Last weekend, I was the local show coordinator for a first-time show at the Southfork Hotel in Texas. Formerly known as the Harvey Hotel, the Southfork is a nice facility which, thanks to postcard shows held there twice a year, is very familiar with having these type of events. And yes, the hotel suites are all named after characters in the ‘Dallas’ TV series as it is a sister property to the famous Southfork Ranch. They have several different size meeting rooms which fit just about every need and there is also plenty of parking. All that plus a location on the Central Expressway frontage road makes this a very nice place to have a show.
I’ve mentioned before that the show circuit in Dallas seems to be growing. No one’s getting rich since most of the events are small, but if promoted well, the metro area is certainly big enough to support at least one or two shows per month.
We worked hard on getting the word out with flyers at the two major card shops nearest the show, putting classified ads into the Dallas Morning News and posting on Craigslist, Facebook and Twitter. In addition, I posted on five hobby forums and we made sure we were listed in Beckett’s online show calendar, which seemed to be quite effective.
The first part of the day was to go to the hotel just to look around and see how the room was set up. I got there at 6:45 a.m., even though set-up didn’t start until 8 but one of the dealers had already arrived. We got the hotel staff to open the room and we were very pleased by seeing that venue had wall tables for all dealers and plenty of room. That guaranteed no one would worry about back-up space or any of those issues. Because I was not totally sure of the room, I had actually undersold by one table the room but that’s not a major issue at all.
One dealer ran a bit late but by the 10 a.m. set up we were all ready to go. I was wondering what type of crowd we’d get. Frankly, I was doing my best to keep track and may have missed a person or two but my unofficial head count was 65 people in six hours. Not a huge turnout but for a first attempt in a new location, not bad and the key is that most seemed to be ready to spend.
About 20 of those attendees were kids, almost all of whom were actively looking through dealer tables having fun. To me, that was very rewarding. We made a decision when a mom came in with three kids not to charge for the kids and I’m glad we did not. We will continue not to charge for kids at our future show at that location.
I know at least one of the customers spent more than five hours at the show and bought a lot of items. While a couple of our dealers stated they didn’t do very well, most reported good to strong sales. Since I was monitoring the show from the front tables I asked some what they left with and I saw a Jerry Rice rookie card, many boxes of bulk cards and even an assortment of wax boxes a dealer had just put out that day. I would say that almost everyone who came in left with something for their collection.
My sales were pretty decent and I also picked up some real nice items from a regular customer with whom I often trade including an E92 Dockman of Bill Bergen, a 1937 Dixie Lids Joe Medwick, a 1947 Tip-Top Bread Joe Garagiola and some other fun cards. Now those pre-war cards are all in what we call ‘collectible’ condition but i’ts going to be fun to have items I have never had for sale before.
We also picked up some donations for our next Adat Chaverim show. One dealer was nice enough to give us a Johnny Lujack signed card as well as signed mini-helmet. We also picked up one lot for the show as a woman came in with her friend’s collection. I explained she would probably get about $10-15 for the cards and sure enough that was what offered inside. We discussed that a little more and I explained the option of the non-profit donation and she did agree with my logic. They’ll be part of the giveaway at the non-profit show I organize in Plano.
And yes, I was totally drained on Sunday morning when the alarm went off so I know we did our best to get the show promoted. In addition, we also have shows scheduled at the hotel for November 15 and December 13 and we are going to continue to make some adjustments as we grow.