Members and Exhibitors,
When I wrote that date down, September 17, I knew it was familiar, the date the Soviet Union invaded Poland following the German invasion of September 1st, 1939 when 76 years ago the world changed. Two years later, December 7, 1941, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor and thousands of young men and women went to war. From ages 18 and even younger, the seeds of earlier generations of American warriors became the greatest generation of patriots. The tragic fact is that most of those brave men and women have either passed on or at best will be in their mid – 90’s in 2016.
The 75th anniversary of our American effort to defend freedom during World War II is upon us and I would like to dedicate all of our 2016 Arms Fairs to that “Greatest Generation” of freedom fighters with displays and discounts. Whether they were on the front lines of battle or the assembly lines of war production – in the air or on the seas – mother’s on the home front or farmers feeding the nation – the Greatest Generation was and still is just that; great in their dedication of a combined effort to defend our freedom and our American way of life. Oh, that we can still be free today because of them and the army of volunteers that followed. If we could only have today a “Hail to the Chief” that actually meant something, or politicians who actually acted on something meaningful, what a different world it would be.
That said, the next show we produce at the Saratoga Springs City Center will be the 100th Arms Fair at that venue since we premiered our first show there in 1984. Thirty-one years later I hope all of you exhibitors and NEACA members will gather with us to celebrate the occasion of 100 shows at Saratoga on October 16, 17 & 18; our flier is enclosed. View our website at NEACA.com for any motel/hotel deals and further information. We are still working on this show.
We just concluded our first Arms Fair at the Riley Rink in Manchester Center, Vermont and it went very well. All of our exhibitors gave praise to the facility and ease of loading. I believe every exhibitor would have signed up for our full group of 2016 Manchester Center shows if we had fliers available. The crowd was light and we had nowhere near the potential 275 table capacity but a lot of guns and other stuff were sold and some pretty nice items came in with the public. The next show in Manchester is April 8, 9, 10 and nearly half the tables have been asked for. We will soon have a flier on our gun show page ready to download. Motel and other info can also be found there. Our other dates are July 15, 16, 17 and October 7, 8 & 9, 2016; don’t wait too long to reserve tables and get your motel – this is going to develop into a great show. And, there was an issue but we have the road signs and venue sign problem now resolved.
Lake George at the Forum is our next winning show development and we have scheduled three events a year at this great 30,000 square foot venue. The first Arms Fair we have scheduled since our premier show a few years back is on Halloween weekend, October 30, 31 & November 1. Don’t be scared to fill out the enclosed application and send it back to us early – with those fliers in our hands we can concentrate on advertising the show instead of having to call vendors. We have a Christmas show scheduled at the Forum on December 11, 12 & 13, a few weeks before the big holiday and always a great shopping time for our customers. Sign up for both October and December shows and save time. We will have some special motel rates and perhaps even Santa will come.
We have also included our confirmed show schedule for 2015/16 so you all can be aware of NEACA upcoming events. Plan ahead and let us know which shows you will be attending. We can then send you advance advertising, post cards or fliers which you can use to promote at other shows. The very best advertising is either direct mail or person to person contact. Among our 32,000 mailing list we have several thousand attendees, plus members, who generally come to all of our larger shows and to who we always mail postcards; those are our direct mail contacts; plus we mail to specific zip code areas of prior attendees. You are encouraged to also post our fliers and talk to other dealers about our shows.
Then we have an email campaign where we contact those who have filled out door prize coupons or contacted our website; we have about 1,000 of those and growing. We also ask recipients to pass our mail on to their friends or post our show dates to their Facebook pages or Tweet the info. With today’s technology we barely need newspaper, radio or TV but we still do it all anyway – just to spread the word to those not yet in the 21st Century. As we grow our shows both in numbers and in attendance, we will have constant running ads and probably billboards.
In time we will turn over a group of area shows to a designated director, perhaps form an LLC and begin to “franchise” them, just to use a descriptive word, so Cathy and I can “somewhat retire”. We are building other shows, not on our current list, for the sole purpose of building a working team in 2016. Remember, Cathy and I used to produce over 30 shows per year throughout the northeast, and basically we did it alone, plus ran our “Arms Collector’s Journal” monthly newspaper with our kids for about 7 years – this is nothing new for us. Today, we are only half way there.
However, in 2016 we will begin to have some changes so our “associates” won’t have to put up with exhibitors who don’t show up and didn’t pay for their tables. That process cost us about $1,000 per show at some of our recent events. There is now supposed to be a policy of members paying two weeks in advance of a show to earn the discount – that doesn’t always happen – mostly because we are too lenient and at fault ourselves of getting fliers and dates out early enough; that will also change. I would suggest joining us by going to our member page and downloading our application.
We are going to have a push to increase NEACA memberships so exhibitors can save money on tables and possibly initiating some various forms of membership. We would like to address the problem of procrastinating dealers who constantly wait until the last minute on calling us for tables. We can get better motel rates when I know who is coming; if you are going to continue in this business you have to be a business person. When we expand and put other people in charge I want to have them devoting their time to putting up fliers and road signs instead of trying to figure out if “Billy, Jimmy & Johnny” are really coming to fill those tables we just laid out money for. And we will grow our dealer base.
Another year of Obama and New York’s Cuomo is only going to hurt this business and the economy in general. Donald Trump is surging in poles because he’s seen as ready to “kick ass”. If he wins, it is still a long way to January, 2017 and any changes. We at NEACA will make 2016 a banner year and hope all of you will come along with us.
Thanks for your continued support, Cathy & Dave.