Well, in case you were wondering why there has been a paucity of Ramblings the last few days, the reason is good but something I hopefully will never put myself through again: three shows in eight days.
I ran our twice a year Adat Chaverim Brotherhood fundraiser show just six days before running our monthly show at the Southfork Hotel. I have a newfound respect for those promoters who run shows on a constant basis like my good friend Gary Sipos who promotes about 20 shows at the Garfield Boys and Girls Club each year and James of the Awesome Collectibles Show here in Texas, who is usually running some sort of collectible event just about every weekend. There is a lot of time and effort involved, which most of us never realize, and running them regularly is very time-consuming.
I’m glad to report our “Plano IV” show was our best yet and proceeds will help send some local kids to a great summer camp. At another show where I was manning a table the following week, one vendor popped up and said: “That’s my favorite local show, consider me available for EVERY show there and I’ll be working with you on giving you more donations.”
I love hearing that as a promoter, especially when it’s for charity. The show isn’t huge, but we continue to work on making it a little bigger and a little better each time.
We’re always looking for auction and giveaway donations and amazingly, we’ve already got a nice stockpile for the next show. My good friend Mike Mowrey has already provided us with more than 15,000 cards most of which are minor stars or better and combined with other items still in our ‘prize closet’, we well on our way to another successful event on March 6 of next year.
Another theme I like to pontificate on is how important that pre-show work is to a promoter. We are fortunate
that our friends at Beckett Radio, led by Derek Ficken, are very gracious about allowing us to promote the Adat Chaverim show. The person who won the Mike Trout signed baseball we gave away said he found out about the show because he is a regular customer of Top Shelf Breaks, which followed me on that radio show. As it developed, the collector lived in Arlington, heard there was a show within an hour and decided to drive up. That’s why I always stress for all promoters to do as much as possible to get the word out. One never knows where customers are going to come from. I always ask people how they learned of the show so I know which promotional efforts work best.
The following week it was back to the Southfork Hotel, where I’ve been co-promoting a regular show for several months now. We had former Dallas Cowboy Kenny Gant as our autograph guest. He was great with collectors and has one of the best looking autographs you will ever see. It’s nice to see a player take such pride in what he signs and people do notice. We have Wally Moon lined up for October and Joe Bob Isbell (1960s Cowboys) for November. Sometimes hiring a guest who has a quality autograph is almost as good as bringing in a current ‘big name’ who scribbles illegibly.
We are looking for another November guest and for the rest of this year and into 2016 as well. We already have our dates listed in the Beckett Show Calendar, another free and easy tool that is a great help to anyone promoting a local event.
One of our dealers at Southfork was Matt Charlton. On the off-chance that last name sounds familiar it’s because his dad was Tom Charlton of Sports Collectibles of Austin who was one of the leading Texas dealers for many years. The stories Matt has told about growing up in the hobby were great and we will feature some of them in future Ramblings. He definitely kept me laughing. The inventory he displayed was impressive and just the tip of the iceberg for what he has. Having great dealers with a top-notch selection of cards will keep collectors coming back and if you can recruit them successfully, it’s a big win for your show’s reputation.
The day after Southfork, I set up at the Awesome Sports Collectible show which although technically noted as Fort Worth but really is just north of Arlington. While the room was small, there were two televisions. One advantage of the amenities of a modern hotel was being able to keep an eye on sporting events even during a show. That was also true at the old Dallas Card Show when held at Craig Ranch. If a show is busy, it helps keep collectors in the room who want to keep tabs on the games and if the show is slow…well… it gives all the vendors something to do. Don’t be afraid to ask what the hotel is willing to do for your show to make things more pleasant—from the standpoint of conveniences or perhaps posting your event on their social media channels. Remember you’re their guest, too. Like having a couple of volunteers to help dealers and make sure all is running smoothly, those little conveniences can leave a good impression on everyone and make them more apt to return.
And yes, when I was driving home around 4 PM on Sunday afternoon I realized I finally hit the “wall” and realized that type of schedule was a bit much for anyone.