Klein’s Korner: Celebrating the Smaller Card Shows – Recently I saw a very nice blog post defending smaller hotel card shows and their advantages. I believe in both big shows as I set up back in the day as a dealer at Gloria Rothstein shows and attended many of them in my Beckett days when we traveled extensively. I also believe in smaller shows as a promoter and as an attendee and both types of shows can and should be beneficial to the hobby.
What are some of the advantages of bigger shows? Well, among them are they usually have autograph guests, a bigger advertising budget to reach out to the wider market and more reasons for the “corporates” of the hobby to attend. Let’s be honest, it’s much easier to convince the bigger entities to attend when you have more vendors and hopefully more customers in the room. In addition, the bigger the show the more varied the merchandise will likely be. You will probably draw from a wider geographical range and also draw customers from the same wider range.
Now the major disadvantage for both collectors and dealers is, of course, the cost to be there. Since the venues are either bigger in size or importance the cost is much higher and gets passed on to everyone from the promoters to the dealers to the collectors. All of these are valid reasons for concern. As a note, when I used to stay at my parents home in New Jersey before going to the White Plains show I had costs of $3-4 in tolls, $3-4 for the Tappan Zee Bridge; $3 for the quarters needed for the parking meters and $10 to get in the door. Yes, that’s $20 or more before I even looked at a card. And for those people complaining about the National, guess what — it’s comparable if you want to walk, especially in Chicago, to attend that show than the East Coast National or any other show in White Plains. In 2017, I believe the MTA was $5 to park for the day in their lot and the admission fee is about $15 or so. Yep, the National done right is actually still one of the best bargains in collecting. Of course, the volume of material at a big show is usually outstanding.
How does this compare to the smaller hotel type shows? I say hotel type shows because both shows I run (Adat Chaverim and the Comfort Inn) have approximately 40 tables in the room. As a promoter I like that amount of tables because the dealer volume is manageable and even with all the places I post and our mailing list, it keeps the room to a size where collectors feel comfortable. I only charge $1 for either of my shows and frankly at the Comfort Inn the reason I charge to get in is not what for the reason you think. The real reason I charge the dollar at the door is two fold. The first reason is that the measly dollar makes everyone think they have skin in the game. The second reason is the dollar helps me keep track of the total attendance.
Here is a photo of me with the GTS banner. I put out the GTS banner at my two-day shows and/or my Adat show:
And one of the hidden secrets of my 40-table shows as well as Kyle Robertson’s Frisco shows is with the right group of dealers, we’ll have a very wide range of material. You’d be surprised how many people realize how good the cards are at the show and how varied the merchandise is. Before he moved to Kansas, we had a dealer who carried 2 cent boxes with him and people would be at his table all day. We also have dealers who have brought complete 50’s-60’s sets worth thousands of dollars for sale at their tables.
And there is one other advantage of hotel type shows. In many cases, the dealers who set up are not full time vendors but do this as a hobby. In looking over the list I created for the Adat show (I have to be real careful at that one) I have 3 full time vendors out of the 13 who are probably setting up. At a big show the percent is probably the reverse of that. The best thing about having weekend warriors or collectors/dealers setting up is they are usually more responsive to accepting more reasonable prices on their merchandise.
So either way, if you are lucky enough to have a local show in your area please go and spread the word.
For more from Rich, follow him on Twitter @sabrgeek.
P.S. A reminder for all concerned, our next Adat Chaverim charity show will be Sunday, September 2nd from 10A-4P and Monday September 3rd from 11A-3P of Labor Day weekend. In the words of Dr. James Beckett: “I think Plano has the most collector-friendly show in the history of the hobby. If you go…to Rich Klein’s Adat Synagogue show, I promise you you’ll walk out with more than you came in with. For a dollar, you’re going to have to back up your truck. I guess I can say that’s the other show I go to besides the National.” Adat is located at 6300 Independence Parkway (In the shopping center at the northeast corner of Spring Creek and Independence) Plano, TX 75023.
Klein’s Korner: Celebrating the Smaller Card Shows
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