As a lover of sports cards and card shows, I gotta say that this is the best show around. I am not just giving myself a pat on the back but I attend a TON of shows and there is no other show quite like the Oak Creek show. I do not think there is a monthly show in the country as large as this show. There is no other monthly show with our attendance. There definitely is no other show in the country with the variety here -- modern, tons of vintage, Pokémon, wax, supplies, autographs, publications, memorabilia -- all here and in great depth!
I purposely limit each dealer to two tables max, that way I can provide more dealers than any monthly card show -- 130 dealers! We're not talking tables, we're talking 130 different dealers!! You can't find that anywhere else but Oak Creek!
I also have something here in Oak Creek that even those mega shows across the country don't have -- the personal touch of a life-long sports card collector. There are no showy corporate booths here. No mega-star autograph guests. Just people, large amounts of people, that come together every single month for the love sports cards and non-sports cards. There is a definite buzz, a joy and excitement that I see nowhere else!
Speaking of mega shows like the National, I attend every National, including just about all of the Nationals ever held in Chicago, going back to 1983. From 1983 on, the only thing I ever wanted to see at the National was sports cards. Everything else is clutter. Currently, the sports card dealers are getting pushed out of the National in favor of corporate booths and crap... but not in Oak Creek where we have everything I have ever wanted in a card show -- vintage sports cards! I appreciate everything else that is sold at the show but I freaking love vintage sports cards and we rival most mega shows with the number of vintage sports card dealers we have here.
In addition, the greatest thing about the Oak Creek show is that it all came about organically. I never planned for this and never expected this. I started with a few guys nearly nine years ago and more folks latched on steadily until it grew into this amazing event. I can't even pat myself on the back if I wanted to because I am only partially responsible. This amazing show is the result of all the dealers who set up every month and all the customers who regularly attend. You guys rule!!!
As the show has grown, it is still largely just me hustling to get everything done. As usual, I spent a lot of time working on the show during the week prior to the event on March 4. Tons of calls, texts, Facebook messages. Two dealers cancelled the day before the show because they said they had COVID -- this seems to happen every month. I contacted about a dozen folks on my wait list and was able to fill the spots. I still have a large wait list!!
There were several no-shows on the day of the show, which always drives me nuts. Why can't people call me, email, text, Facebook message and let me know they are not coming? I could have pulled more people off the wait list!
I know that there will be no shows, so I try to overbook the show and was able to fill some of the spots that way. Also, I wait until the morning of the show to give myself a spot, taking one of the no-show spots. This month, I was able to get a spot in the gym. Woot! Who knows where I will be next month.
Lisa helped me set up Friday night and we were able to shed an hour off my normal set up time. It only took five hours, instead of the usual six. Thank you Lisa! Since we did not have to go home after set up, we spent the night nearby at the Homewood Suites Hotel. I've stayed at this hotel a good four or five times in the past and the cost was never more than $100 for the night. This time, I was charged $200! Lisa figured we would search for another hotel but I was too tired and just dropped the cash. I meant to Priceline it prior but I got too busy. Next month, I'm hitting Priceline and probably will not be staying at the Homewood Suites ever again.
Though, it sure was nice sleeping in a bit because the Homewood Suites is located just a few minutes away from the Salvation Army. I looked for TV camaras when we arrived around 7:15 a.m. because Fox 6 said they were going to be there and do a piece for their morning show. No Fox 6. Apparently, they chose a craft fair in Waukesha over us. Their loss because we had quite an event with 970 people through the door! We're so close to 1,000!!! Come on! Let's hit 1,000 for April!!!
We did get some media coverage as Ross Forman from Sports Collectors Digest attended and interviewed me and Scotty P. He already posted his story here: https://hubs.li/Q01FqmRV0. Ross may post some additional feature stories on several of our dealers that he interviewed at the show Saturday. Thank you Ross!
The morning of the show is always a bit chaotic for me with new dealers needing assistance in finding their spots. I am also trying to get all of the dealers to prepay me for their space prior to every show. It is just a cluster$%#@ trying to collect table fee from 130 dealers during the show. A good number prepaid and a larger number came over to my tables to pay. I need to get more to prepay and more to pay me first thing in the morning. Attention Dealers! Please prepay for your space. You can send PayPal, friends & family, to email@example.com. Those that don't have PayPal can send me a check or money order to Anthony B. Gordon, 201 E. Dundee Road, Suite 2, Palatine, IL 60074.
Lisa ran and got us our Sloppy Joes around 9 a.m. -- the best breakfast!
Sales were consistent at my tables, when I was there. I know I sold some cards to two of my favorites, Craig and Doreen. Thanks guys! A younger collector, who I believe used to set up at the show and whose name escapes me, purchased a nice pile of 1962 Topps baseball. I know I sold more stuff, but I just can't remember. Too much going on. I know I sold cards to quite a few new customers who I don't recall seeing before.
When I wasn't at the table, Lisa said she did not sell much. Our sales were much better last month. I might do a hybrid set up next time with binders and display cases.
On the buying front, not nearly as good as last month but I did pick up a 1963 Topps Tony Oliva Rookie PSA 6 from Jimmy C., who gave me a nice deal. Thanks Jim!
Then I met Matt from Minnesota, who every vintage dealer talked about when he last visited us at the January show. He pulled out a T206 Cy Young with an Old Mill back. At first, I thought he wanted to sell the card but he told me he just wanted to show it off. Then he pulled out a bunch more amazing cards including 1933 Goudeys Tris Speaker, Babe Ruth and Dizzy Dean. He had a 1910 Sporting Life Ty Cobb, a 1939 Play Ball Joe Dimaggio, a 1934 Diamond Stars Jimmie Foxx and Hank Greenberg among a host of others. Cool stuff! See photos below.
It was a pretty great day until several dealers came running to get me as one dealer caught a kid stealing. I ran to get our undercover police officer Tom and we questioned the kid. He admitted to stealing. He returned the cards he stole to the dealer who caught him -- Terry. I appreciate Terry's vigilance in catching the thief! I also recovered a small pile of stolen cards and was able to return most of them to several other dealers.
We tried to call the thief's parents but they would not pick up the phone. My guess is the kid gave us fake phone numbers. Later, I figured out that he was with his two younger brothers. I pulled them aside and was able to have one call his mother. I told mom we found her 13-year-old son stealing, asked that she come pick him up and to never bring him back to the show.
At first she was a little combative but by the time she arrived she was embarrassed and apologized.
Now I am wondering if I should allow parents to leave their kids at the show unaccompanied. My dad used to drop me off at shows when I was 12. I never considered stealing and I don't know any other kids from back then that stole. We were into cards and purchased them happily. I always had a game plan in my youth when attending a show. I knew how much money I had and tried to make that money go as far as it could. I checked out all of the dealer tables, took notes on pricing and spent my money with the dealers that had the cheapest prices. This was in 1978, so I could pick up Hall-of-Famers for a song. I had so much fun at those shows!!
I know kids are having fun at my show but it seems to be kids that are stealing. So I have to think about this one. I don't want to discourage kids from attending but I have to put an end to the thefts.
I am happy to report that there was no fighting amongst dealers this month. The two guys involved last month really regret it and have moved on.
Overall, another great Oak Creek show. I really appreciate all of the dealers, customers, Salvation Army staff and volunteers, and Officer Tom. Thank you everybody!!
Next Oak Creek show is scheduled for April 1, 2023. Once again, I have already sold out 180 tables -- hopefully, everybody shows up! To be added to my wait list, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
No rest for the weary! I'm setting up at two shows next weekend with Bridgeview on Saturday, March 11; and Orland on Sunday, March 12. Hope to see you next weekend!!
There is only so much I can say about the Oak Creek show. See it for yourself with the photo essay below of the five different rooms at the show -- the Front Hallway, the Chapel, the Game Room, Fellowship Hall and the Gym. Be sure to visit all five rooms at the April 1 show!
Look at this spectacle!!!