January 18, 2009

Dear Members and Exhibitors,

The year 2008 is behind us and what a year it was, from the down turn of the economy to the historic election.  As rough as the past year was, it seemed to strengthen family ties and wake a lot of us up to what really matters.  I’m sure many of you can relate.

Besides the decline in internet business, there was a rude awakening to the affects of the economic climate when our one son was notified a week before our October 31, November 1 & 2 Saratoga Springs Arms Fair that his employer, who provides retail software solutions for small and mid-sized retailers, would be laying off employees because of a reduced demand for their product in these trying economic times.  He was one of the lucky ones.  He didn’t get laid off but had to take a major cut in pay.  Before the end of the year he landed a new position at another company making more money than before his cut and he begins this new adventure on February 1st.  A blessing in disguise?  Our other son who formed his own company in 2007, also in the technology industry, saw a decline in business towards the end of 2008 but it started to pick right back up after the first of 2009.  Our son-in-law was hearing rumors of major job cuts, layoffs and decreases in pay at the company that purchased the G E Silicone Products division but so far things seem to be a little bit more stable with the exception of some cuts in pay and lack of overtime.

My parents lost a home in the Great Depression while feeding and caring for 7 children at the time and managed to instill in all 10 of us a great work ethic and to always have faith that things will get better.  I just wanted to give a little perspective.

The September and October Saratoga Springs shows were far below expectations as far as dealer participation.  It was the first time in a decade that we didn’t fill the hall.  The dealers who were set up were quite happy with the amount of business they did.

Our January 2nd, 3rd and 4th show although also short on dealers, had great public attendance and they were spending.  A lot of guns were sold as well as reference books and all kinds of “stuff”. It was like a “Cabin Fever” show amplified.

And speaking of cabin fever, our Lake George show at the Holiday Inn Turf is coming up before we know it, on Sunday February 8th.  The staff there welcomes us each year and seems to enjoy having us as much as we enjoy being there.  Those of you who have been there before, either as dealers or visitors, will remember the great breakfast, lunch and dinner TR’s restaurant serves without having to set foot off the premises.

The March Saratoga Springs Arms Fair is coming right along.  You will find a flier enclosed even though there was one in our December mailing.  If you want tables, send in at least a one table deposit.  We have a lot of new dealers contacting us and they’ve already submitted table applications.  Have been contacted by a representative from the new Hampton Inn and Suites, situated a block away from the City Center offering a rate of $119 per night for the March show.  That includes a hot breakfast in the morning and is a beautiful new hotel.

Applications are also coming in for our Utica Memorial Auditorium show in April.  That should run smoothly this time.  Don’t forget the easy unloading even in miserable weather.  We’ve got a great rate at the Hotel Utica.  They pleaded with us to give them one more chance, especially with the restaurant scheduling and staffing.  Hope most of you will join us for that show.

On a sadder note, Bill Welburn, who with his wife Harriet set up at many of our Saratoga Springs shows over the years, passed away in December.  He will really be missed.  Some of you might remember their going out of business sale of their Lone Pine, Ltd. At our March, 2008 Saratoga show.  We know that Harriet will surely miss him even more than us because they were a team, just like Dave and I.

On the plus side of this economic mess are the lower heating prices and less sticker shock at the pump.  Heck, we might even consider a trip south at the end of income tax season.

In closing we wish you all a healthy, safe and prosperous New Year.


Cathy & Dave Petronis