There are a lot of ways I could go with this month's Oak Creek blog. I have decided to keep it largely positive and just touch upon the negative.
NEGATIVE ISSUE 1 -- Setting Up the Show & Dealers Arriving Too Early
I had a real tough morning because the building was not ready when I arrived, thus, I was not ready when the dealers arrived. I hope to rectify this stuff before next show. One of my biggest issues is dealers arriving before the official set up time of 8 a.m. If any dealers are reading this blog, please DO NOT ARRIVE PRIOR TO 8 A.M.! It takes me a few hours in the morning to get the building ready for 130 tables and 90 dealers. I really need you guys to stay out until 8 a.m.!!
NEGATIVE ISSUE 2 -- THEFT
We were hit bad Saturday. Here are some of the cards that were stolen:
I tried to hire a retired Milwaukee police officer last year to work security but he blew me off. Then it seemed like the thefts died down. A few guys were hit at the August show. There were five or six guys hit at the September show.
Largely, we have a pretty great community of hobbyist who regularly set up and attend the Oak Creek show. A few scumbags are starting to spoil things. I want to see these guys locked up so I have hired an off-duty police officer to work the October 1 show. I am going to see if I can get an on-duty uniformed police officer to attend as well. I am also looking into installing camaras. This stuff has got to stop!
I need your help as well! Please be on the lookout for thieves!! They are at the show. We need to be vigilant and I need everybody's help! Dealers, you guys got to keep your expensive cards locked in a display case. Please lock all of your display cases. Don't place any expensive cards out on your table that are not locked in a display case.
Report all thefts to me. Let's try to get some pictures and video of the thieves. Let's lock these guys up. They will be crying to mommy if we catch them and haul them out in cuffs!!
Also, please be on the lookout for the cards pictured above. Another dealer had a Justin Fields rookie stolen. I do not have a photo of that card. Then another dealer had a 1962 Topps Willie Mays stolen. Sucks!
NOW FOR THE POSITIVES
We had 555 people through the door and raised a nice amount of money for the Salvation Army between the entry fee and the concession stand. I can't thank you guys enough for your support. It is so rewarding to see so many people in attendance. The bulk of the folks had a good time. Many dealers reported excellent sales. Yet, many others reported sales were down.
My sales were up. I brought out all of the baseball binders and four or five football binders. I was swamped early on. Sales sort of dropped off in the afternoon but overall sales were up.
I gotta thank my pal Bruce, pictured below, who gifted me a 1968 Topps empty wax box. That was so cool! Thank you Bruce!!
Parents and grandparents regularly compliment me on the show and always say how much fun their family has at each show. I received a really cool message from my old friend Chuck, who I met at a card show more than 20 years ago, and who brought his granddaughter out to the show Saturday. See Chuck's message below:
I just wanted to let you know that in my opinion you have one of the finest group of dealers that you can find anywhere! As you know on Saturday Sept. 3rd, I brought my 8-year-old granddaughter, Anna, to the Oak Creek show.
This was Anna's first card show although she has accompanied me a couple of times to the local card store down here in Illinois. "Papa" thought it was time that she should see what a real card show was like, and what better show to start her off than Oak Creek?
Last Christmas, Anna asked that Santa bring her "Topps" and Santa delivered a load of football cards! Anna, like her dad, loves the KC Chiefs! (I've been trying to dissuade her from that but no such luck).
She has been interested in cards and has put together a nice little binder of her favorites and always wants to show me what she has put together when we see each other.
Now to the show! My wife, my daughter and I drove to the show on Saturday where we met my other daughter (WI resident) and the other two grandkids. (They all went next door to Target while we went to the "Sal".)
Well, as soon as we walked in one of your great dealers was giving Anna a pack of penny sleeves! It didn't stop there as dealer after dealer asked Anna about her favorite teams, favorite sport and her favorite player - Patrick Mahomes - of course! The dealers were clearly doing this out of a love for the hobby and seeing that a young girl had a great experience at the show! I know that there is an occasional "bad dude" in the hobby but the vast majority that I've encountered are great folks that love sports, enjoy collecting as a hobby or as a way to make a few bucks on the weekend. This was evidenced again on Saturday.
So many dealers took the time to speak with her and almost too many to mention gave her a card or two (even Mahomes cards!) a set of cards or even a pack! Thanks from the bottom of my heart!
The hobby is in good hands when I see so many folks and dealers looking to make the young collectors happy and keeping them engaged. This is a key for keeping this hobby alive and thriving! (I only wish that some of the card companies would realize this but that's another story.)
Anna waited until the very end to spend her allotted budget of $10-15 but she found a pack of cards that the dealer knocked down some for her and then threw in a baseball card pack! Thank you!
The great news for me is later that day when I asked Anna if she wanted to attend another show and she gave me a quick unequivocal "yes"! Thank you Tony and your dealers for making this such a great experience! (She also spent most of Saturday and Sunday arranging and rearranging her cards ha ha!) I don't know if she'll be a collector forever but I feel that she will have some great memories no matter what and that's one of the most important things you can have isn't it?
Thanks for bringing Anna to the show Chuck!! Hope to see you guys at the next one!!
I agree, I have the best dealers around!
Even with such great dealers, it is very stressful to operate this show. I now have 90 dealers to contend with along with other assorted issues mentioned above. I am going to remain positive because so many good things happen at each show. We make kids smile. We donate much needed funds to the Salvation Army. We generally have some fun and do some good.
Next Oak Creek show is Saturday, October 1, 2022. Former Brewer Bill Sharp will be signing autographs from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Autographs cost $10 each. Mail order is available. I need your items by the end of September. Mail your items and $10 to:
201 E. Dundee Road
Palatine, IL 60074
It was a double bill weekend. I was set up in Janesville on Sunday. Janesville blog coming soon. Next up is the show at the Rock Church in Rockford on Saturday, September 10, then the Woodfield Hyatt on Sunday, September 11.
A huge thank you to everyone who attended the Oak Creek show Saturday. The show has become a MUST-ATTEND event for anybody in the hobby who lives within a few hours from the show. Thank you!
Below are some photos from the September Oak Creek show: