What a day! Record attendance! Dealers throwing punches! Kitchen staffer burned! Cards and more cards! Oh my!!
Doors opened to the general public at 9 a.m. By 10 a.m. we had 300 people through the door. Final tally was 906, a new record! Now we need to hit 1,000 for the March 4th show!! The best part of all these people coming into the show is that it is a fundraiser for the great folks at the Salvation Army who do so much good for the community with these funds!! I am so happy that so many people attended the show and I am so happy that we can all do our part in supporting the Salvation Army.
Now for some silliness....
Now these guys are past their prime and should know better. Dealers! If you have an issue with someone blocking the way while loading in, don't settle it with your fists. Come and get me or Mark and we will ask the guy blocking the way to move his vehicle. Both guys had some scrapes and bruises. This was our first fight in eight years of operating the show. I hope it is our last fight. Let's all get along! We are really just a bunch of geeks who collect sports cards. The last thing we should be doing is throwing punches! It is a card show! Let's have some fun. No need to fight!!
Next up was an injury in the kitchen. Ken, who cooks our delicious Sloppy Joe was recycling some hot oil during the show when some spilled onto the floor and he slipped in it and suffered burns to his back, arms and ankle. He went to the burn unit at the hospital for treatment. Mark said he is in good spirits. Hope he heels up in time to cook us Sloppy Joe for the March show! Ken, if you read this, we love you brother and hope you heal up and feel better soon!
I gotta say that back in 2014, when I started this show, I never imagined that I would be dealing with record attendance, dealers fighting and kitchen staff injuries. Man, oh man! This thing has grown into such a beast! I am now putting in anywhere from two to eight hours a day on this thing!!
My phone continues to ring off the hook along with receiving a large number of emails and Facebook messages. It is still really just me, even though my lovely wife Lisa provides amazing assistance during the show. But prior, it is just me dealing with everything. Folks don't need to call me five times in five minutes. I will respond to you! Please remember that I also have a very busy day job and cannot answer the phone at all times. It also may take a while for me to get to all the emails and Facebook messages. Please be patient. I will respond! I promise!
Now with a report on some of the busy work I participated in prior to the show: One of my main goals prior to each show is to eradicate the dealer no shows. Every single show, I have dealers who reserve space prior to the show but don't bother to show up on the actual day of the show. The most frustrating part is that even though I now have 180 tables, I still have a waiting list!! So there are folks who would like to set up but are blocked by these irresponsible a-holes who don't have the decency to call, text or message me if they can't make the show.
As a result, prior to the February 4 show, I put in a ton of time contacting dealers to confirm attendance. I was amazed at how many told me they were not attending. I had to hustle to replace them. Several dealers cancelled a day or two prior to the show which makes replacing them very difficult. Then there are the guys who cancel the morning of. I just have four-letter words for those guys. So it is an ongoing process of banning the irresponsible ones and adding new dealers and hoping they actually show up.
Along those lines, I believe the dealers that cancel or do not show up should pay me for their spot. I could have filled the space with someone else. Thus, in an effort to reduce cancellations and no-shows I am requiring all dealers to pre-pay for their space. The payment is non-refundable. Dealers, if you commit, you gotta show up!
I am not making the dealers do anything I don't do myself. As you know, I set up at tons of shows as a dealer. I always pay or at least offer to pay for my tables whether I show up or not. It is the right thing to do and I do not mind paying for the tables. I know all too well that the promoters still have to pay for the space whether dealers show up or not. Space is not cheap! Nobody is making big profits off these shows, especially me when considering the time I have to put in to manage this thing now. It is really not worth it but I am a glutton for punishment.
Of course, any dealer that gives me at least a week notice, is no longer responsible for the spot. It is those dealers that don't give me much or any time to replace them that must pay.
I gotta deal with all kinds. I have one guy, who has no-showed me three times now. He's done. This past show, he called me five times on the Friday before the show. I could not answer my phone because I was at work. When I finally answered, he asked for space. I just had a dealer cancel so I gave knucklehead the space. Later that night, I went to the Salvation Army to set up. I spent six hours setting up the 180 spaces. Knucklehead calls and cancels. Ugh! Why did you call me all day long seeking space only to cancel later that night?
Lisa said that she sees how I stress out in the week leading up to the show but when the show gets going, she watches it all melt away. Admittedly, I have a lot of fun at the show. With Lisa's help and with dealers pre-paying, I can spend more time at my tables which is why I created this show in the first place -- to set up and buy and sell some cards!
I really did have a great time at this past show. I did a display case set up. My first in Oak Creek in quite a while. Both Lisa and I were amazed at the interest in our higher end cards. Our sales were excellent! Thank you everybody who purchased cards from us!! I have to admit that my favorite customer of the day was 12-year-old CJ, who knew something about every old-time player in my display cases. I was so impressed and had so much fun chatting with CJ and his dad, who purchased a 1966 Topps Hank Aaron. Thanks guys!!
Also, impressive were some of the new dealers. One who had a $27K box of Pokémon cards on their tables. In total, they had more than $100K in product on their tables.
As a vintage dealer and collector, I pride myself in having more vintage dealers than just about any other show around. I really appreciate the compliments from vintage collectors. One collector drove on down from Green Bay and was so incredibly happy with the number of vintage dealers and huge amount of vintage cards available at the show. I love the joy and smiles.
Thankfully, no thefts to report this month. Though, one dealer from last month, realized he had some cards stolen at the January show. Please be on the lookout for the stolen cards pictured below.
On the buying front, I was a little gitty with my purchases of a T205 Chief Bender and a 1933 Goudey Lefty Grove. These cards just walked up. Initially the sellers wanted to trade, but as you know, I don't like to trade and was able to work out cash deals for the cards. Also, dealer JR Sports had my 1971 Topps Roberto Clemente I needed to complete my '71 set. Thanks JR! JR also sent over a guy selling his childhood collection of 1971 Topps Coins which I purchased. Thanks again JR! I also picked up a bag of 1964 Topps Coins. I am a big fan of the '64 and '71 coins but not the '89 Coins, please keep those away!
We had a lot of first-time customers and first-time dealers who just raved about this show. Hearing all the compliments helps ease my frustrations with operating the event. I really appreciate all the kind words.
I went from frustrated to happy by the end of the day. I was soooo tired on the way home. Lisa, my daughter Tabby, and I went out for Chinese food, once home. Afterwards, I passed out. I am still recovering. I am not as young as I used to be and the show takes a lot out of me.
No rest for the weary. I need to respond to all the messages and figure out my dealer roster for the March 4 show.
Again, thank you everybody. As I stated earlier, I set up at a ton of shows and the Oak Creek show is easily the most successful of them all which I attribute to you! Thanks for your support. Let's have some more fun at the March 4th show... just no fighting and no injuries, please!
Next up for me as a dealer is the Rockford show on February 11. I still get contacted by folks looking to rent tables at the Rockford show and others. I can only provide dealer space at the Oak Creek show which is the only show I manage. You need to contact the promoters at these other shows for space, not me!
Anyway, I plan on bringing out binders to Rockford. If you saw some star cards in my display cases in Oak Creek and you want me to bring them to Rockford, please let me know.
Happy collecting everybody!
Pictured below are the cards stolen from dealer Noah Vernau at the January show. Please, keep a look out!