July 13, 2012

Dear Members and Exhibitors,

Business is usually a bit off in these lazy, hazy days of summer but with the confidence in our economy still low this season seems especially slow; seems like business in a lot of shops is bleak. Our bright spot was the recent Utica Show at the AUD. We didn’t really make any money as show promoters because the crowd was unusually light but our gun sales were very brisk. Other exhibitors also told me they had a great show; black gun sales seemed to have waned, however.

Our shop in Mechanicville is about an hour and a half away from Utica so we didn’t expect to sell handguns but, among other things we sold six and the buyers had to travel back to our shop to get them after paperwork went through. Well, every one of those customers bought another gun when they came into our store; two bought additional handguns and had to return again! Just yesterday another customer from Herkimer, who looked at a Ruger LCP pistol in Utica, finally came to buy one and now must return to pick it up. So our show was great and we made new customers; I’m glad we fit the June, Utica Show into our busy schedule.

Several weeks earlier during our May Show at the SportsPlex in Clifton Park, we had the same type of sales, though our shop is only six miles away from that event. Sales were also good at the store and more guns were sold to folks we met at the show. Our attendance there was definitely better, a lot more than our first SportsPlex Show two years ago and we ended up with about the same number of tables, a bit over 300 with a dozen or so booths. Our Clifton Park Expo is destined to become a great event, which the exhibitors acknowledged to me.

The reason I’m referring to our show sales and subsequent shop sales is to remind you all that setting up at a show is basically a form of advertisement for yourself and your shop. Those of you without store fronts naturally use your tables as your store and create customers who expect to see you in the same spot at the next show in that facility or perhaps at our next event somewhere else. This is all still advertising and one of your best little tools, other than your personality, is your business card with proper info; give out as many as you can.

With our Show Promotions our business card is our fliers for our next event or the post cards where we list multiple events so prospective customers will know where to find us and when. These are some of our best tools to keep bringing people back to our shows. Today, very few folks even read a newspaper and radio or TV are always hit or miss. If a potential prospect doesn’t listen to the station or watch the program where your ad airs, they won’t know about an upcoming event. Advertising and reaching the right people ain’t easy anymore; life styles of people have changed dramatically with the advent of the internet and smart phones. And we do use that media also.

Point is, spread our fliers and post cards around so that your customers will find you at our next show. It is one of the simplest and best ways to reach the people who matter most; ask us and we will provide.

The contents of this mailing is our attempt to reach the people who matter most to make our shows a success -- you, the exhibitors. My job is to get it all together, in partnership, your job is to let me know you are going to be there – well in advance of our show date – so my mind is on your customers and not wondering about you. Your table rents fund the overall operation to make it all happen. Our venues want big deposits up front, some want all the money 30 days in advance. Advertising media always seem to want to get paid on time or won’t run my ads or air our promotions; these bills come due constantly. The security agencies and table rental companies always seem to want their money too; I think they need to pay their help. So I need yours – both help and money!

Help is easy, simply let me know early by sending me your completed application – the money part is great if you send it all in with the app as most of you do – but I accept a one table deposit; that should not be hard for a responsible business person to do. And it is your business, these shows that you do. And most promoters want it all and some want it for the next show while you’re standing in their current show. I’d like that too, after thirty years in this business I think I deserve -- and earned -- a little respect. I try to do the best I can for you all, try to do the same for me; a little tit for tat.

Which brings us to the matter at hand; we’ve got some really good events coming up and they are starting soon with two great summer shows. First is tourist season in Old Forge on August *3, 4 & 5 and then the racing season in Saratoga on August *24, 25 & 26 where we have new dealers coming in with some great guns! We will be back in Frankfort at the VFW on Labor Day weekend for that Saturday, September 1st. VFW members will have their fine food again and we can set up as we have, the night before. This has been a fun little show with good rewards. Again, the Trapper Convention will be at the Fair Grounds on the hill (they had better watch gun sales).

On September *28, 29 & 30 we will have our first fall Gun Show at the SportsPlex in Clifton Park and it should be great! Hunting frenzy will be peaking and buyers will be seeking … guns! Find our flier and send it in; don’t forget to make hotel reservations early, the leaf peeping season takes up a lot of rooms. Then we are on to Cortland in October where again, the interest in hunting and gun shows is keen. On the same Columbus Day weekend as last year, October *5, 6 & 7; there will also be a huge tack, old tool and farm equipment auction that Thursday in the adjoining Fair Grounds with a Friday tack and horse sale and show, which brings in the Amish and farmers from all over the area. We can be open Friday evening for this crowd if you all agree.

A week before the Adirondack northern zone hunting season opens we will have our great October Saratoga Springs Arms Fair on the *12th, 13th & 14th; this is always a fine show. Again you must reserve rooms early and please send in your applications as soon as possible. So, as you can see, we have a terrific line-up of shows coming up fast. Make your plans, send in your completed applications – we again take credit cards but add $3.00 per table to cover my expense – and make all your room reservations early! See details and motel rates on our web at NEACA.com, Gun Show page where all pertinent information can be found.

As you know we have been involved with the NYS Attorney General who’s trying to add new rules to our gun show business. This seems to be coming to fruition very soon, all details will be available on our web but mainly it is about mandatory NICS checks, tagging guns with proper information and notifying the public through hand outs and advertising of all the gun show rules. Whatever the final outcome these rules will need to be followed but they must be reasonable. The latter is why I am personally engaging the Assistant AG I am working with. Naturally, it will cost promoters more time and money and we will be charged with the enforcement of these rules. The bright side is that ALL individuals can sell their guns at our shows and NEACA members can sell personal firearms at tables as long as NICS checks are done and proper tags or lists of guns are provided to the promoter.

One final item but very important to Cathy and I; our three wonderful children surprised us with a great party at Panza’s Restaurant on Saratoga Lake to celebrate our 50th Wedding Anniversary; June 30, 1962. To those of you who sent us cards and well wishes, we thank you very much. To those of you who didn’t know you can now send us your completed table applications for all our upcoming shows … and help us celebrate year 51!

Cathy & Dave