This was my first time setting up at the Oconomowoc show, sponsored by Lake Country Cards. Unique to this show is its late start time of 1 p.m. which allowed me to take a leisurely morning. My wife cooked up eggs, bacon and some coffee. I chilled at home until about 10:30 a.m. then hit the road for Oconomowoc. It took about an hour and twenty minutes to get there from my house in northern Illinois.
This was my first time in Oconomowoc. I have passed by Oconomowoc while driving on I94 but never stopped before -- big mistake! What a beautiful town!
Oconomowoc sits on a large lake and is filled with old Victorian buildings and a great old-timey Downtown. I definitely took notes because I am coming back to wander around. I saw quite a few restaurants I want to try.
The Cornerstone Pub is huge with three floors. There is a great shaded side patio along the alley that was filled with customers the minute I arrived and when I departed.
The card show is on the second floor. There was an elevator to take my stuff up and down. The second floor has two rooms and a hallway full of dealers. Lorena, who operates Lake County Cards with her husband Tim, treated me so well! She gave me Tim's usual spot next to the main staircase where most people arrived. This was an excellent location and included two six-footers and a four-footer. I had more than enough space!
I placed out six display cases and all of my basketball binders. With still more space available, I placed out a bunch of Exhibit cards. In the display cases, I placed out all of my 1970's baseball stars along with all of my football, basketball and hockey cards. I also had a little room left over so I placed out a few piles of graded cards.
Well, this was an absolutely beautiful summer day, so attendance was low with so many other activities going on. I observed that across the street and along the lakefront there were some bands playing and a bunch of food trucks -- looked like fun!
So, sales were down. I am not sure if this show attracts many vintage collectors. Looked like I was the only all-vintage dealer. My pal Scott Z. has quite a nice vintage inventory and he was set up in the main room. Ann Z. and her son were set up in the back room with a case or so of vintage.
It took a while to register a sale. I was getting nervous. My first sale was to a new customer who purchased a 1988-89 Fleer Michael Jordan. I have a ton of Jordan cards at home that I need to price and get out. I was regularly opening basketball wax during the late 1980's and throughout the 1990's, inspired by the success of Jordan and my hometown Chicago Bulls. However, for years afterwards, this stuff would not sell but there is definitely a demand for it now.
My next customer was Noah, who sets up at my show in Oak Creek, and he purchased my 1955 Bowman Chuck Badnarik. Then a long-time customer, whose name I always forget, sat down and pulled out a pile of 1971-72 Topps basketball. He told me he lives nearby in the town of Pewaukee which he said is very similar to Oconomowoc. So now I need to come back and check out both Pewaukee and Oconomowoc. He also told me he played basketball at Marquette in the early 1970's. I learn some neat stuff when shows are slow and there is time to chat! This was also my best sale of the day which I really appreciated.
Long-time customer Barry U. made an appearance and purchased my 1974 Topps O.J. Simpson. Barry told me he has completed all of the vintage Topps baseball sets and most of the vintage football sets. He just started working on 1970's football. It is always great to see Barry, who usually has an entertaining story for me. Thanks Barry!
Then my last sale of the day was to a customer I have seen elsewhere and he purchased a handful of 1971-72 basketball commons. Just not much doing on this day. I was hoping more of my regular Wisconsin customers would have attended the show, but no such luck.
I had a few guys low-ball me on some cards -- I was not interested in giving my cards away. One guy offered $300 for my 1956 Topps Jackie Robinson PSA 4. I had it priced at $600. One sold on eBay on June 19, 2023, for $679. I think my price is fair. I politely declined the awfully low offer.
I thought it was cool how dealer Eric U. set up earlier in the day in Madison then made it to Oconomowoc around 1 p.m. and set up here as well. I have always thought that this would be a great option for this show.
Another cool thing about this show is that the pub has waitresses working the second floor. It was awesome! I ordered a diet Coke early on and the pretty waitress kept it refilled all afternoon. I also ordered a burger that arrived lightning fast and was delicious. The burger and four or five Cokes only cost $13.
On the buying front, I picked up a small box of vintage cards from a guy I have known forever, but, of course, cannot remember his name. The best card in the box was a 1974-75 Topps Julius Irving.
Another guy stopped by with a box of 1952 Topps. I started to drool until he told me he brought them out for Tim. I directed him to Tim's table and told him I would be interested in them all if Tim did not want them. Apparently, Tim took them because the guy did not return. Bummer!
Speaking of Tim, I enjoyed chatting with him along with several others like Scotty P., who said the COVID boom is over and we are back to the old days. I could not agree more as three out of the four shows I have set up at during June have been very slow.
It was tough leaving Oconomowoc after the show. I really wanted to kick back, eat some BBQ from the food trucks and watch some bands as the sun dropped down over the lake. But duty calls and I had to head home to pick up my daughter who has been working in the mall by my house. With BBQ on my mind, the wife and I went over to City Barbecue near the mall and dined on smoked brisket until it was time to go pick up the girl.
On Sunday we trucked out to New Buffalo, Michigan, to spend Father's Day with my dad. We had more BBQ at one of my all-time favorite places -- Smokin' Woodies in Sawyer, Michigan. Woody used to have a couple of restaurants in Chicago. I've known him for a good 30 years or so and he is still as entertaining as ever!
Great weekend! Hope everyone had an excellent Father's Day!!
Next up for me is the show at the Lansing Mall, in Lansing, Michigan, on Saturday, June 24, 2023. I cannot remember the last time I was set up in Michigan. I used to truck out there regularly back in the day and set up in Holland, Grand Rapids and Jackson. This will be my first show in Lansing. It is a large show and I am hoping there will be some vintage collectors there, otherwise, it could be another long day.
Don't forget that the Oak Creek show is coming up on July 1, 2023. It is a rare occasion when I have dealer space available. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your space now!
Have a great week everybody!