November 5, 2007

Dear Members and Exhibitors,

In twenty-five years of producing gun shows my experience learned is that things they are a’ changing.  Shows used to be fun and profitable, now it seems some time you can make some money or pick up an item or two but most of the fun has gone.  Laws have changed to make gun dealing more time consuming and candidly, even harder to do business or enhance one’s collection – or even to get rid of it.  I have always tried new things for the business, tried making shows comfortable as well as profitable and with Cathy’s help have succeeded at Saratoga, it’s a very nice show.

But even nice shows can finish last if any of those newly proposed gun ban laws are put in place.  It seems that every month brings forth some proposal to ban guns, ammo or even shows.  Syracuse and Albany could be gone with a writ of the Governor’s pen.  State property is not the proper place for guns, you realize.  Our show in Saratoga is stable but with a play on words even the horse stables could empty out if our Governor and Legislature don’t correct those pending problems soon.  Over one thousand horse breeders have left the state this year alone.  Saratoga without horses is like, well – Saratoga without gun shows.  No one knows what the future brings.

To make our terrible hobby and pernicious business dealings palatable to the masses of liberalism within our state, we now call our gun shows, Arms Fairs, sounds so much more pleasing.  After twenty-four years in Saratoga, we now want to make our Arms Fair into a Convention of Arms Collectors.  Conventions have power when they come to a city – gun shows breed scorn.  That’s just the way life in today’s world is, boys and girls, you and I must adjust or go and sleep with the dinosaurs.  Here is what I want you to do for me and for our hobby and business in peril. 

Enclosed you will find our NEACA Member Application; we need to create more numbers and all of you recipients of this letter are the keys to success.  Most of you are already members, if you need to renew, please do so.  Give the application to a friend and sign him or her up.  It’s a good deal; our standard annual fee is a paltry $25.00.  Coming to four shows in Saratoga alone is now $32.00 for one day each.  With membership you can come both days, each show, for FREE.  Plus, come Friday evening during setup and get free food and drink, four different times and come in early Saturday and Sunday with no waiting in line.  If that isn’t enough you get in free to all our other shows.  And for this member promotion, we’re going to waive the $5.00 initial process fee if you sign up now before our next show on December 22 & 23.  Need more incentive, first time ever, save another $5.00 and sign up for two years for $45.00 – no process fee.  Does your wife wait in the car while you check out the show because she won’t pay $8.00 admission?  For $8.00 more per year, you can add a spouse to your membership.  You can’t beat our deal with a stick!  Send it in today so we can show the cities we go into our strength in numbers.  Prior members, we want you back!  For some reason you stopped paying your dues, we need you to start again, same deal.  Renewing members, same deal!  Do it today. 

We have just scheduled two new shows in the rehabilitated area of Utica, N.Y. at the Utica Memorial Auditorium.  Our last show there was nearly 18 years ago, none since.  Great gun and hunting country and we can fit about 300 eight-foot tables.  Fliers will be in our next mailing but mark these two dates on your calendar, April 4, 5, 6 and August 22, 23, 24, 2008.   There is easy level loading, good lighting, plenty of free public parking and we’ll have reasonable table rent.  I am excited to be back, we always had some fine shows there.  One interesting but sad note, our last show there we had eighty gun dealers; all but about ten are gone.  See how these shows have changed.  Exhibiting then and still with us are the Hartman brothers, Gary Schultheis, John Shattuck, Tony Fidd, John Gunderson, Joe Marino, Roland Fraser, Everett Lester and Cathy and I.  All were members; most still do our shows but about 70 do shows in Heaven or not at all. 

Enough calamity, we also hope to see those same old timers at our rejuvenated Utica shows.  But we also need the old, the new and the returning members and exhibitors to sign up for our new Arms Fair on December 21, 22, 23 – next month at Saratoga.  We had a December show seven years ago and it went very well.  This new one will become a tradition because we are also hosting our First Annual Arms Convention & Christmas Party, next door to the City Center in The Hotel at Saratoga, in their carpeted Ballroom, Saturday December 22.

We reduced our table prices for this show by $5.00 each and obtained a great rate at this premium hotel, for $69.00 a night.  Members and exhibitors must mention the NEACA Christmas Party or Arms Fair to register.  The rate is good for Friday, Saturday or Sunday evenings or any combination.  Call 518-584-4000 for reservations immediately, rate will be honored through Thanksgiving weekend.  Don’t wait, rate is regularly upwards of $125.00.

The reason you need to stay at this hotel for this time period is so you can also enjoy our Convention Dinner, Party & Auction on Saturday night and we will be using hotel rooms.  It is so cheap you can’t afford not to stay, we’ll have a breakfast buffet laid out on Sunday morning.  Sorry, it won’t be free this year but who knows what the future will bring. 

As for our Convention, we have just received our printed tickets for the evening festivities.  Drinks will be available at 6:00 PM in the reception area as well as registration and Auction viewing.  Large round tables will seat 8 so we have plenty of elbowroom, you may plan accordingly for space.  Dinner will be served consisting of a specialized chicken dish with trimmings.  Event tickets are $35.00 each and include a special drawing portion and also a door prize portion, deposit those in the appropriate area.  Call us for tickets, membership is not required but a head count is needed several days prior to the show, 518-664-9743 or 518-664-7610, leave a message if no one is available.  We will accept all credit cards for membership, tickets or table rent by phone as is usual, again, prior to the show. 

We’ll have at least a 20-item bucket drawing, tickets available at the dinner.  Also 20 items for a silent auction to be bid on by posting name and bid to a sheet, also a regular auction of around 50 guns or collectibles after dinner.  We will also have a few raffles benefiting the Friends of NRA.  I haven’t decided on a speaker or MC yet, if at all, or haven’t firmed up a visit from Santa but we’ll see.  In any event we will have fun.  You may also bring children if so desired and I will follow up on a special dish for age 10 or under, call me if you need to.  Also looking into a baby sitter for a group of children in our hospitality room at the Hotel.  Santa will come right after dinner, if you wish to arrange for special gifts, call us.  If you want to put an item in the auction or silent auction table you may do so for a $10.00 fee, call me before hand.  Gun transfers have to go through a dealer and I will also do them for buyers or sellers in need for $10.00.

I know this show is very close to Christmas, next year it will be a bit better and we will work toward a week earlier.  But this date was the only one we could get, the Hotel is giving us a super deal on rooms and best they could on the meal.  It is certainly not the best date but it is our only chance to try something new and get established as a Convention.  At these facilities, including the City Center, Conventions have preference over Trade Shows, which means our show dates can be bumped by a Convention date.  I am trying to put us on a par with the rest of the world.  To do this we really, really need your help.  You need to think hard on why you can’t possibly take tables on this show date.  Why you can’t save money on becoming a member and why you couldn’t possibly have an enjoyable time on Saturday evening, December 22nd and help our Gun Collecting Cause at the same time.  Gun control should be the ability to hit your target.

This letter is long but we have a lot happening now and in the future, all can only come to fruition with your help.  Arms Fairs or Gun Shows, as they are now, could become an endangered activity.  I hope new ideas will save them.


Dave Petronis,

Pres., NEACA, Inc