August 4, 2010

Dear Members and Exhibitors,

My gut feeling was telling me something and I should have heeded the warning. Our last letter informed you of switching our Old Forge Show to September 25 & 26 and placing Clifton Park in its’ place on October 2 & 3 because of other large show conflicts. Well, we’re back and we’ve cancelled. Let me tell you the rest of the story.

Clifton Park is cancelled for this fall and Old Forge is back on its original scheduled time, October 1, 2 & 3 and will be that way in the future. If you want me to order a table for you , send in your application with money today… at least call and tell me you are coming, I work with you; a one table deposit is still sufficient. For those of you who HAD done the right thing and sent money in for Clifton Park, it will be returned.

First, we have two months to sell at least 425 tables for Clifton Park and we only have commitments for about 50 and lots of folks telling me why they aren’t coming; too many shows in a row, doing one close to home, didn’t make money, too expensive, doing a new show, are some of the reasons noted. Well guys, I ain’t gonna beg for ya’ll to come. I explained we needed a one table deposit and an early response so I could do my job of advertising and promotion – not calling dealers to see who is coming. I’m getting too old and I guess too cranky – you didn’t follow thru on your end so we have cancelled on this end. I’m tired of babysitting, if you don’t know what you are doing and when, how are we supposed to? Rough tale, right?

Second, the gut feeling was way beyond not getting an early response, however.There were ever-increasing hurdles to leap and hoops to jump thru and as always, I am looking out for you.The facility was indeed nice.But I had to hire parking attendants to satisfy the town as to not create a jam.Not a problem.If we had a huge crowd only 1500 folks, including vendors and members, could be on the floor at one time, hence the turn-style.Again, we could live with that if the public didn’t mind waiting to get in.With a growing show that also could have been a concern.

To protect the floor I needed to advise exhibitors of certain rules and all litter to be picked up.That all seemed to work fairly well with moving in and out and most people picked up their own trash.I had to hire folks to police the floor on hands and knees to pick up the minutia left behind.My table company also had restrictions set by the facility, as to set-up and knock down with very limited time constraints – a larger show would have developed problems.All things we could no doubt overcome.

Wall tables as we know them were not available because of the smaller size show but also would have been a problem in the future because of the netting, and there aren’t enough electrical outlets. To protect the floor from the table legs settling in and creating holes in the turf, I hired a fellow to cut 1350 4" x 4" plywood squares and other folks to place them under each table leg. Think that was fun?And I now own 1350 pieces of firewood. So far though, did it, worked it out and all part of the job – thinking we would grow the show and be worth all the effort.By the way, we too, lost money on this endeavor (and still counting).

It seemed though, every hurdle crossed, another was placed to impede the progress. Honestly this is the very first time I never felt comfortable with the venue management. I’ve dealt with tough guys and overcome obstacles but this one I felt became a losing battle. When our normal two million dollar insurance policy didn’t seem ample enough for this October show, they wanted us to request individual vendors supply insurance certificates naming the SportsPlex as additional insured. And, no audio system in this building for even emergency announcements.

Don’t stop now, also all people working the show – exhibitors and helpers included – needed to be covered by NYS Workers Compensation Insurance. If you didn’t have it, not a problem – for $100 a person, they would add you to their policy for the weekend, overnight security guys included. And I needed to start off this new process by assembling a list of all the vendors from the last show and handing it over with this new contract.Nice place or not guys, I just didn’t think you wanted the hassles; though I ALMOST complied with all but the need for individual certificates. I even could have worked out the Workers Comp. But you know what? I cancelled what could have been a very nice show because I didn’t need the boiling point to my blood pressure or the extra aggravation to you exhibitors. Old Forge is beautiful that time of year.

We are now working on some motel deals for Old Forge and will keep you posted, check our website for the most up to date info; As you know, Saratoga is at the end of the month and I still have room for dealers.Hotels are always difficult to get so call now; again the complete motel list can be accessed on our Gun Show page. This late August Arms Fair is usually productive with a good crowd. The loading areas for the rear dock and entrance ramp are still available but the roadway (old Atrium) and new fire exit ramp will also be in use. Things are always looking better with the passage of time.

We are still working on other things but those will have to wait for another time. We will be in Clayton and Syracuse and we always post new things on the web.You may also want to check out my posts at Twitter @DavidPetronis, all usable technology for this new generation. Thanks,

David Petronis