November 28, 2008
Dear Members and Exhibitors,
Turkey Day is over â€“ let the sales begin! After all the carnage at the mall parking lots and confrontation in the shopping aisles who will relax as the victors come the end of December? Will it be the â€œsales struckâ€ shoppers or the â€œdeeply discountedâ€ department stores? When all the dust and fallout settles from this merriment and mayhem, we can only hope weâ€™ll have a few dollars left to pay the bills and the sales force will still have their jobs in January. Change may be coming but no one is quite certain of how.
I did an hour long interview with question and answer segment earlier in the month with Al Rooney, morning host on WGY Radio. The subject was the increase in gun sales spurred on by Obamaâ€™s rise to the White House; quite interesting and a lot of fun. The marked increase in self protection and home defense firearms sales in the Southern and Western parts of the US seemed not to be as much in evidence here in the Northeast, though as time goes by I think the trend in sales is now emerging in our area as well. Just in time for our next Arms Fair in Saratoga Springs on January 2, 3 & 4, 2009.
If you can find any used home defense shotguns, lightweight handguns or â€œblack gunsâ€ better pick them up â€˜cause the distributors seem to be running out of new ones. Personally, Iâ€™ll stick with my investor grade pieces, a lot better place to put money in than the stock market. Record sales have been seen at the auction houses this past year. We also have added our first â€œbanner adâ€ on our website, NEACA.com, for Rock Island Auction; check their next offerings of some fine firearms with a simple â€œclickâ€ on their ad.
We will have our January show, and we do have a lot of table deposits but we did not get enough ticket sales for our Dinner and Auction to be a successful event, so Cathy and I decided to cancel it for that Saturday evening of January 3rd. To continue with nearly a $5000 investment without at least fifty tickets sold was not something we wanted to do during these uncertain times. Anyone who deposited for tickets can have a refund or put the money towards future shows.
What we have decided on and contracted for, are our three main show times in Saratoga for 2009, March 20, 21 & 22; August 28, 29 & 30 and October 30, 31 & November 1. You now know the dates so we would like to know who will commit for tables at those shows, please forward at least a $25.00 deposit for tables as soon as you can. We will also be in Utica on April 3, 4 & 5, which will no doubt evolve to be our annual event time there. We want to expand into the upper areas with outdoor sporting and guide service booths so if you know of any prospects please give out the information or get in touch with us. Generally an 8â€™ X 10â€™ booth will run about $110. We will also have a special rate at the Utica Hotel.
Enclosed are our current fliers, including our annual Winter Carnival Show at Holiday Inn on Lake George, Sunday February 8th. Plan your full 2009 schedule with us now so we can concentrate on promotion, new prospects and new areas. Please donâ€™t forget to post our fliers, talk to friends about our shows and renew your memberships.
A few new venues have contacted us about shows at their locations and we get calls like these throughout the year, so we are always exploring both old and new locations for the future. No different in 2009; we are looking for good show locations or reviving some old ones. Just to let you all know that NEACA will be around for many years to come. With over twenty-six years behind us it is near impossible to ignore the future and over a quarter century of the past.
Well, we got an earful from the members when we expressed our thoughts about Friday nights and our early entries. We tried to enlighten the membership that we may be losing table sales from â€œexhibitor membersâ€ ~ â€œlife membersâ€ ~ who used to take tables but now only come in to â€œbuyâ€. All well and good for the guy who shows up Friday, partakes of the food and drink, runs thru and grabs the early bargains and leaves. This â€œmemberâ€ brings nothing to the show, reaps all of our hard work for their own benefit and is gone for the weekend. Iâ€™d like that lifestyle too â€“ but I have too much class for me to do it that way. When I go to a show, I pay my way, pay my dues and do the time â€“ the whole time and add to the show, not just take from it. Somehow boys, that â€œonly Friday night feverâ€ philosophy has got to change!
An awful lot has been said about â€œchangeâ€ these past months, from our country, our economy and now our shows. Perhaps the more appropriate words to use are â€œgetting back to basicsâ€ or looking to the past for tried and true simplifications. With the â€œgun grabbersâ€ now in power in our State and in Washington there may well be some changes coming. We want to prepare to be on solid ground with our shows, their venues, with our dedicated members and exhibitors. Getting back to basic principles of show promotion and early dealer commitments is the change I want to see.
One last thought on our Friday evening previews. We began these many years ago, which provided an opportunity for the â€œmember exhibitorsâ€ to have a chance to buy and trade among themselves, not having to rush out to find food or a drink but rather to converse and gather in a â€œcollectors comradery.â€ We had people bringing in food â€“ hell, I remember Steve Svitek bringing in cases of wine, for free, to our old Kingston Armory shows â€“ or Dave and Inez Harris setting up a whole kitchen for us in Peekskill â€“ or members wives bringing in cakes or cookies for deserts or macaronis for our previews; things like that just donâ€™t occur any more.
Through the years Cathy has expanded her work to nearly a full week of preparation and purchases for these Friday evening previews; it has now become a monster that is getting rough to manage alone or even with the help I can give. We will continue our normal activity for this January show but without some real commitment for help at future shows, this may come to be a casualty of the times â€“ and old age. As goes the preview will also be the death knell of Friday evening activities in general, Iâ€™m afraid. We would like this to continue but we really need help.
No one else is allowed to do what we do and have done for over twenty-five years at the City Center. It is grandfathered as â€œthis is what we do!â€ The cooperation and dedication of about the finest group of people that we have had the pleasure to work with is unbelievable. From the director, Mark Baker who I first saw and made a deal with over a hole in the ground, to the people who clean the rest rooms, they are all top notch and we thank them for providing us the opportunity â€œto do what we doâ€ to make Saratoga Springs, NY and the City Center Arms Fair in particular the place that our members and exhibitors always wish to return to. Truly, Saratoga is the place to be.
God bless you all, may Peace and Happiness be yours in this turbulent time and may you prosper in the coming years. Merry Christmas and Have a Very Happy New Year.
Cathy and Dave
NEACA Member Letters Archive