had just six display cases of stuff and sales were awesome! I think I am going to do six display cases again in March but instead of baseball, I'll fill them with football cards. I've got Jason lined up to help but I don't think I'll have Andy. I'm working on my brother Jon and my kids to help out. I need at least two people.
At the end of the day, I was pretty happy, though I could tell that the folks from the Sal were not happy. I have a lot of issues to deal with before the March show but man, this thing is really amazing. Most dealers were raking it in. Dealer Gary George commented, "I'm making more money than I did at any of the Nationals!" It has become a frenzy. It reminds me of the way shows were when I first starting going in the late 1970s. Those shows were frenzied. You couldn't even get to most dealer tables. As a customer, I rushed to purchase as much as I could until they kicked me out. Seems like that was the attitude of most of the customers on Saturday.
The best part of being a dealer is that you don't have to leave your table to purchase cards. I had four guys bring me boxes and boxes of cards. I made a huge haul! I still haven't even looked at everything I purchased. Thanks guys. It is so fun to buy cards!! I also met a guy who inherited a huge collection. I am hopeful that I am able to work out a deal to buy that collection. There is some really good stuff there!!
Let's keep the ball rolling! I need the dealers to be an asset and not a liability. I can't place you where you want to be!! I can't turn up the heat in the gym if you are the only one that is cold. Be an asset, not a liability. This show only thrives if we are all assets and nobody is a liability!
I do not know what is in store for the March 6th show but if my sales repeat like February, man, I will be happy!!
Thank you everyone! It is you that has made this thing a booming success. I appreciate you... just don't text me at 3 a.m.
Reminder, I am converting my law office into a vintage card pop-up shop on Sunday, February 21, 2021, from 9 a.m. top 2 p.m. at 201 E. Dundee Road, Suite 2, Palatine, IL. The pop-up shop gives me an opportunity to put out most of my inventory. We're talking 15 display cases of vintage cards and hundreds of binders, all sports, from 1949 to 1981. Hope you can check it out!
Below is a photo of the back hallway at Saturday's show. All three rooms were crowded all day long! What a show!!