Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Show Is ALWAYS On . . .

A point was made to me at my very first StampFest Orlando 13 years ago.  Those of you who have been around the circuit for a while will remember the old Stamp Cabana booth.  Gene and Mary who ran it were across the aisle from me at that 1997 StampFest, and we found out that all three of us had attended Miami University way back when.  Just before the show started, Gene walked over to me and offered some sage advice – make sure every customer feels welcome, make sure every customer knows you’re glad she stopped in your booth, and always make sure you’re smiling because you never know who has a camera.  No kidding . . .


I have Anna Ely to thank for this – she shot a classic photo during last Saturday’s giveaway.  This is the innocent, edited version.  But if you look at the entire photo, y0u’ll get my point . . .


I love Margaret Myers from Sparkle ‘N’ Sprinkle.  And I know her well enough to know that she wasn’t nearly as irritated with the giveaway crowd spilling into her booth as it appears here.  But doesn’t her face just scream “Get these people out of my booth!”  I showed her this picture on Sunday and she cracked up – and she has already been warned that I planned to share it.  It was the highlight of my weekend . . .

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Disney Rainout . . .

After the show ended today, we quickly cleaned up the booth and got out of the convention hall. There were things to do – and I was headed for Disney World (Disney’s Hollywood Studios, to be exact – it’s my favorite). Gotta do a few things for myself when I’m on the road . . .


Parked the truck in my usual spot in the bus zone (right next to the entrance). And the first thing I saw? Karen, Anna, and Anna’s kids – they had the same idea. The sun was shining as we parted company and went in search of our favorite attractions.

I usually come in, make a right turn, and head straight for the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and the Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster. Saw several people do something I had never seen before – they took cell phone shots of the images the ride operators were trying to sell as they came off.

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So I did, too. That’s me in the back right at the Tower of Terror, and in the front passenger seat on the Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster. I came out of the coaster, heading across the park to other spots I like, but noticed the patrons scurrying about. Then I came out from under the trees and noticed sprinkles and darkening skies.

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I headed for cover, and the skies opened up. It poured – with thunderboomers closeby. This was my view for the next hour or so from under cover. When the rain slacked off a little, I headed through the shops and back to the parking lot – and back to the hotel. Good decision – by the time I got out on the access roads, it was pouring again. As I type this three hours later, it’s still raining. Found out later that Karen, Anna, et al stuck it out and dodged raindrops all evening.

But don’t feel sorry for me – I have had many good times in the company of the Mouse . . .

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Mad Hatters and the T-Shirters . . .

We are in Kissimmee, Florida this weekend for our annual visit to StampFest Orlando.  Of all shows we do, this one has the most memories.  This is where it all began, when Debby Drabik took a chance on an unknown company from Dayton, Ohio for StampFest Orlando 1997.  For that, we are forever grateful – and forever loyal.  I wouldn’t think of doing another promoter’s Florida show.

Every year, StampFest has a Make It & Take It on Friday night before the show.  This year, there were 123 people hopping from project to project at eighteen tables!


If you look really close, you’ll see our table way in the back.  Yeah, that’s it – see the hat in the doorway?


This was our table – and a little closer shot of those hats.  We have “Tweety Jill” Haglund in our booth this weekend, and she has a series of Mad Hatter stamps and papers.  I had no idea she had brought props along until I walked into the room about an hour after the event started.

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It was worth the price of admission just to see Karen in the wild hair . . .

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I understand the hats Karen and Andrea wore, but Anna’s beanie?

And what’s that about “T-Shirters”?  A lot of you know Melinda Doster – she has demoed and taught for us often.  Over the years, she has sung the praises of her beloved North Carolina Tar Heels – and just to be ornery, I became a Duke fan.  So the last two times North Carolina has won the NCAA basketball championship, the mailman has brought me a North Carolina t-shirt, courtesy of Melinda.  I never dreamed that I would have a chance to get even – in basketball, I am a University of Dayton fan, and the Flyers just don’t soar to those heights.  But this year, the Tar Heels came down to earth and ended up playing Dayton in the finals of the NIT – and Dayton won!  So the next day, I went out in search of an appropriate shirt to send south.

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Friday, she wore hers and I wore my most recent one – and no, it wasn’t planned.  Couldn’t resist getting a photo or two.  That’s my honorary aunt, Dee Mielke, in the other picture with Melinda.

Here are a few pictures I took of our booth after we finished setup today – complete with a few extra feet to one side where Tweety Jill’s creations will take flight . . .

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If you’re in Florida, most likely by the time you read this the first day of the show will already have come and gone.  But there’s always Sunday!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

StampFest Orlando – Make Sure You Go to the Right Place!

We will be in Kissimmee, Florida this weekend for StampFest Orlando.  The show is a week earlier than most years – for a reason.  The Radisson where it has been held in recent years has serious air conditioning issues in its ballroom (translation – it’s hot in there).  I watched our customers literally dripping last year, while a representative of the hotel was in the room telling us that it wasn’t hot in there.  Some customers heard her – and their response wasn’t pretty.  So Debby & Rick found a new location on the other side of I-4 where the A/C is guaranteed to work.  But for this year alone, they had to move the show up a week.

So this year’s show will be held at:
Ramada Orlando Celebration Resort
6575 W. Irlo Bronson Memorial Hwy.
Kissimmee, FL 34747

This is important information, especially if you get one of our flyers in the mail – because that flyer has the last year’s address on it.  It’s a series of mixups – when Debby & Rick sent out the vendor application, they forgot to change the site information (we already knew it was moving anyway).  Then when Gary made up the flyers, he took the address info from that application!  And since I am in the middle of three consecutive shows, I didn’t get a chance to proofread like I usually do.

The bottom line is this – make sure you go to the right place!  And pass the word to your friends – I surely don’t want any of our customers to go back to the Radisson, find no one there, and go home frustrated (especially when we’ll be about a mile away).

Monday, June 14, 2010

A View of Our Giveaway That I Hadn’t Seen . . .

If you’ve read this blog much or spent time in our booth at a show, then you’re probably familiar with our giveaways.  They started about three years ago, and there was a method to our madness – the shows seemed like they were getting a little stale and we were searching for something to give the customers a little excitement.  And if it kept them in the building a little longer in the afternoon, so much the better!  So we started passing out tickets to everyone who made a purchase in our booth, and an hour before the show ended I would climb up on a ladder, act silly, and give away prizes.  It worked – the customers seem to love it, and many have told me that it’s entertaining even if they don’t win anything.

But I have only observed the scene from my perspective – never from yours.  You have seen the pictures that I take, so you have some idea of the view from up on the ladder.  Now, thanks to “Tweety Jill” Haglund, I have seen it through your eyes – she took several pictures during the giveaway in Springfield last week and sent them to me when she got home.

gathering to watch Greg give away prizes

Jill is starting to make her way around the end of our booth – this drawing was held behind it (or as I like to refer to it, going behind the curtain to see the Wonderful Wizard of Oz) . . .


Finally around the corner enough to watch that nut try to keep from falling.  Now I think I understand why that ladder is a good idea – I thought I did it so I could see someone in the back who had the right nunber and “woo hooed” . . .

a crowd for Greg!

There are this many people on the other side of me, too – and in front of me!

Man of the hour!

Good thing there’s a zoom on that lens . . .


And this is why I tell people to come back on Sunday – lots fewer “competitors”.  Let’s face it – we’re all friends, but for five minutes or so, this is war . . .

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Two Shows for the Price of None . . .

It has been a hectic couple of weeks.  I collected some photos during the Springfield, Massachusetts show last weekend, but one thing led to another and I didn’t take time to post them before leaving for this weekend’s show in Collinsville, Illinois.  Now I have Collinsville photos – and a show in Orlando next weekend (as I said, one thing leads to another).  So I had better share some of these before my cell phone explodes.

Springfield is one of the biggest shows of the year, and it’s always fun to stand at the end of an aisle and watch the crowd wash upstream in the seconds after the show opens.  So allow me a little “time lapse photography” . . .


10:00:10 a.m.


10:00:30 a.m.


Inside our booth at 10:01 a.m. (we LOVE New England!)

Jill in Booth

This was also the first appearance in our booth for “Tweety Jill” Haglund.  If you haven’t seen her collection of stamps, card kits, collage kits, and more – you should.  She’ll be with us next weekend (June 19-20) in Kissimmee, Florida at the Ramada Celebration Resort (a week earlier than most years, in a new location with guaranteed functioning air conditioning!)


I had two lasting images from the weekend.  This was one – those are serious backpackers . . .

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And this is the other.  Michelle and Steve from Toomuchfun Rubber Stamps have a new daughter, Alana.  Several of the vendors’ kids enjoyed spending time with her over the weekend, but none like Jesse, son of Deb and Sam from Stamp On It.  Jesse spent all weekend in a chair next to Alana, making sure she had company when Steve was running a cash register.

The Collinsville show brought lasting images of its own . . .


Sue Rothamel from USArtQuest is not sitting in a box during setup, but it sure looked like it at first glance.


Norm Weed from Polly’s Pals was offering “train rides” for the munchkins before the show opened . . .


And Sue got a bit of a slap to the ego when a couple of visitors to her demo said they had never heard of USArtQuest.  I couldn’t resist – whipped out my cell phone and asked that everyone who had never heard of USArtQuest before Saturday raise their hands . . .


But they soon were educated – this lady bought one of Sue’s books and immediately sat down to read it.


Of course, not everyone has as much fun as we do . . .

Stop back tomorrow, when I’ll show you a view from our convention giveaways that many of you have seen, but I had never experienced . . .

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

How to Draw a Crowd on Short Notice . . .

I surely wouldn’t have done it this way – I got home from Massachusetts on Monday evening, and found out shortly after that Stacey Richardson from Sweet Stamps was making a Wednesday stop in the store.  But my e-mail server has been down, which made it impossible to use “normal” methods to alert the masses.  So I did what I could – a note on the blog, a note on the Facebook page, and a few signs in the store.  That, plus word of mouth, led to this . . .

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And for those of you who asked (and yes, there were a lot of you) – Stacey is preparing photos and step-by-step directions, which I will post as soon as she gets them to me.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

“Pit Stop” Make It & Take It

Here’s some fun for the Wednesday Make It & Take It crowd at our store!  Stacey Richardson from Sweet Stamps is traveling with her family from last weekend’s show in Massachusetts to this weekend’s show in Collinsville, Illinois (near St. Louis) – and she has agreed to make a “pit stop” at Marco’s on Wednesday afternoon from 1:00 to 3:00 for a special afternoon version of our Free Make It & Take It!

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So grab your stamping kit and come on by and get a taste of what Stacey will be bringing to Marco’s during Convention Week in August!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

An Old Friend Returns to the Booth . . .

We have had a LOT of requests to put Rubber Stamp Tapestry’s peg sets back into the booth since Don picked up that big heavy cart back in September.  The intent was to get a smaller cart that was easier to get off and on the truck, but one thing after another kept getting into our ways and it didn’t happen.  But we exchanged a few e-mails over the past month, and a big box full of sets was waiting for us when we arrived in Springfield, MA for this weekend’s show.


I think Don & Susan will be pleased with the new layout we came up with yesterday – hope you will be as well if you get a chance to visit our booth at a show!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

M-A-Double S-A-C-H-U-S-E-Double T-S . . .

Did you ever sing that song when you were a kid?  I did – that’s how I learned how to spell “Massachusetts”.  And that’s where we are this weekend – at the Big E (Eastern States Exposition) in West Springfield for the big New England show.  I look forward to this one every year – come out and see us if you’re up this way (10:00-5:00 Saturday, 11:00-4:00 Sunday in the Better Living Center).


And of course, this was an absolute necessity – the first photo of Karen and David with their new grandson (taken last week when they went to North Carolina to meet him) . . .