I had a long day of work on Friday, the day before the Rockford show, where I attended a real estate closing in Downtown Chicago. I have been attending court regularly in Downtown via Zoom. I don't think I have actually set foot in the Loop in two years. So I was not certain as to how long it would take to drive down there and whether my regular discounted parking garage is still discounted. Back in the day, I would simply take public transportation to get Downtown but with this Pandemic thing, I do not feel comfortable taking public transport.
I made it Downtown in just under an hour which is really good time. I arrived at the closing before my clients. Sometimes real estate closings can be complicated especially with certain lenders who just seem to want to make a simple process very difficult. This turned out to be one of my easiest closings in a long time.
Getting home, however, was very difficult. It took me an hour to drive from the parking garage to the highway, normally, a five-minute drive. I literally sat on the ramp to the Kennedy Expressway for an hour. Pictured below is my lovely view of the ramp. Luckily, my discounted parking garage was still discounted.
Kind of an ugly drive with scattered bursts of snow but I did not get lost like last month. I arrived at the Rock Church at approximately 8:45 a.m. It was nice to see other late arrivals.
John the promoter let me pick out my tables and I chose two 8-footers next to my pals Phil and Skip, which is the best part of this show setting up next to these guys and reminiscing about all the past shows we've done together and all the characters we've seen come and go.
The young dealer set up next to me, on the other side, had pinched some of my space, lame move. There was a little space between me and Skip so I moved my tables over so lame guy's stuff would hang off his table and not cover my table.
I observed that John rearranged the layout of the room in an effort to fit more tables. There was a packed house of dealers. I'm not sure how many but at least 30, if not 40. One thing I noticed about a large number of these dealers is that they leave themselves open to theft. The young couple set up across from me had a stack of cards near the end of their table priced at $60 each. I was amazed nobody walked off with them. Then I observed that the majority of dealers across the room left the lids of their display cases up, which makes it very easy for someone to reach in there and walk away with a card. I was surprised at how lax these guys were. Unfortunately, I think a lot of them will learn the hard way.
Most of the dealers in the room were selling modern cards. I was the only dealer that was solely vintage. My pal Reed was set up with a display case or two of some vintage beauties but I did not see much else.
Last month I brought out display cases and filled them largely with vintage football. Sales were a little slow. This month I decided to bring out all of my binders. I was a little worried before the show because last month it did not seem there were many vintage buyers in the room.
Man, was a wrong! I was busy all day long with many vintage set builders. I think I discovered something for this show, I need to just bring out my binders and leave the display cases at home. I more than doubled my sales over last month.
There was as really nice crowd as well. Many more people than last month. Kudos to John for doing such an excellent job at promoting this show!
On the buying front, Phil and Skip had a bunch of stuff for me including some graded and raw Exhibit cards. Thanks guys!
I also met Phil and Skip's friend Gunther who is quite a character. He is building some early 1980's sets. I kind of regret telling him that I would help him fill his sets. I have the cards but they are buried in the card bunker. It will be a pain to find them and pull the cards.
Overall, I was really pleased with my day and am looking forward to being a regular dealer at this show. The next one is December 11 and I am bringing out the binders again. I'm hoping to have 1977 football and 1959 baseball binders reloaded by then.
A big THANK YOU to everyone who purchased cards from me in Rockford! That sure was fun!
Below are a couple more photos from the Rockford show.