April 10, 2006

Dear Members and Exhibitors,

I’ve said it before, I have to say it once more.  You had to be there to fully experience and understand why people tell me, “This is the best show in the northeast!” Of course, I’m referring to our Saratoga Springs, NY Arms Fair and in particular this past show in March.  As is usual, it was great.  Actually, it was a record breaker in overall attendance and in new memberships to New Eastcoast Arms Collectors Associates, NEACA, Inc.  Thank you, all.

It was our 62nd Gun and Militaria Show at the Saratoga City Center on uptown Broadway.  We reached the 250 eight foot table capacity several times with exhibitors for this show but with so many of our regulars that were either sick or injured or going to or from the hospital, we ended up with six empty tables on show day.  Cathy and I figured out that from last year’s show we had over eighty exhibitor tables that were not taken by them this year.  Most due to unforeseen circumstances, nine from the ultimate departure, thirty-one from going out of business or cutting back, fifteen from illness, seven due to other non-show conflicts, one to the Baltimore show and nineteen for reasons I don’t know.  But two for this show due to not showing up when they told me they wanted tables.  Now you know why we expect money two weeks prior to our shows.  If not for sickness of some of our regular dealers we would have had a nine-table overage and a waiting list.  We are going to call this another sell-out, eight out of nine in a row — last October opening day of hunting season show was the problem child.  That won’t happen again!

I only found three dealers who told me they didn’t do much business.  There is always someone who takes a hit, I’ve been there, but less than 3% of exhibitors not having a fine show is a pretty good record.  Our Saratoga Arms Fair also boasts having the most guns per show table ratio in the northeast, with quality and collectables high on the list of attributes.  And you thought running a show was just making a flier and collecting money, ‘eh?  A promoter also has to know why it goes good and why it didn’t work.  We analyze our shows and tweak the things we can.  We’ve learned much over the past twenty-four years of producing shows and it all comes from work and experience.

What’s nice to hear from dealers is, “great show,” or “best show I’ve had” or “here’s my deposit for same tables next show!”  But I’ve got to tell you something that some exhibitors don’t seem to realize – if we have to call you to find out whether you plan to grace us with your presence, we can’t use that time to do what we should be doing – promoting the show to new dealers and the buying public!  What we don’t want to hear from our exhibitors is, “I’ll check my schedule,”  “I’ll probably send you a check” or the best one is, “If you don’t conflict with my other shows …” Well guys, the way we see it is that for over twenty years we’ve been doing things right and paid all our dues many times over.  The late Rodney Daingerfield liked to say, “I get no respect”…at times we feel the same way.  This must change.

With constant sell-outs, record crowds, fine location, free food and drink for dealers on Friday evening and prestigious track record of doing the right things, we think it is time for a little more respect when it comes to putting up your hard earned money for our future shows.  Nearly half of our dealers put deposits down for our next shows and if the other half doesn’t think we are worth the effort then by all means we plan to seek new exhibitors who do.  We’ve held spots for the ungrateful, collected and held bad checks from the irresponsible and bent over backwards for the last minute unresponsible.  It is time things changed for the better so we can actually do our job as promoters and concentrate on getting more public and more buyers to our shows.  As dealers, do your job and send in the application enclosed – all we ask is a one-table deposit and balance of payment two weeks prior to the show if you want our member rate.  And fill it out with your current information and sign the reverse as our insurance now requires . 

We’ve had two really great years at our Saratoga Arms Fairs with sell-out shows and great attendance and we will continue to improve.  The City Center has been talking of expansion and presumably we will have larger shows.  We’d like to keep our quality dealers and old friends but business is business, do your part, we do ours.  ‘Nuff said!

Again in June we will have our Antique and Collector Arms Fair on Father’s Day but will close early on Sunday.  We have a lot of tables already deposited but as I said above …!  This year however, another Antique Show will not be against us like Manchester, NH was.  Should be another great show!  Then August we are back to our original first week end date – remember, there is no Albany summer show, which was just before ours.  Then on to October with our show just before hunting season so it should be fantastic!  It is a terrific line-up for Saratoga this year.

Our new event is at the Race Track in Monticello, flier enclosed for May 19, 20 and 21.  Even if you already sent in for this show, please fill out this updated application and sign the reverse.  We already have sixty or so tables committed from our February mailing, others have inquired and are waiting for this first mailing of our normal flier.  We only have a month to wrap it up so get your application in please.  Read the flier for motel and set-up info.  I want all dealers to set-up on Friday and we will be there from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM.  There is a lot of buzz out there about this show and we expect a huge public turnout.  Besides our own promotion and mailings the Raceway folks are sending their own post cards and doing other advertising different from ours.  If you need a motel room call the Days Inn now.

We’ve been out of the lower tier of NY State for a while and this is our reintroduction to the area.  As members, if you want VIP treatment at Monticello, go to the Valet entrance, pay the $2.00 to have your car parked and take the elevator to our show, otherwise there is plenty of free parking but a long walk.  We’ll allow members in Friday at 5:00 PM thru closing at 8:00 PM and as always, a half hour early before the doors open on Saturday and Sunday.  Any guns coming in must be covered or encased but please DO NOT wear concealed handguns because we cannot have guns on the Casino floor.  And dealers, if you want to go to the Casino or the Buffet Restaurant in the Casino, leave your handgun among your tables or leave it locked in your car.  We’ll also be giving out some discounts for the buffet.

Monticello has a Casino, just like the Saratoga Racino.  You can play till the cows come home but no guns on the floor; we will have a problem if you wear one.  The NYS Troopers have endorsed this gun show aspect but must insist on no concealed carry on the Casino floor.  When I first went there I told them I was carrying upon entry and they graciously locked my gun up for safe keeping until I left.  However, they have limited time and space so it is best to simply leave it in the car, with your tables or not wear it, a small consideration for being able to have this show there.

The future plans at Monticello include the building of a Convention Center along side the Casino.  This supposedly will happen if all goes well, within two years and if we develop a good overall rapport with the owners and have responsible and understanding exhibitors and public this can become the best show place in the Southern tier.  Nestled neatly in the corners of three states; NY, PA and NJ with a population of over twenty million people, we should be able to convince a few of them to come and buy our goodies.

To those of you, who like us do the right thing, we are grateful.  To those who we hope we have convinced to make our life simpler, easier and more productive by looking a little bit ahead, we welcome you again to our fine core of exhibitors and members.  To the people who read these messages and know the advantages there are to be found in these words we are pleased to offer them.  To you where this message falls on deaf ears, we are sorry for you and for our overall business, you may be part of the problem not part of the solution.  To you who know not, read not and do not care, we wish you a farewell.  And to you who always do the right thing, who consistently support our efforts, we need your continued help in seeking out good replacements for those no longer with us.

Thank you as always!

David and Cathy Petronis