Now that I am not spending Friday nights in Milwaukee, Saturday mornings have become a race between getting to the Sal and placing all the dealer nameplates on 100 tables before the dealers arrive itching to get in and set up. I have been doing fairly well and winning the race, though, I know one of these days I am going to be late and lose out.
On this morning, I woke up at 4 a.m. and was on the road to Oak Creek by 5 a.m. About twenty minutes into the drive I realized I forgot my card tables at home. I thought about heading back home for the tables but was worried I would lose the race to get the nameplates out. I figured there might be some extra tables at the Sal or I would have a dealer not show up and could move into that table.
I arrived at the Sal around 6 a.m. and realized I forgot to tell my man at the Sal, Mark, how many tables I needed paired up and how many singles. Luckily, Mark and his great group of volunteers placed most of the tables in pairs, like I need them. I only had to move around a few tables. It took me about 45 minutes to get all the nameplates out and rearrange some tables. I then worked on taping up signs to alert customers that there are four rooms of dealers at the show.
I opened some doors for the dealers around 7 a.m. as I knew a bunch of them would be there already, even though set up time is 8 a.m. The dealers started to trickle in and I finished up taping up my signs.
Luckily, there were some extra tables in the Game Room that I was able to use and I loaded in and worked on setting up my tables. This was the second show for the Game Room and set up in there went much smoother than last month. Mark opened up some more space which was very helpful.
After set up, I went outside to place a sign on Howell to alert passerbys that we have a card show going on in this fine building. Outside, I was greeted by Cody, who I met several months ago when he randomly showed up ready to set up and sell some cards. At that time, I tried to explain to Cody that he needs to reserve a table prior to the show. This time, like last time, Cody randomly showed up expecting to set up. I once again explained to him that he needs to reserve a table prior to the show.
Last time, I allowed Cody to create a make-shift table and set up in the gym. He wanted to do the same thing this time but space was tighter in the gym and I did not allow him to do so. However, Mark had created that extra space in the Game Room so I had room for him there. I advised that he go across the street to Target and buy some real tables. He actually followed my instructions and bought some tables and then set them up in the Game Room.
I observed that customers started to come in around 7:45-8:00. I am not going to make anyone wait outside but I recommend that customers arrive after 9 a.m. when the dealers are set up and ready. It does not make much sense to me to roam the rooms as a customer when nobody is set up. I even heard one father tell his boys around 8:30 a.m. that they needed to be ready to leave by 9:15. Most of the dealers were not finished setting up at 8:30 and many hadn't even arrived yet. It makes absolutely no sense to me to come to the show at 8 a.m. and leave by 9:15 a.m. There are 100 tables now at this show, don't you want to see them filled with cards instead of empty?
Masks are still required by the Salvation Army. I am fully vaccinated but am happy to comply with the rules. Quite a few guys throughout the day did not comply. I am not going to make a big deal about it but it would be nice for folks to follow the rules. We are guests at the Salvation Army and I urge everyone to have some respect for the organization and their venue and follow the rules. They have every right to kick us out. We have such a good thing going, I would hate to see it end because of a few numbnuts.
I donned my mask after set up. I brought out all of my baseball binders this month and one display case that I filled up mostly with Hank Aaron, Warren Spahn and Eddie Matthews cards. I have been doing these sort of themes lately which I find fun to do. I think folks liked my Braves theme as I sold many more cards out of the display case this month than I did last month when I filled it with early Bowman baseball and some 1952 Topps.
I think Bruce was the first customer at my table around 9 a.m. Bruce is working on several vintage baseball sets and he found a bunch of cards this morning. Thanks Bruce! Then Gary came by early and purchased a few Hank Aaron cards out of the display case. Thanks Gary!
Doreen and Craig were there working on some sets. Doreen kindly brought me a delicious sloppy Joe breakfast sandwich from the Sal concession stand. Thank you Doreen!
Jack was there early as well. Jack normally buys cards that he plans to get signed by the players. This morning, however, he bought some older cards of players that are no longer living, so he couldn't get those signed. I was surprised and appreciative.
Scott was also there early filling his sets. Thanks Scott! A new customer wearing a Brewers shirt bought a bunch of cards and told me some entertaining stories. Business was brisk early on and I was much appreciative.
My superstar helpers Jason and Rachel arrived around 11 a.m., enabling me to visit all 100 tables and collect table fee. I always enjoy getting out and talking to all of the dealers. My first stop was Gary George, who informed me he was having a great day selling a number of pricey graded vintage cards. Graded vintage cards are super hot right now, the hottest I have ever seen them. Last time I brought out graded, I just about sold all the cards. I am working on pricing more graded vintage to bring out at a future show.
Next I stopped at Tim Fritz's table, which I have to admit is my favorite table in the show with so much drool-worthy pre-War cards. Next to Tim was Bill Nest, who rounded out a great row of vintage cards.
Once again Jeremy and I were talking about farts. He said the air around his table was a little better this month. We decided we need to place "Fart Free Zone" signs around the building.
So, on and on, I went through the room, chatting with all the dealers. It is always nice to catch up with these folks. Great people all of them and I am so thankful they set up at my show!
I see a huge difference between the dealers that have been doing this for a while than the newer dealers. The thing about the long-time dealers is that they don't really complain about anything. Some of the newer dealers just complain and complain. They never like their location. They all want to be in the gym, none of them seem to like the three other rooms. I place the long-time dealers in the gym and when one drops out, I'll add one of the newer dealers to the gym. I think it is the fairest way to do it.
Like I have said many times before, I don't care where I am in the building. I was in the Game Room again and had a really nice show, better than last month. Many of the Game Room dealers had complaints. I am sorry guys, I wish I could place everybody exactly where you want to be but it is impossible. Be patient, when there are some openings, I'll move you to the gym.
While I do find these complaints about location a little annoying, I am thankful that these guys do show up. I had five or six no-shows today. No shows are the worst. I have no patience for dealers who reserve a spot then do not bother to show up. I am in a lucky position now where I can ban these no show dealers from future shows and pluck guys off my waiting list who will be happy to set up in ANY room in the show.
Some jerky on Facebook asked why I have empty dealer tables and don't bother to fill them up. Well, Mr. Jerky, every table is reserved prior to the show. If you see an empty table it is because some lame ass guy who reserved the spot did not bother to show up. Really all I can do is ban that dealer from future shows and try to get someone in who will actually show up.
Sometimes you get hit from all directions as a show promoter and all I can do is try to manage this thing the best I can. I have a lot of patience and am able to block out some of the annoyances and have a really good time. I had nothing but fun at this show. There are far more awesome people at the show than jerkys and numbnuts.
Last month I talked about a new dealer who canceled the day before the show. I can't believe how many guys figured out who I was talking about. I did not think anyone would know who it was. I hate to call anyone out publicly but it can be frustrating sometimes to deal with so many people and this blog allows me to vent and do it in an entertaining manner. What I want to know is what gave it away? How did you guys know? One dealer even offered to pay for the guy's spot which shows I have far more quality dealers than numbnuts.
It took me more than two hours to visit all 100 tables. I am always beat afterwards and my aging back begins to hurt. So it was nice to be back at my tables around 1:15 p.m. A huge thank you to Jason and Rachel who did another great job!
It was business as usual at my tables. Dave found quite a few 1968 Topps for his set. I met his nephew, who seems to have an interest in graded cards. Robert purchased a large pile of 1958 and 1960 Topps. Thanks Robert! My pal Andy was in town from Orlando and found a few cards. Thanks Andy!
A bunch of regulars and new customers bought cards from me. One customer, who I met last month for the first time, was really angry that I did not bring out my football binders. I just have so many binders and very limited space, so I rotate them from month to month. This guy, however, was really pissed off, like I just insulted his mother. Come on now! This is just for fun! No reason to get angry at me because I brought out different stuff than last month? Several others were disappointed that I did not have the football binders but at least they did not have child-like melt downs. I am perplexed.
For the most part, everyone who came by my table was as pleasant as can be and very appreciated.
On the buying front, I went hog wild, as usual. I have been buying up Todd's overflow cards for most of the year and I think I bought the last of them at this show. Thanks Todd! Then my pal Jim drove up from Indiana and had a tremendous display of vintage cards and a bunch of modern cards. Jim sold me a nice group. Thanks Jim! Then I had been talking to Bill about some 1953 Topps baseball for quite a while. We finally made the deal. Thanks Bill! Once again, I went home with more cards than I brought to the show.
All in all, a pretty great day. My sales were up from last month and I took home quite a haul of cards. I enjoyed myself thoroughly and can't wait to do it again at the next Salvation Army show on July 3.
In the meantime, I am coming back to Milwaukee tomorrow June 6 for the Buenavista Banquets show. See you guys tomorrow. Hey angry football guy! I'll have the football binders at the Buenavista show. Come on out!!