Once at the hotel, I had to scramble to get additional tables into the room. We had six new dealers for this show and I needed to get 8 more tables. The manager at the Clarion Jeff is a superstar. He helped me get the tables, more chairs, and some tablecloths. Those tables are solid wood and heavy! I'm sore today from carrying those things. So after a bit of a scramble we had the room set up. It was the larger Mitchell Room and once the tables were set up I thought the room looked pretty good. I then went and placed signs all over the hotel to alert folks we were in the Mitchell Room. My set up was slow as usual.
I had my first customer arrive while I was loading my stuff into the room. He spent hours with my 1968 binder and hit it pretty hard. He also left his umbrella at my table which I will keep in my car and hopefully return to him at our November 8 show at the Clarion. I was pretty busy all day. A large number of my regular guys were there. Mark purchased all sorts of stuff including some 1962 Post Cereal. Jim and Jeff purchased a bunch of stuff. Jason purchased a 1957 Topps Don Drysdale rookie. Then Bill made my day by purchasing a "tray" of cards including a 1954 Topps Ted Williams. Thanks Bill! Tim came up to Milwaukee from my neck of the woods and purchased a bunch of cards. Thanks Tim! A bunch more guys that I regularly see at the Gonzaga show purchased cards. I had one customer who drove up from Oak Lawn, Illinois, to attend the show! Then I had all sorts of new customers who came in from our ad in the Milwaukee Journal. Many people cut out the ad and brought it in. I initially wanted to run a radio ad but Mark convinced me to go with a print ad.
I really hate to say anything nice about Mark but he does posses an infinite wisdom. It was Mark's idea to place the words "Free Appraisals" in the ad. All sorts of people came to the show with cards and autographed items looking to find out the value. One customer brought in an old baseball autographed by Grover Cleveland Alexander -- it was cool!! See photo below. I was able to purchase a nice group of 1971 Topps football cards from someone who came in to get the cards appraised. Willie was able to purchase a tough Thurman Munson autograph. I also realized that we have an unmatched level of expertise in that room and we can offer highly professional appraisals of cards and autographs.
My only mistake with the ad was not placing a phone number in there. My world in 2014 is digital and I forget that a large number of folks are not wired in. So the next ad will have Mark's phone number. Another piece of wisdom from Mark is that I can't be as cheap with the tables as I would like to be because our costs are high between the room and the advertising. So in an attempt to come close to breaking even, we are going to charge $25 per table. All dealers that have been setting up with us and continue to do so will get the two for $25 rate. Once a dealer misses a show, though, he's up to the $25 per table rate. Mark and I were in a bit of hole after the show for the room costs and advertising. The advertising definitely worked and brought a lot more people into the show. Based on that success, we want to run an ad before each and every show, so I don't think dealers will mind paying a little more to help cover the advertising costs. It is a win win for everybody.
We had a tremendous group of dealers on this day -- Roger Beahr, Willie Shabas, Jim & Scott Ziegert, Nelson Rodriguez, Bill Nest, Ken Schaefer, Vintage Jerry, Mike Johnson, Mark Smith, Tom Risen and myself. There was an amazing inventory in that room. I picked up a pretty cool 1948 Leaf Luke Appling from Tom. Most dealers reported good sales. I think we're on to something here. I had quite a few customers thank me for putting on the show. I think there is a definite need for a Saturday show in Milwaukee. Mark and I plan on running the show indefinitely. Mark your calendars because our next one is coming up fast on November 8.
After the show, Mark, Willie and I went over to the Nite Owl Ice Cream Parlour & Sandwich Shop for the best hamburgers around. Unfortunately, the Nite Owl closes up for the winter and we're going to have to find a new place to dine after the show. My drive home was easy. I stopped off at a Starbucks at the Lake Forest Oasis so I could have a little pep going over to my neighbor's house for a BBQ. Once I got home and unloaded my car, I went straight to the BBQ. My neighbor Wade grilled up some steak that I didn't touch. I couldn't get past the vat of brats he had cooking in beer and onions. Oh my, that was good stuff. Wade is from Green Bay and has that Wisconsin touch when it comes to making bratwurst. I don't think a better brat was cooked and eaten in Illinois on that day. I left the BBQ around 9 p.m. and crashed hard. It was good to sleep.
This coming Sunday (October 26), I am setting up at the Indian Lakes Resort in Bloomingdale. I am finally going to load up some 1975-76 Topps basketball that I have been hoarding for a while. I also hope to get some new cards priced for my display cases. If anybody is looking for particular cards, give me a holler and I'll bring them out to Bloomingdale. I can't thank everyone enough who set up and attended the Smith & Gordon show this month. You guys rule! Thank you!!!
Pictured below are some photos from the show.