Wednesday, July 25, 2012

EDITORIAL: Rethinking the NFLCC Nationals

EDITORIAL: Rethinking the NFLCC Nationals

First of all, let me say that the Fort Wayne Nationals was as well-run and organized as any National show I have ever attended. Massive thanks go out to Dave Saalfrank and all of the show organizers and volunteers. It was awesome and I really enjoyed all aspects of the show. I am really looking forward to returning to Fort Wayne.

What I think needs to be addressed has nothing to do with the amazing show put on by the volunteers like Dave and his team, or the fine folks in Kansas City next year.

What needs to be rethought is the NFLCC National Show itself.

I began thinking about this on Friday afternoon at exactly 2:30 p.m. while sitting on the show floor. I was at my table when a brand new NFLCC member stopped by to buy a book. After brief introductions, I asked him what he thought of his first Nationals. His response?

"I thought they said this was the biggest show of them all? Where are all the people? And why do half of the tables have sheets over them?"

I had no answer for him. At 2:30 on Friday afternoon--with the show floor open until 7:00 that evening--there were less than 100 people on the entire show floor. A show floor with 500 sold tables...

Contrast that with Thursday at the same time, when there were far more people and the aisles were crowded from one end to the other.

Then contrast that with Saturday, when almost everyone had pulled up stakes (including myself) and vacated the floor by noon, despite the show being open until five p.m.

The question you have to ask is: WHY?

The answer is complex, but includes a confluence of reasons: exhaustion from room trading, conflicts with the tackle seminars, people picking up and leaving for other shows, etc.

All I know is that if you arrive at the Nationals after Thursday, you are not really seeing the NFLCC in all its glory.

And that is a damn shame.

So how can we fix this?

I don't have all the answers, but I would like to offer what I think is a solution. It has been arrived at after much discussion with other collectors, and after a talk with outgoing NFLCC president Byron Parker, who offered very valid and cogent criticism. I appreciate very much his input.

So here's what I think is wrong with the NFLCC Nationals: it's long since outlived being a three day show.

I believe the NFLCC nationals would be far better served moving to a Friday-Saturday two day show. Let me explain.

If the NFLCC Show moved to Friday-Saturday 8:00-6:00, I believe we would not have the absences we normally see on Friday afternoon (Saturday being universally seen as a "dead" day).

What about Thursday, you might ask. Would we lose the bargaining power with hotels/convention centers by ditching a day?

How about we rearrange the Nationals in this way.

1) Move the Members Meeting (and Executive Board meeting) to Thursday morning/early afternoon, to be followed DIRECTLY by the seminars. I attended the great seminar by Warren Platt and Bill Sonnett on fishing antique tackle, and afterwards had a dozen people say they would have gone BUT THEY DIDN'T WANT TO LEAVE THEIR TABLES.

2) Move the Auction to Saturday Evening after the show ends. This as much as anything would encourage the NFLCC members to stay Saturday night, as well as potentially bring in more auction items. (By the way congrats to Brent Vonderheide and his team on a great auction, it was amazing to watch and raised nearly $50,000).

So to recap, I believe these changes would make for a much stronger floor show. It would:

-- encourage members to stay on the floor both days, as it would have a lot of traffic (from different groups) on both Friday and Saturday.

-- encourage members who have to work during the week to attend Friday afternoon/evening, as they would still have all day Saturday on the floor and the auction to look forward to…

-- it would make Thursday night the granddaddy of all room trading evenings, and one in which most members who book a three-day weekend could attend.

-- it would free up members to attend the seminars without fear of leaving their tables unattended.

-- It would turn the NFLCC auction into THE EVENT of the weekend, and encourage everyone to stick around Saturday for the duration of the show as they would stay for the auction.

-- Allow break down beginning an hour before closing on Saturday, and allow enough time so that people who have tables can still make the auction.

I would love to hear opinions, both pro and con, on this plan. Frankly, I think it would work a ton better than what we already have, with half-empty shows after lunch on Friday and all day Saturday.

Your turn…

-- Dr. Todd

1 comment:

Connectioneer said...

AND> Allow a membership purchase to include the show if purchased at the door. At least discount the show. I did not attend for various conflicts but forking out $65 to join and attend was hard to swallow even if I could have made it.