Once at the show I was greeted by more headaches. I am learning quickly that there are unavoidable headaches when promoting a show. This was our second show in a row with several dealer no-shows. No-shows are a nightmare for a promoter because they cost the promoter money and the customers are stuck walking into a room with empty tables. Last month Mark and I reserved the larger more expensive room at the hotel because we thought we had too many dealers for the small room. Turns out we had to eat the extra cost because two dealers backed out after we reserved the room and another just did not bother to show up. For the January 3rd show, we decided to keep the small room so we would not get stuck eating the extra cost for the large room. The week before the show we thought we had the room filled with dealers and started to turn new dealers away. Turns out one dealer learned he had to work at the last minute and another did not bother showing up. So we lost out on table fee for four tables that we could have had filled. I fully understand that things come up and sometimes dealers legitimately can't make the show -- like being called into to work. In those cases, I'll eat the extra cost, no worries. In the cases where a guy just does not show up, doesn't call, text or email, well that just plain sucks. If the dealer gave me a call, I would have been able to fill the table with another dealer and not lose money. We also can't properly plan for the show if dealers are going to back out or just flat out not show up. One remedy we are going to have to take is to make some dealers pay up front for their tables so if they don't bother to show we still have the table fee and don't have to dig deeper into our pockets to pay the hotel. Again, if a dealer has a legitimate reason for skipping the show, I don't have a problem with it as long as I receive a call, text or email.
Our plan for our February 28, 2015, show at the Clarion is to keep the small room. As I write this we are just about booked up with dealers and only have one table available. The first dealer to call/email gets that table and we won't take any new dealers. However, I will start a waiting list and if we get enough dealers to commit we will attempt to reserve the larger room. Though, I have to admit that I am not motivated to reserve that larger room unless I get some solid commitments from the dealers. If you book the show, you have to show up -- period. Dealers keep in mind that if you do not show up, you are hurting the show and costing the promoters money. End of rant.
There is a lot of time, effort and money that goes into promoting a card show. I promoted this last show with a great deal of flyers, listings in SCD, Beckett, Craigslist, and Facebook along with this website. Mark sends out multiple email blasts. I tried to negotiate a deal with the Milwaukee Journal for an ad but they are just too expensive. I might try the Journal again before the February 28th show. I think we had about the same amount of people walk into the show as last month. I would have liked a larger crowd but I think the weather may have scared off some folks. Weather aside, my sales were once again excellent. I have had terrific sales at each and every Smith & Gordon show. Mark, Scott Z. and Mike J. reported excellent sales as well. I can't say how happy I am to watch customers come into the room and buy, sell, trade cards and have a good time.
A huge thank you to my regular crew of Mark, Jeff, Jason, Jack, Robin and the others. You guys are the best!! Mark purchased some 1963 Fleer baseball and we got to talking about that set. Mark remembers buying those cards when he was a kid. I knew those cards came with a cookie, unlike the Topps cards that came with gum. Mark provided a few more details about those cookies that I did not know. He told me it was a cherry flavored cookie that tasted terrible. He did not like them and none of his friends liked them. Apparently, Fleer, which manufactured bubble gum, was unable to include a stick of gum with the cards because of legal issues with Topps. The management at Fleer felt they needed some sort of treat for kids so they opted for a cookie -- a very bad tasting cookie. I am a big fan of the 1963 Fleer baseball card set. I like the simple design and I think the player photos are sharper than the Topps photos. I think the 1963 Fleer Sandy Koufax is one of the sharpest looking cards from the decade. I currently don't have the Koufax but have owned it in the past. Hopefully, the Koufax makes its way to me in the near future.
I sold quite a few cards on this day. For the longest time I have been carting around two 1961 Topps Willie Mays cards. Both cards sold on this day. My newly reloaded 1973 Topps binder saw a lot of action. I sold quite a few cards out of my case. Bill picked up my 1953 Topps Jackie Robinson, 1954 Topps Ernie Banks rookie and a 1966 Topps Mickey Mantle. Quite a few other guys came out and pulled cards from my binders. Thanks guys! I always get my obligatory Braves collectors who seem to continually find Braves cards at my table.
On the buying front, I picked up a large pile of 1955 Bowman baseball. I'm getting ready to reload my 1950s binders and have been stock-piling cards. While my inventory is pretty good from 1951 through 1956, I still need cards from 1957 to 1959. I may try to pick up some sets and break them up for the binders.
Other than the frightening drive and the aggravation of no-show dealers, it turned out to be a real pleasant day. Nelson and I got to talking about Puerto Rican cuisine. I did not realize Nelson was from Puerto Rico and spends a lot of time visiting family there. Sounds like Nelson can cook up a storm. He had me drooling while he was talking about all the Puerto Rican style dishes he cooks up. My first apartment after high school was in the Wicker Park neighborhood in Chicago. At the time (1985), Wicker Park was largely made up of Puerto Rican families. The neighborhood had some tremendous Puerto Rican restaurants along with some great little grocery stores and butcher shops. Also, one of my roommates was Puerto Rican and his mother lived down the street and she used to whip us up some delicious meals. Needless to say, I am a big fan of Puerto Rican food. Actually, I am a big fan of all food. Milwaukee is a tremendous food town. Mark, Willie and I went back to the Aviator Bar & Grill after the show. I wanted to try something different this time and went with a pub burger which was pretty good. Willie and Mark went with the ribs. I'm eyeing the pulled pork sandwich for next month.
The drive home was a lot easier. The roads had cleared up nicely. I stopped off for gasoline in Milwaukee and was surprised that the price was the same as the Chicago area. I paid $1.98 a gallon which is what I have been seeing around my house. Usually gas is 10 to 15 cents cheaper in Milwaukee than Chicago. Though, I can't complain about $1.98 a gallon.
On Sunday, January 4, 2015, it was the Schaumburg Show. Once again we had some weather issues. The temperature dropped and it snowed all day long. The main road by my house was actually clear on this morning and I was able to determine whether I was driving in a lane or not. I made it to the Wyndham Garden in my usual 1/2 hour. The wind and cold made for a shivering load in. It seemed to snow steadily all day long which I think kept some customers away. My sales were down. I do appreciate the guys who came out. A big thank you to Dave, Bill, Eric, Chuck, Ron and the other guys who bought cards from me today. We are a dedicated few who won't allow a little weather to interfere with our hobby!
I am happy to say that Bill found the final card he needed to complete his 1973 Topps baseball set at my table. Bill also gave me a nice grouping of 1964 and 1966 Topps baseball cards in trade. Thanks Bill! Additionally, I purchased a 1964 Philadelphia Jim Brown and a 1973 Topps Mike Schmidt Rookie from Dave. Thanks Dave! Junior had a nice grouping of cards from the mid-1960s but I was out of cash. Mark picked up those puppies.
Dave and I had a nice conversation about the gum that came with the 1955 Bowman football cards. Dave remembered that the packs came with a large stick of gum, much larger than the gum Topps provided. Dave also said the gum had flavor, unlike the Topps gum which seemed to lose its flavor after a few chews. He told me that in his kitchen pantry he kept a large stack of gum he had pulled from those Bowman packs. I can only imagine.
After the show, Mark, Willie and I went over to Moretti's. I had a really good meatball sub. Mark and Willie went with the burgers and seemed to enjoy them. Another pleasant day. I had a really nice weekend and was sorry to see it end. Next week I am setting up at Corky's show at the Holiday Inn in Elgin on Saturday. The hotel is located at the Elgin/West Dundee border. It is real easy to get to, just off I90 and Route 31. I am hopeful that we have a nice crowd for that show. Corky promised to give me some better tables so I am not fighting that wall. Last time I only brought out my binders because of the wall. This time I will have a binder-display case combo. My binder reload project this week is 1973 Topps football. I also hope to price some cards for my display cases. I have been working on my cheapy boxes but I am not sure if I will have those ready by Saturday. On Sunday, January 11, 2014, I am setting up at the Indian Lakes Resort in Bloomingdale, Illinois. My last Bloomingdale show was really nice and I am looking forward to another great show. I hope the weather cooperates next weekend and everyone makes it out to both Elgin and Bloomingdale!! See you next weekend!!
One last note... I observed a lot of activity on this website as I write this blog. About 600 hits today! I really appreciate your interest and support. Thank you!!!