Last month I had four no-shows and observed that I had space for at least four additional tables, so I started contacting dealers on my waiting list in early May. I was surprised by the number of dealers that did not respond at all after I contacted them. Why get on my waiting list if you don't want to set up at the show? Weird!
Then I had issues with several other dealers who did not want to bring their own tables. The venue only has 80 tables and I have space for 122, so I require all new dealers to bring their own tables. I eventually move them to a permanent table as time goes on but all new dealers need to bring their own tables or they can't set up at the show.
I always get some prima donnas when I inform them that they have to bring their own table. What is the big deal? I don't make any one do anything that I don't do myself -- including bringing my own tables.
This table thing is always an issue. It takes several months, usually, for someone to go from waiting list to setting up at the show. I had trouble with one guy several months ago who emphatically did not want to go on the waiting list and demanded a spot at the show. He told me about how important of a dealer he is and blah, blah, blah. I told him that everyone has to start on the waiting list because it is the fairest way. It would not be fair to the guys who have been on the waiting list for months if I let Mr. Important jump the list and set up.
So for the next several months, Mr. Important contacted me and demanded a spot at the show. I told him each time that he needed to be patient and I would eventually get him a spot in the show. I contacted him for the June show and informed him that he needed to bring his own table. Apparently, Mr. Important is too important to bring his own table and he declined the space. Really?
I had one other guy who declined because he had to bring his own table. Now, this guy, used to set up at the show but then no-showed me a few years ago and I dropped him. He begged and begged so I put him on the waiting list. His name came up for June and he, too, declined because he had to bring his own table. I just don't get it?
Another waiting list dealer got testy with me when I told him there is no fee reduction for bringing your own table. I know that I am the cheapest game in town. I charge just 25 bucks for a table whether you bring your own or not. I also bring in anywhere from 300 to 600 people each and every show. You can't get this deal anywhere else! Why fight with me? You would not believe the number of guys who fight me on this.
I should really raise my table fee. A couple of regular dealers have suggested I do so and that they would be willing to pay more to set up at the show. Mark from the Sal had a great suggestion that I charge $35 for eight-footers and keep the $25 for six-footers. The Sal has maybe 20 or 30 eight-footers while the rest are six footers.
I decided the fairest way to distribute the eight footers is to let the staff at the Sal set them up randomly. However, at each and every show some dealers complain that they did not receive eight-footers. Some have started to complain to Mark when the decision as to where the eight-footers go is mine. I like the way I have been doing it, I think it is fair. I might take Mark's suggestion and start charging more for the 8-footers.
Anyway, it took me a while to go down the waiting list and plug in some new dealers for the June show. I ended up with nine new dealers. I am always worried about whether the new dealers will actually show up. I am also always concerned as to whether they are going to be a pain in my butt.
All nine new guys showed up! They were also all extremely pleasant! Most were real appreciative and really enjoyed themselves. They are all coming back next month! I love when new dealers work out!!
I did have a couple minor issues. One dealer cancelled that morning because his wife went into labor. All I can say to that one is congrats mom and dad! Another dealer tried to reach me a week or so ago and I did not get a chance to call him back, so I was not surprised when he did not show up.
I had two guys not show up at all. No call, text, message. Nothing. They're out. I'm going to start adding more guys from the waiting list for the July 2nd show.
Then I flat out screwed up when I was distributing the name plates and figuring out where to place all the dealers prior to the show. I forgot to put someone on a pair of tables in the gym. I got to the venue at 5:30 a.m., after waking up at 4 a.m. I am just not fully functional at that hour. I also screwed up by failing to keep one of the doors open so my helper Paul Haney could get in. Paul stood outside for 45 minutes before I saw him jumping up and down in front of the glass doors in the parking lot. Sorry Paul! I do appreciate Paul's help!!!
I think I did end up with 80 dealers total in the building, my largest total to date! All the dealers that brought their own tables did a great job setting them up and leaving enough space for an aisle in front and space for the other dealers to set up on their backs and sides. Thank you!!
It is a cluster%$^& to set this up! I am literally running from the minute I get into the building until I finish and open the doors for the dealers. Oh, I gotta complain about one more prima donna. I tell all the dealers that the doors open for load in at 8 a.m. because I never know when I'll finish setting up in the morning. I can't have the dealers coming in to the building while I am setting up. So I leave the doors locked.
I had one new dealer cancel at the last minute because he said he needed more time to set up. What? I limit all the dealers to two tables max so I can fit more dealers into the show. It should not take more than an hour to load in and set up two tables. This guy is banned. Really?
Okay, those are all of my complaints/rants for the June show. The rest of the day went smoothly and was a lot of fun.
Sales kicked off strong at my tables. I brought out all of my baseball, football and hockey binders. After set up, Paul dug into those hockey binders. He also found a bunch of baseball cards for his sets. Thanks Paul! I mistakenly reported in my last Madison blog that Bruce purchased my '65 Maris. He only looked at it in Madison and made the purchase at the Oak Creek show. Thanks Bruce!
I brought out my 1962 Topps Baseball Wrapper for Steve, who made the purchase. Thanks Steve!
Dealer Tip: Get to know your customers and create a regular dialogue then you can go into the show knowing you are going to have a certain number of solid sales.
I had a number of dealers tell me their sales were off. We definitely had a decline in attendance from last month but we still had 375 people through the door. I was recently set up at show that had just 20 0r 30 people tops. With 375 customers in the building, there is no reason to have a bad show... unless you have lousy merchandise, your prices are too high or you just have a bad attitude.
We all have bad shows. You can't win every time! When I have a bad show, I plan to change my set up for the next one and bring some stuff out that might spur some sales.
Though, I have to say, none of the guys that reported poor sales were upset about it. They all seemed to have a good time, regardless -- which is the right attitude to have. Change it up for next month!
I had many dealers report excellent sales. Back at my tables, sales were excellent early on then cooled off. I appreciate everyone who bought cards from me! Thank you!!
I noticed that we had a real nice crowd in the front hallway, the Game Room and Fellowship Hall. The gym might have had the lightest crowd I have ever seen in there. I am wondering why the crowd did not seem to make it into the gym? Crowd flow has always been an issue for me at this show. With four different rooms it is tough to get all the customers to visit each dealer in each room.
Putting each show together then spending most of my time at the show as a manger, is extremely time consuming. I am not a fan of having to manage the show. I wish I could be at my tables all day! My young friends Rachel and Jason do an excellent job watching my tables for me while I am away. Jason gave me a great assist on a purchase. Someone showed up at my table with a shoe box of vintage. Jason pointed me out to the seller and he came across the room to where I was chatting with some dealers, I then purchased a nice stack of cards at a great price, including Schmidt and Brett rookies.
I also purchased a 1954 Topps Al Kaline rookie from Jim, who drove up from Indiana to set up at the show. Thanks Jim! Then I purchased a stack from Jim from Milwaukee that including a 1958 Topps multiplayer card with Aaron. Thanks other Jim!
We had a really solid group of dealers in June. As you know, I love the vintage. My show regularly has double, even triple, the number of vintage dealers, than any other show I attend. This large number of vintage dealers draws in more vintage set builders than any other show as well. One dealer, in town from Florida to visit family, was shocked when I told him the amount of set builders we have at this show. Jim from Indiana saw it first hand. Guys all day long were showing me the cool vintage cards they purchased from him.
There is so much variety at this show. I love all the Pokemon dealers. Nice guys. I don't understand it but I think it is cool that they are able to do so well. Sal, one of my newer dealers, told me his biggest seller was super hero cards from the 1990's -- a trend I have noticed.
Coolest thing I saw at the show was a giant bobble head of Giannis on Anthony Olivera's table.
On the food front, I started my morning off right with a Sloppy Joe for breakfast. Tasty!
Okay, time to name drop... My pal Paul Ponce drove up from the south suburbs of Chicago. I love this guy. We've been friends a long time. Last spring and summer I purchased his collection. He gave me a really nice price, but, I knew he would be back. He is one of the most knowledgeable card guys I know. He told me he just purchased a collection and is back! Ha! I knew it!! I am the big winner because now I get to hang out with him more often. Thanks for coming to the show Paul and for buying cards from me!!
It is always great to see my friends George and Christy. George bought some cards from me and we are trying to figure out a day to go to a White Sox game in Chicago. George is an Astros fan. He was the guy wearing an Altuve jersey at the show. We'll probably go to a Sox-Astros game.
Then there are my friends Doreen and Craig, who purchased a bunch of cards from me. They always make sure I get a Sloppy Joe. They are going to be traveling this summer so I won't see them until the fall. Safe travels!
I also saw my old friend Ryan at the show. I met Ryan years ago at the Fred Copp shows then would also see him at the Orland shows. Then he flat out disappeared. Nice to see you Ryan!
Then I saw Ron Zacker, who sold me his dad Rich's collection about seven years ago. Rich was a regular at the Gonzaga show. Ron brought his son out to Oak Creek this past weekend and told me his son now collects cards. Nice folks and it was great to see them.
Along with talking to customers, I always enjoy chatting with all the dealers. I thought about having Rachel and Jason collect table fee for me at future shows but then I would miss out getting to commiserate with all the dealers. I have such a good crew here! It wouldn't be an Oak Creek show if dealer Jeremy did not give me a hard time. Plus, I captured my monthly Jeremy photo.
Dealer Scott P. was under the weather. He told me Monday he was feeling better. I can relate to ongoing health issues with this dang diabetes.
Scotty Z. told me my helper Rachel was moving to her own apartment after the show. Scotty had a lot of dad concerns that I understand. We all think of our kids as babies but, in Scott's case, his baby girl has grown into an intelligent woman who will be just fine.
Someone asks me at every show whether Rachel is my daughter. I told Scott that I am just going to start telling everyone that she is my daughter. He said only if I want to pay her college tuition. So, please, everybody, make sure you know that Rachel is NOT my daughter.
Overall, a really nice day. I enjoyed getting to know Sal, who was set up next to me. I learned that he is a professor at DePaul University in Chicago. Cool stuff!
I had such a good time. Thank you everybody for all of your support! I get so many nice compliments about this blog. It is a nice outlet for me to rant and to write. I should have some interesting blogs coming up this summer as Dave and I head out to Atlantic City for the National.
In the meantime, my next Oak Creek show is on July 2. I thought a lot of my regular dealers would drop out for that one like last year but it looks like most of the regulars will be there. I will also have room for some new dealers, maybe five or six. Please respond if I contact you!
I am setting up Saturday, June 11, 2022, at the Rock Church in Rockford, then on Sunday in Orland Park. It will be a binder weekend. I brought out the '75 baseball binder newly reloaded to Oak Creek. One customer pointed out that the pages are tough to turn. I bought a brand new binder at Walmart that does not work very well. I'll try and find a new one before next weekend where I will also have my '75 Topps Minis binder newly reloaded.
Have a great week!