That 6 a.m. alarm clock was not as difficult as Saturday's 5 a.m. It was nice waking up in this big old cushy hotel bed with a pile of pillows. I slowly got ready then Dave got ready and then we loaded our gear out of the Sheraton in Madison and into Dave's car. I fit my stuff in a little better this morning than yesterday. I think I have the hang of this set up.
I was hoping to stop for breakfast but Dave wanted to get to the show. It was about a half-hour drive from Madison to Janesville, which is located just south on I90. The conference center was part of a Holiday Inn and easy to find as it was right next to the highway.
Wow! Beautiful room. I think there were more than 100 tables in there and I felt a buzz of excitement as I loaded in using a cart provided by promoters John and Mike. Dave and I were set up next to each other which made things easy for us. Across from us was Bill Brown and Ray Stoner. Next to Bill and Ray was Jesse, the promoter of the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, show I attended last month. Jesse is a real nice guy and it was nice to see him. He told me about his upcoming shows. I just might attend one again.
Behind me was Phil and Skip's buddy, I forget his name. He is a great guy and a character to boot. He said he lives near Janesville. Then to our side was a dealer from Dixon, Illinois, who I saw yesterday set up in Madison. He recommended I set up in Des Moines. He said the Des Moines shows are phenomenal. I have thought about setting up in Des Moines but can't get past the five-hour drive.
On the eats beat was Dave who found some food in the hotel lobby while I was setting up. He brought me a much-needed cup of coffee. That Dave is alright! He said he stormed the hotel breakfast buffet and had a plate of scrambled eggs. I stopped loading my display cases and wandered into the lobby and took a plate of sausages from the breakfast buffet. Oh, those were some horrible sausages but I needed food and wolfed them down. As a diabetic, I don't get any energy unless I eat. It is hard for me to do much of anything in the morning without food.
It was much easier to finish setting up with those crummy sausages in my belly along with a nice hot cup of coffee. I pretty much had the same set up as yesterday in Madison. I normally don't like to have the same set up at two different shows but there was not much I could do being a few hours from home.
So I had some concerns prior to this show. One, was having that same set up as yesterday. Two, I was worried that attendance would be dismal because I started to think that most of the same people probably attended Madison yesterday.
To my surprise and delight, attendance was excellent. It may have been better attended than the Madison show. I only saw one customer in Janesville that was in Madison, everyone else was new! Though, I did see many of my regular Madison customers, who skipped Madison Saturday for Janesville on Sunday. I can only assume they live closer to Janesville. There were also some of my Rockford regulars in attendance and they do not normally travel to Madison, so this was kind of a win-win for me.
Sales were steady. My first customer of the day was a guy I see everywhere from Orland to Rockford. He purchased a bunch of stuff. One of my Rockford regulars purchased my 1959 Topps Bart Starr. His son came back later and purchased some more football cards. These guys have known me for a while and know that I have a large football inventory but did not bring it out this weekend, and they let me hear it. Next time I'll bring more football. I promise!
One of my Madison regulars picked out some 1957 Topps for his set. He had an early 1990's Stadium Club Derek Jeter and asked me about it. I know absolutely nothing about cards from the 1990's -- too new for me. I sent him over to Scotty P. He came back again later and bought more cards. Thank you!
A new customer found a 1933 Goudey common for his set. Another new customer purchased some 1950 Bowman baseball. One of my Rockford regulars purchased some early Bowman baseball as well. A new customer purchased some 1955 Bowman baseball. Another new customer purchased my 1959 Topps Warren Spahn. One of my Madison regulars purchased a bunch of early Bowman Cubs for his Cubs sets.
A dealer I met at the Root River show purchased my 1966 Topps Pete Rose. A lot of folks asked for Hank Aaron. I have observed that Aaron cards have become much more popular these past several years. I cannot keep them in stock! I sold a 1967 Topps Harmon Killebrew to another new customer. Another new customer purchased my 1971 Topps Steve Garvey rookie.
Well, that is about all I can remember from my sales. Overall, the numbers did not come close to Madison where a dealer dropped some serious cash at my table. Yet, I was very happy with my sales which were about at my Rockford average. I was expecting to sell a lot less so I was pleasantly surprised at just about every aspect of this show from the great room, nice attendance, and decent sales.
Another tremendous bonus was that out in the hallway was a full bar with lunch boxes available for purchase. I went out there regularly for coffee then switched to diet Coke as the day progressed. I also grabbed a lunch box and enjoyed a ham & turkey sandwich, chips and a cookie. It also helped that the female bartender was very pretty and smelled nice.
On the buying front, I had the regular kids try to sell me cards. I would buy from them if they ever had any vintage. A lot of the kids do not understand that there are two different types of dealers, vintage and modern. Of course, some dealers do both, but I am strictly vintage.
Later, a guy brought over a box of 1986 Topps baseball. They were nice. Looked like vending but I do not deal in any cards that new. Besides, I actually have vending boxes of 1986 Topps sitting at home that I can't sell and do not need any more.
Then a guy came over with some really great post-War vintage. Mantles, Jackie's, Musials, Aarons and the like. Unfortunately, he did not have a price for anything. I hate making offers on cards. Sellers usually get offended with my offers and walk away so I always try to get them to give me a price -- that way, maybe we can work out a deal instead of them walking off in a huff. I gave the guy my card. He said he will contact me. We'll see. I am not holding my breath.
This was the first time I spent a day in Janesville. I have driven through this town many times. The only person I have ever known from Janesville is Terry Hatch, who told me there hadn't been a show in Janesville in 40 years. Wow! I saw first hand that Janesville can certainly support large card show.
This was an excellent card show! John and Mike worked their butts off and it showed. Mike told me yesterday in Madison that he and John had been coming to the conference center every day since mid-week to make sure all the tables were set up properly. There were still some issues. They were tweaking the room up until midnight on the night before the show. They also conducted a trade night in the room after the Madison show.
I could tell on Saturday that John and Mike were tired. It was nice to see them enjoying a few Bloody Mary's during the show. They should be proud because they pulled off an excellent show. This may have been the best first show I have ever attended. I normally avoid first shows and like to wait for a show to get established before I set up. However, I have known John and Mike a while now and know that if anybody can pull off a great first show, it is those guys! Well done!!
The next Janesville show is on July 3 and I will be there! I will probably bring binders to that one. It is always nice to add another excellent show into the mix!
Coming up next is my Oak Creek show on Saturday, June 4. Once again, I will have 77 vendors and 122 tables. Vendor tables are sold out. I have been able to knock out a large number of folks from my waiting list. Though, I have to say that I am amazed at the number of waiting list vendors that do not respond when I contact them. I just got an email from a waiting list vendor I contacted back in March. I had tables for him back in April but not now. He wants tables for August but I told him I took him off the list when he did not bother to respond in March. I am not sure if I want to place him back on the waiting list. It is so time consuming to go down that waiting list and never receive a response from many of those I took the time to contact.
My waiting list is an ever-evolving and never-ending list. I added a few more guys this past weekend. I will have nine new dealers at the Oak Creek show on Saturday. I can't wait to see what they bring!
Reminder to dealers is that set up does not begin until 8 a.m. It takes me a while to organize the tables and place all of the dealer name cards on the tables, so I really need you folks to stay away until 8 a.m. Thank you! See you Saturday!
Oh, I'm bringing binders. My 1975 Topps baseball binder has been reloaded along with 1988-89 Fleer basketball. I am working on reloading my 1975 Topps Minis binder but am not sure if I will have it completed by Saturday. If not, I'll have it out in Rockford on June 11.
A huge thank you to John and Mike for putting on an excellent show in Janesville. Another huge thank you to everyone who bought cards from me in Janesville. I also just can't say enough about my friend Dave McDonald, who answered my call for help after my car broke down last weekend. I am so lucky to have friends like you and Dave! I feel like George Bailey sometimes. It is a wonderful life!!