If you could run a gun show, what would you do different?

Tooth

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Now I wanna go to a gun show. When's the next one. I haven't been to one in years, but the last one I went to the guy selling the gun I wanted was a dink. I left and went to a local dealer to buy the same gun. And, yes the shop was busy that day.
 

greencobra

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...the last one I went to the guy selling the gun I wanted was a dink. I left and went to a local dealer...
yep, a lot of "dinks" at the shows. if you get offended easy, cause a lot of the guys are salty to say the least, you best save the entrance fee to begin with and do it right the first time.
 

Len-2A Training

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People go twice?? Wow. I don't think I've even ever done the "damn I shoulda bought that yesterday" race back. Anything that was at a decent price was bought by me or someone else on Saturday. Anything that's readily available and at a good price at a show is a unicorn or can be had similar-priced at gun shops across the state.
Well, when I used to work the GOAL table at a local show, I worked it both days. Saturday just about closing time I walked by a table with a USP 45c for an excellent price. The dealer (known to me) was off wandering other tables, so I asked his Wife to put it aside and we'd do the paperwork on Sunday morning, which we did. I had talked with them earlier in the day and that gun wasn't out on the table, so no idea where it came from but it paid off to be there both days. In >40 yrs of attending gun shows (certainly not every year however), I've bought 3 or 4 guns total. But I have bought a lot of mags, ammo (before pricing went insane), and accessories over that time.
 

Len-2A Training

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Now I wanna go to a gun show. When's the next one. I haven't been to one in years, but the last one I went to the guy selling the gun I wanted was a dink. I left and went to a local dealer to buy the same gun. And, yes the shop was busy that day.
Next show is Foxboro this weekend, ~300 tables.
 
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My idea/only half joking. Hold the gun show on an old oil rig that is its own sovereign nation. Paperwork, pfffft, using paperwork in our country is an insult...
 

enbloc

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Also they seem to have the market corned on flatulence, I bet its about 60% of the unrepentant gun show cropdusters are above 78. The BO crew though is pretty well distributed by age, though.
Aw, come on man! It's the metformin...
 

drgrant

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problem with that is not too many vendors want to hang around after they set up on friday. set up doors open @ 3, a lot of vendors take 3+ hours to unpack and get their displays in order. they don't want to hang around, they want to relax, sit someplace, grab dinner and head for wherever the're staying. vendors who need all the allotted time to set up, until 9, don't want people under foot. and i'm sure it's a safety issue with the house also. a lot of traffic involving a couple of fork trucks. it's non-stop. if you've ever seen the safe and ammo vendors moving in you'll know what i mean.
I've seen the whole set up, been there done that a ton of times. It's 9 now? For some reason I don't ever remember it being that late. It always felt like the promoters security thugs were trying to bum rush us out of there at like 7, a lot of people barely had their shit done when we used to get pushed out.

-Mike
 

PatMcD

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I had a friend who, at one time, was looking into buying Patty DePetre's gun show operation. It's a tough way to make a buck. The table rentals basically pay for the venue. You make your money off the crowd that pays to get in. At $10 per person, it takes 2000 people to make $20,000. Out of that, you need to rent the tables (the venue will rent the tables and chairs to you), pay for security, insurance, advertising, helpers at the gate, room and board for yourself and your helpers, and probably a bunch of other stuff.
Nobody's getting rich doing it.
 

Dennis in MA

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I guess I suck at trying to make my point... lol... Let's put it this way... say you buy 8 tables at the typical $75 rate, that's like $600 just to go to the show as a dealer. If they reduced the table rates or did something different, they'd get more dealers to actually fill these places. They ain't doing that at this point (to the best of my knowledge). Or they should have a tiered structure for fees and placement. The promoters are making a killing at these things and just punishing the
dealers and the attendees. One huge problem with these shows from the vendor POV is even if the attendance is shitty it still costs the dealer the same $ to set
up. So fees can be a serious deterrent if you end up with a shit show. If I ever won the lottery I'd probably start a small firm that competes with these pricks and start some new gun shows in MA and elsewhere. More people need to be lured back to the shows not treated like shit. It kinda reminds me of some bars and restaurants where they allow their quality to slide back a few clicks because they can get enough business off the blow in customers or seagulls etc that are content to settle for "good enough". The promoters just strut around acting surly because they know you don't have a choice to go somewhere else.


-Mike
Hmmm. I get it. And you suck, but not on. . . . LOL

I just figure that even then, a dealer might pay $400 versus $600 for 8 tables. That's, gross, half-a-gun. Maybe net 4 guns. I was considering the smaller 1-2 table dealers where $20 or $40 wasn't the profit off of one gun and, if they are smart, will sell several over the weekend.

Aside - At about 10:30-11ish, I was a Tombstone in Marlboro last weekend. Their "paperwork" area was almost empty. I was surprised at that.

I'd be up for a VIP ticket thats like $20 and gets you in early on Friday night after setup, like 7-9 pm. capped number of tickets. Or pay another $5 on top of
that and get in all 3 days. That kind of thing would never happen with these shitbird promoters though.

-Mike
I'm in for that! I've often said that I'd love to find a dealer I could glom a cred off of to show up on Fri night and Sat at 7:30a.

But the promoters won't make significantly more, and it requires more work. So they won't do it. Let's say it was 200 tickets. That's $1,400. Probably not worth their time. And then they gotta get the whips out and drive the customers out at 9pm like JC and the Moneychangers. (Hey - that's a great name for a band!)

Also they seem to have the market corned on flatulence, I bet its about 60% of the unrepentant gun show cropdusters are above 78. The BO crew though is pretty well distributed by age, though.
LOL. Too true. Mike's on a roll!
 
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Sell the tickets online, show up with a ticket and get in no waiting line.
I have only gone to the Manchester or concord because a friend is a vendor but lines??? There was hardly anyone on the show walking around. the number of tables has gone down to the point they closed off part of the hall.

I see less in the way of interesting older items. nothing but the same items I can see in any decent gun shop. The target vendor is about all I have an interest in. For a $8.00 or $9.00 entry fee and a parking fee on top of that, fewer are going to be going.
 

drgrant

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I had a friend who, at one time, was looking into buying Patty DePetre's gun show operation. It's a tough way to make a buck. The table rentals basically pay for the venue. You make your money off the crowd that pays to get in. At $10 per person, it takes 2000 people to make $20,000. Out of that, you need to rent the tables (the venue will rent the tables and chairs to you), pay for security, insurance, advertising, helpers at the gate, room and board for yourself and your helpers, and probably a bunch of other stuff.
Nobody's getting rich doing it.
Lol, if its not profitable then why are they still doing it? Certainly not "for the hell of it" . I'm also going to guess that the attendance has a huge effect on
profit, and anyone that's been to enough of these things knows that there have been wild swings in attendance, probably by thousands of people on each
show. I won't dispute that setting one of these things up is probably a huge pain in the ass, but after they've done it a few dozen times, they probably have a
system that generally works. I think the one thing most of these promoters have f***ed up on is they haven't actually bothered to investigate why vendors and
attendees have largely been scared away.

-Mike
 

Kevin_NH

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Running a table at a gun show is no picnic either. I've shared a table at shows in the past, we made the fee back, but not a lot of profit.
I would not call it a "Gun Show", I'd call it a "Transfer Event". It would be:
~Held at my gun club (or your gun club. The more clubs the better.)
~Offer tables for free to members, non-members $15
~$5 entry ...
~Once you receive your table, you can display as many legal firearms as the table will hold.(cutting a 2x4 for support under the center of the table IS allowed.)
~Table and entry fees go to the Club.
Now here is the kicker:
~You can only sell as many firearms as you have left on your "annual allowance" of 4 private sales.
~It is YOUR responsibility to ensure all laws are followed, not the club or the organizers.
~It could be held the last week of December and the First week of January. (so, 8 potential sales/transfers in a two week period. Still YOUR responsibility to track your sales.)
This idea would work a heck of a lot better in a free state. Just saying.
 

drgrant

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Running a table at a gun show is no picnic either. I've shared a table at shows in the past, we made the fee back, but not a lot of profit.

This idea would work a heck of a lot better in a free state. Just saying.
You probably know more about this than I do- but even in free states, aren't there promoters that try to stipulate rules like "If you are selling guns, you must have an
FFL" or other "extra" requirements? I've also heard of (but never able to verify) cases where private sellers that appeared at more than one show were subject to
harrasement by ATF, etc. (because then they can go hurr, durr, profit motive!) on the other hand last few MA and NH shows ive been to where there were actually a table with ATF agents sitting at it (they had a bunch of pamphlets info etc) the guys manning that table looked like they were bored to tears and on the verge of
falling asleep.

-Mike
 
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Dennis in MA

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At least back 10-15 years ago, it was common to see a few guys split a single table at a gun show in "free" America. Not so much these days - probably b/c of the internet. Why wait for the next show when you can just list on Armslist or your local gun BB?

But we've had some interesting folks at shows here. Back in the day there was the Crazy Vest Guy. CVG. He did mostly the NH and north-of-Boston shows. He had a concealed carry leather vest and was always slamming his weighted monkey-paws on the table.

Then the guy that ran the big target and holster table on the far left at every show - he had his wife wearing a low-cut top for a few years, then his teenage daughter wearing the same for a few years after that. ?????

Today you've got the belly-holster guy accosting you. LOL It's enough to want to get your LTC or something to defend yourself. ROFL!!!!
 

PatMcD

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Lol, if its not profitable then why are they still doing it? Certainly not "for the hell of it" . I'm also going to guess that the attendance has a huge effect on
profit, and anyone that's been to enough of these things knows that there have been wild swings in attendance, probably by thousands of people on each
show. I won't dispute that setting one of these things up is probably a huge pain in the ass, but after they've done it a few dozen times, they probably have a
system that generally works. I think the one thing most of these promoters have f***ed up on is they haven't actually bothered to investigate why vendors and
attendees have largely been scared away.

-Mike
Read what i wrote again.
I didn't say they weren't making money. I said it's not easy money and nobody's getting rich.
 

drgrant

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Read what i wrote again.
I didn't say they weren't making money. I said it's not easy money and nobody's getting rich.
I read what you wrote... you just seemed to imply that it wasn't worth doing. And as far as easy money goes, most of this industry is tough money. The promoters are probably doing better than some of the dealers at these shows, ill just leave it at that. Of course everyones perspective (and calculus for risk) is different- and I can completely understand why your friend might not want to get embroiled in something like that, either; everyone has a different cost/benefit thing going on in their heads. Particularly given that we might be transiting a point where the shows have done a lot of things to push themselves further away from being relevant. (or haven't done a lot of things needed to keep pace with commerce.... )

-Mike
 

drgrant

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Probably?

Some of?
I meant on the whole, on an annual basis. Not on a "net profit during the show" basis. Then again, most of the larger dealers (in terms of large gross revenue) don't even bother with gun shows at all, or only use them for specific things.

-Mike
 

EddieZoom

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How about only locating shows next to either a strip club or a Chinese buffet so after you realize once again you pissed away the entrance fee on another crappy show you can at least feel like the trip wasn't a complete waste.
 

Dennis in MA

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Haven't seen "you must have an FFL" tableholder rules from any NH show promoters, nor in the Midwest, Texas, etc.

BATFE likes to harass anybody "...engaged in the business of dealing in firearms...", Obama's January 2016 Executive Action has firmed up the rules on when a private seller crosses the line and is engaged in the business...
That one baffled me. Because over a decade prior, Clinton's ATF shut down a LOT of kitchen-table dealers because they WEREN'T engaged enough in the trade. Because, somehow, these KT dealers were supplying weapons to crims and were the "preferred method of criminals to get guns to knock over 7-11's."

Fast forward about 20 years and BHO says we need to LICENSE these people because. . . . they were the preferred method of criminals to get guns to knock over 7-11's.
 

rep308

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How about only locating shows next to either a strip club or a Chinese buffet so after you realize once again you pissed away the entrance fee on another crappy show you can at least feel like the trip wasn't a complete waste

I was in Houston on business and the convention center had a gun show and a bikini show, one ticket got you into both
 
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