Northern Illinois Card Show Review (10/9)

This past Saturday was another Northern Illinois Card Show in Rockford. The show is now in my monthly rotation (pending my schedule) to set up as a vendor. Rock Church on Harrison Avenue is the location and it’s in the church gymnasium. It is a really nice space, and the gym stage even has a ping pong table, air hockey, and foosball table.

I had a new location from my first appearance at this show. John Craig, the promoter, had me in the back corner straight ahead from the entrance. I loved the spot from the start. Since I have three tables of bargain boxes, space is a necessity. Being in the back corner allowed for ample space for my customers to take a seat and dig through the cards.


Sold Out Northern Illinois Card Show

As I pulled up to the Northern Illinois Card Show, the parking lot was already pretty full of vendors unloading their goods. The show was a sell out for vendors, which is great. It was also nice to see some new vendors I had never met allowing me to introduce myself and promote my own show. John and I have a great relationship and promote each other’s show. We encourage each other to recruit vendors from our shows to appear at the other.

One vendor I was looking forward to meet was Tony Gordon, who runs the Salvation Army show in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. It’s a show I have not yet attended, but do plan on driving over for their November 6 show. Tony has an amazing selection of vintage and pre-war cards. There was a Billy Herman Batters Up and a 1952 Topps Phil Cavarretta that caught my eye. But going into business full time starting this week, I need to restrain myself from impulse Cubs buys.

Northern Illinois Card Show in Rockford

With a sellout crowd of vendors it also led to a different layout than my previous appearance in August. The vendor tables were set up on the perimeter of the gym, but then there were also interior tables.

While I was unloading my car another vendor asked if I was interested in buying a 5-row box of baseball cards. Ratsy on the Blowout Forums is from northwest Indiana, and he set up at the Madison Card Show a couple months ago. After I set up, I took a look at the contents and we agreed on $60. I’ll show off the contents in a later article.

Northern Illinois Card Show in Rockford

Crowd Turnout Was Great

Attendance at the Northern Illinois Card Show was much higher than the previous show I set up at in August. Even though attendance and sales were down two months ago, it allowed me more time to network with other vendors and pick up some good deals as a buyer.

There was a big rush of people during the morning hours, and like many card shows the afternoon was a trickle and pretty slow. Still, I was very happy with the turnout.


Bargain Box Sales Were Down

At one point towards the end of the show John approached and asked how my show was going. My response: “It’s been okay.” I hate that response, and as soon as I muttered those words I wanted to smack myself. It’s like coming home from work and saying your day was, “fine.”

Was it okay good, was it okay bad? So, I’ll go into a little more detail on my “okay” day. While the attendance was far greater than the previous Northern Illinois Card Show, my table attendance was only slightly up. And that is okay. The bargain box customers either didn’t come to the show, or something with my set up needs to be adjusted.

Since I began selling bargain boxes at my first Madison Card Show in April, a constant internal struggle was how to organize the bargain boxes. Mine are very disorganized. They are sorted by sport, but that’s as organized as it gets. Should I organize by team? By year? By era?

One sales tip I learned at the Wisconsin Dells show from a bargain box seller was the “Fill a Box” method. A vendor had 100-count boxes that you could fill for $20, so essentially a built-in discount (20 cents per card) on the quarter boxes. Customers at the Northern Illinois Card Show in Rockford use my boxes regularly, but for some reason I do not get that same traffic at the Madison Card Show.


Overall A Success

It was a great outing in Rockford. While my sales were not quite to my expectations, it was a decent sales amount. I was able to make some great bulk buys to enhance my own bargain boxes along with some inventory I can put in my eBay Store. Additionally, I was able to network with a few new vendors that will likely set up at future Madison Card Shows. Overall, another fun day. The next Northern Illinois Card Show in Rockford will be on Saturday November 13.

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