March 26, 2008

Dear Members and Exhibitors,

We’ve put our 70th Saratoga Springs Arms Fair to bed and when the dust settled I could have slept for three days.  It was a very active show and although I made it a point to try and see the entire show, it was just impossible. But for this letter I wanted to give Dave a break and send you all my perspective of the show promotion business.

Just to give you a glimpse of the background of a March Saratoga Arms Fair, this is what goes on leading up to it.  This particular show a lot of things, including confirmations, were put off until the last minute.  We could see from our end the strain the economy was putting on people just because a lot of applications and payments didn’t come in until the last minute.  We understood what was happening but it didn’t make my job easier.

As most of you know, I have an income tax business.  Because of some things that Congress finalized late on Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) I couldn’t file some returns until the second week in February, which pushed some of my income tax business later that would normally have been finished in January.

I pride myself on doing a good job for my tax clients while at the same time, taking care of show business and advertising to make sure we give you dealers the great show you all deserve.  There are weekly newspapers and dailies plus websites that I list the shows on and press releases that go out to loads of papers, radio and TV stations.  There are radio scripts to check and update then an overall check of what advertising media is working and what is not.  The end of January we also began our mailing of thousands of post cards.  Over the years we have built up a data base of over 23,000 people.  A certain percentage comes back, some with corrections and some beyond the forwarding date. All this must be kept up to date and I’m the one who does that.  I also take care of member renewals and cards and you all know I’m not infallible with that chore.

Then comes the week of the show and it’s shopping for the menu for whatever we decide to make for the Friday evening preview and finally cooking it.  Denise usually helps with a lot of these things but she had the flu so it was impossible this time.  Some of you would probably be surprised at what a great cook Dave is.  He did help with the goulash this time as he did with hours of carving turkeys last fall.

Except for the first two days of that week, my income tax business is put on hold and everything is “Show Business” from the cooking, to packing and set up: then let the show begin.  You all know that experience and what I do there.  And now the Saratoga Show is history and things have settled a bit but there’s always the next show.

Which brings us to our first show in almost 20 years at the Utica Memorial Auditorium on April 4, 5 & 6.  It’s coming right along but we can always use more dealers for this large facility.  The caterers for the AUD are the same ones who run the restaurant at the Syracuse Fair Grounds Verizon Center.  In other words we’ll have choices of what to eat for lunch.  The staff at the auditorium is very enthusiastic about the Arms Fair and we are getting calls from all around that area from dealers, clubs and John Q. Public.   John Pitarresi, the outdoor writer for the Observer Dispatch, which is Utica’s main newspaper, has been mentioning the show in his column since January.   You’ll find a flier enclosed and I hope you will join us there.  Most of the dealers are staying at the lovely Hotel Utica, a Clarion hotel.   The lobby makes you just want to sit there and meet people.  There’s a nice lounge and a four star restaurant and a hot breakfast is included with the room and served in the lobby in the morning. There may be a few rooms left.  You can check at 1-877-906-1912.

We are starting the month of June off with a one day show at the Best Western in Little Falls where we will have about 35 tables and you will find a flier enclosed for that.  Again this is a very receptive facility with a lounge and restaurant.  There are lots of quaint shops in Little Falls also.  Fliers for our August 1, 2 & 3 Saratoga Springs Show are also enclosed and for those who want their usual tables please send a one table deposit.

Our 2008 confirmed schedule will find us back in Utica August 22, 23 & 24, then Saratoga, September 19, 20 & 21, our original Saratoga Gun Show weekend until the early 90’s and then rounding out the year with an Antique and Collector Show on October 31st, November 1 & 2 at the Saratoga City Center.  Any dealers who have antique firearms and sporting collectibles, don’t rule this show out.  We used to produce this type of show at the City Center and did a great business ourselves with that type of merchandise.  Fliers for the latter shows will go out in a later mailing.

I want to thank all you dealers who made our March Saratoga Springs Show so great.  I couldn’t begin to tell you all the compliments we received on the show.  The crowd was huge but not record.   If I keep my sanity through tax season, you’ll hear from me again late April or early May.  I told the “boss” I need a vacation after April 15th.


Cathy Petronis

PS:  Cathy did such a great job on this letter I may actually retire and enjoy my first SS check this April … Dave.