Last Saturday, I joined a few sports card dealers on the North Texas circuit and set up at a regional toy show that also promoted itself as a sports card show. One reason we all chose to set up was the table rates were so reasonable that it would be frankly hard to lose money if we tried. Believe it or not, some didn’t and I didn’t exactly rake in the cash. However, as with any show there were always positives and negatives.
The promoter, a person I used to work with at Beckett, did a great job getting the word out. I would say in the four hours the show was open, 75-100 people came through the doors, which is a decent crowd at smaller shows these days. In addition, the room was laid out several days in advance and a photo was sent out to all the dealers. The set up was perfectly fine and there was plenty of room for everyone.
However, I only saw two baseball card people in attendance. One was Scott Brockleman, co-owner of B&L Auctions, who was going to be looking into a Hot Wheels deal since that was part of his childhood and he wanted to branch out from baseball cards to other collectibles. Since there were several Hot Wheels dealers there he gave himself a crash course on them. The other was a local collector who brought his two daughters to look at toys. They bought some toys, dad got some cards and all went home happy. The only serious sports memorabilia customers who stopped at my table were Chicago Bulls collectors. And yes, they were of the age of following Michael Jordan while he was younger and this small sample size does confirm MJ’s popularity remains to this day.
The show had a $2 admission fee and at smaller shows, this is always something I question. If you raise the dealer tables by $5 per, which would still keep the table prices very low, and drop the admission charge, the promoters would actually generate more income for themselves and be able to promote the show as free of charge. When customers know the show is small, sometimes that $2 per person fee is enough to keep families away.
The mall is a sprawling facility and more signs outside to direct collectors to the show’s exact location would have been helpful.
The other aspect was the promoter went around when collecting money and asked for door prizes and said that was traditional because of the cheap tables. Now, I don't know about you, but if I had known in advance I would have brought something to giveaway as a door prize. If you are going to ask for door prizes, do so in advance. I think only one of the four card vendors gave anything and I suspect that was the reason why.
My other comment was the timing of the door prizes, which were given away at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., and noon. Almost immediately after the final door prizes, the show basically shut down. I'm a big fan of door prizes but in my opinion you want to keep collectors in the building as long as possible.
All of these are minor issues and I think this show can improve with a few tweaks like these.
Next on the docket
Speaking of free admission, the wandering Dallas Card Show returns on Sunday April 27. The show has yet another new location, the Holiday Inn Dallas – Richardson. . This is a different hotel in the same general area where Jimmy of Awesome Card Shows had been running his shows. His next event is scheduled for May 18 at the Doubletree Hotel, near the Galleria in Dallas. I swear I cannot keep up with all these changes. We will have reviews of both shows in upcoming Rich’s Ramblings.
Plano Show date set
And finally, I'm pleased to announce we will have our next Plano Card Show on August 31 at Adat Chaverim. When I attended services last Friday Night, I swear that half the people I spoke to asked me “when is the next show?” Everyone in the temple was so supportive and I was very encouraged to hear such approval from our members. Our goal was to see how the first show went and if the event went well to move to two shows a year. Since we doubled our goal on the first show last month, the no-brainer decision to move to twice a year has been approved.
We will have two shows a year at Adat Chaverim with one being the first spring break weekend and the second the Sunday of Labor Day weekend. Some say that isn’t the best time for a show but it’s when the social hall is available to us and it’s also true that some folks are bored on the last holiday weekend of the summer and will be looking for something to do. Please save the date in your calendar if you’re within driving distance.
One good lesson I received from long-time dealer friend Mark Macrae, who has forgotten more about this business then I will ever know, is that two of these shows a year should be the max and that’s advice we’re taking for now. Mark, as well as long-time New Jersey dealer Gary Sipos, were both very helpful in sharing great ideas heading into our first show.
I received some very good takeaways on the first event, all of which were minor in nature. We will improve our signage outside the building and have a big sign on our door as well. Some said the location (in a strip mall) was a bit hard to find.
We already have commitments for 10 tables for Plano II and others who want to contribute in some other way. Within 10 minutes of a simple Facebook post, Leighton Sheldon of Just Collect had already told me they’d be sending a door prize and Bill Sutherland of Beckett said they would be involved in some way. Every collector who pays the suggested donation will be able to receive a free graded card courtesy of Bill. I looked at some of them over the weekend and there are some nice cards in that stack!
Again, our primary goal is to raise funds to help kids go to summer camp. We, of course, appreciate all the help and door prizes in advance and as a non-profit can provide you a tax sheet for your accounting purposes. The hours of the show will remain 9 AM to 4 PM and suggested $1 donation and the $25 dealer tables will remain the same for this event. I'm excited to be doing this again and helping our community by performing a good deed while doing something I love. Contact me at the email address below if you'd like to participate.