Wow, just wow! What a crowd!! Big turn out for the Dave Robinson signing at my monthly card show in Oak Creek. A huge thank you to Dave Robinson for coming to the show and to Nicholas Parsons and Midwest Sports Buffet for bringing Dave in. Dave signed my 1972 Topps football card that I picked up last weekend in Cincinnati. It is a great addition to my autograph collection!
I was crazy busy the week leading up to the show trying to deal with my real job and the loads of phone calls, texts and emails for the Sal show. I had to turn away 10 or so dealers because the Salvation Army does not have additional tables to accommodate them. As I stated in the past, I am slowly donating tables to the Sal and I will probably be able to add more dealers soon. I had 33 dealers and 64 tables for the December 7th show.
A few dealers have stated that they don't want to see additional dealers in the room. What do you guys think? I, myself, am split. On the one hand, I am just one person and trying to handle 33 dealers and hundreds of customers and watch my tables is very difficult. Plus, if I add more tables, we will lose some space in the room. Right now I think everything is comfortably spaced out. Though, I think I could add a couple of tables in front of the stage without tightening things too much.
On the other hand, I hate to turn dealers away. I appreciate that so many guys want to set up at my show. I also think from a customer's point of view, the more dealers and variety the better.
For now, I think I will add two or three more tables in front of the stage, if necessary. There was a buzz and electricity in the room Saturday with so many dealers and with Dave Robinson. As busy as I was trying to manage everything, I had a lot of fun and the day flew by. A huge thank you to my brother Jon for helping me out. Jon is a high school track and cross country coach and I won't be able to get his help again until the track season ends in June. I could really use some help. I may give my tables away and just give out free packs of cards because it is really difficult to man my tables during the show.
Though, I had an excellent day selling cards. I sold a ton of stuff! Thank you to everyone who bought cards from me on Saturday! Sorry, I could not spend more time with you and I appreciate everyone being so nice to Jon.
I recently talked about price. One of the easiest ways to increase sales is to lower your prices. Another way to increase sales is to communicate with the customers. Say hello to everyone who walks by. Ask them if they need assistance. Ask if there are certain cards they are looking for. Make business cards with your telephone number and email and create a dialogue post- and pre- show. Before the show Saturday, dozens of guys emailed and texted me asking for certain binders and certain cards. I had several good sales lined up before the show even started. Also, talk to other dealers and learn what works for them. In talking with the dealers who were most successful Saturday, to a man, they had lined up sales before the show. One dealer had some customers come to his house on Friday to pick up cards and they came to the show Saturday to pay him for those cards.
Another tip is to promote yourself! Hey, write a blog!!! Sports card collectors know me in every freakin' corner of the country because of this blog. Create a Facebook page. Send out email blasts. Create a flyer. Get the word out as to who you are and what you sell and where you sell.
I market myself like crazy. Not just for sports cards but for my real job as an attorney. As a sports card dealer, I need customers, so I try to get the word out as to where I am setting up. As an attorney, I need clients, so I try to get the word out as to what services I provide. You have to market yourself! For example, I had the Sal show on Saturday, then on Sunday I had my suit on and appeared before a crowd at a church in Bartlett, Illinois, to discuss personal injury law. Afterwards, I signed up a bunch of new clients. You must market yourself!
I suppose I could do a little more to help market the dealers that set up at my show. I was thinking today that I need to put my skills as a former newspaper reporter to good use and create a bio section on this website for each dealer that sets up at my show. Along those lines, any dealers reading this, please type up some info about yourself and send it to me and I'll create a dealer bio page. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. This should be fun!
There are so many great dealers that set up at my show. I was incredibly impressed with the selection of cards in the room on Saturday. Here are my observations of Saturday's dealers:
Jerry had a display case filled with 1952 Bowman football cards. Next to the National Chicles, I think the '52 Bowmans are the toughest football cards to obtain. Roger had all sorts of new wax on his tables. I purchased another box of 2019 Heritage for my pack giveaway. Set up next to Roger was Craig, who had sold out half of his table. I was impressed to say the least.
Set up next to me was Larry Larsen, the resident superstar dealer. Larry always has tremendous deals on his tables of both vintage and modern cards. Next to Larry was Derrick with an excellent selection of modern cards. Next to Derrick was Bart, also with an amazing selection of modern cards.
Set up behind me was Gary, with a tremendous selection of vintage cards. Gary always has a great display of graded cards. Next to Gary was Bill N., who has a terrific selection of PSA authenticated autograph cards. He also has a variety of vintage. I purchased some Topps Trios basketball from Bill. Next to Bill was Tim, who had an absolutely amazing selection of pre-War cards. He had a stack of 1915 Cracker Jacks. Yes, a stack! I purchased several.
Across from Tom, we had Steve, who came up from Illinois. Steve is a former show promoter and currently a wax dealer. I used to set up at his shows about 20 years ago. At the Sal, he had a tremendous selection of wax and supplies. I purchased a box of 2016 Donruss baseball for my giveaway. Next to Steve was Ryan, who was one of the dealers I initially turned away. Ryan begged and begged for some space so I told him to show up at 9 a.m. in case I had any no shows. I had a no show, so I was able to give a table to Ryan.
Dave was on the other side of Ryan. He had a nice selection of vintage and modern. I was eyeing a Greg Maddux autographed card he advised was autographed in person. I ended up buying a 1969 Topps Ernie Banks from Dave. Next to Dave was Mark, another Illinois dealer. Mark has a tremendous selection of vintage cards. I purchased some vintage hockey. We only get to have Mark during the winter because he works as a golf pro in the warmer months. Next to Mark was Tom and Anita, who are so friendly and so pleasant, I enjoy every minute with them. They owned a card shop in Madison for decades, so you can imagine their inventory. They also have an outstanding national reputation and are known all over the country from when they were regulars at the National Convention. On Saturday, I picked up a box of 2019 Heritage Minor Leaguers from Tom and Anita for my giveaway.
Behind Tom and Anita, in the next row, were new dealers Rob and Katie. They mostly had modern cards with some vintage sprinkled in. I hope they had a good day and come back again! Bill Stocks was next to Rob and Katie. Bill has a great selection of both modern and vintage. He is always kind enough to unload a whole bunch of vintage on me. Thanks Bill! I also got to meet Bill's mother on Saturday, a wonderfully sweet lady.
Next to Bill was Andrew Weaver who is more of a museum curator than a sports card dealer. I say this because Andrew has a table filled with museum pieces. He had two Babe Ruth autographs, two Ty Cobb autographs, Walter Johnson auto, Kid Gleason auto, two Jackie Robinson autos and an autographed home plate by Joe DiMaggio. Andrew also wins the enthusiasm award. He does not care if he sells anything, he enjoys showing his pieces and talking about them. For example, I enjoyed hearing the tale of an amazing booklet I observed on his table, pictured below, that contained autographed photos from a high school tournament held in the 1940's. In the booklet were autographed photos of the likes of Babe Ruth, Carl Hubbell and Mel Ott. He also had a photo of these Hall-of-Famers posing with the high school kids along with a roster of high school players from the event. Amazingly cool stuff!
Next to Nick, was my fellow Bears fan, Dan, who like Nick, myself and a host of other guys, come up from Illinois for the show. Dan always has a great selection of modern cards. Next to Dan was Dave K. who always has a unique selection of modern and vintage. I purchased a box of 2019 Topps from Dave for my giveaway.
Across from Dave was legendary Milwaukee show promoter and vintage dealer PJ, who probably has more vintage singles than anyone in town. Next to PJ was newcomer Brian from Illinois. Brian specializes in Donald Trump novelty cards. Yes, you heard it, Donald Trump novelty cards. He says they sell great. I should pick some up for my good friend Mark Smith. Edited to add that I am just joking! Mark is NOT a fan of Trump.
Next to Brian was Harry and Matt who have a tremendous selection of vintage and modern. I always enjoy looking at their stuff because I know I'll see some things that nobody else in the room has on their tables.
Last but not least is Mike, who has both vintage and modern. What caught my eye Saturday were two stacks of T206s on Mike's tables. Awesome stuff. Looks like I have the start to my bios on these folks. I am going to get to work. If any of my regular blog readers have anything they want to add about these dealers, let me know but be NICE!
I appreciate these folks so much along with all my regular show attendees. When I get home and my wife asks me about the show, I always tell her it was like being a child and having a birthday party. All I need is a cake and to blow out some candles!
I have another nice pull to report from my pack giveaway. Make Mahan's son pulled an autographed card of Chris Taylor, a pretty good outfielder for the Dodgers. The card is pictured below.
I would also like to quickly talk about John, our resident artist. He draws images of Wisconsin sports heroes. He brought a few to show me Saturday, pictured below.
I just completed my first year at the Salvation Army, I could never have dreamed of it going so well. You all know the trouble I had with the Four Points Sheraton. As bad as things were with the Four Points Sheraton (and they were bad because the Four Points Sheraton sucks!) they are completely opposite with the Salvation Army and a lot of that has to do with the Sal's superstar Mark Lewis. I love that freakin' guy!
So, I am skipping January and won't have a show at the Sal until February 1. It seems like a lot of folks are disappointed that I won't have a January show but I desperately need a break. I have reserved 10 months with the Sal for 2020. The show will run on the first Saturday of every month except for January and July.
There is no rest for the weary, I am setting up next week at Gonzaga Hall. Speaking of Gonzaga, I heard a lot of comments comparing my show to Gonzaga. I absolutely LOVE the Gonzaga show and am in no way attempting to usurp any of the Gonzaga thunder. In fact, I set up as a dealer at all of the Gonzaga shows. Keith, who runs the Gonzaga show, has been so helpful in offering advice for my show and allowing me to promote my show at Gonzaga and on his Facebook page. Keith is a prince among men and the Gonzaga show is a Milwaukee treasure. Please come out Sunday and support the Gonzaga show!!
Pictured below are some more of the awesome items from Andew's table at the show Saturday.