Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Dog Treats and Pack Mules and Pigs, Oh My!

We spent last weekend with hundreds and hundreds of friends in Allentown, Pennsylvania.  This is the show that used to be in Pennsauken, New Jersey – but moved to Allentown when the Expo Center in Pennsauken was sold and the new owners announced it would be torn down.  The last time I was down that way, the building was still there.  So then the show was at an Expo Center in Allentown for a few years – but moved to the Allentown Fairgrounds when the Expo Center was sold and the new owners announced it would be torn down.  This is our fourth year at the Fairgrounds, and the Expo Center building is still there.

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I took two quick shots of the crowd just seconds before the show opened (couldn’t get them all in one shot).  The second shot looked much like the first, until I looked real close and saw one person mugging for the camera.  So I cropped her out and we’ll see if she reads this blog and gets to see herself . . .

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Thirty seconds later, the show was open and customers were streaming past me.  Thirty seconds after that, our booth was filled with shoppers and some were already seated at the demo table.

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The first two customers we had proved who the celebrity is at our company.  Bev Parnell brought homemade dog treats for Zoe – rabbits, squirrels, cats, bones and more – and some of them iced.  My dog is in heaven.  And Gwen Emanuel made a very fancy Zoe card, which is now prominently displayed in our kitchen.  Our customers are the best.  As I said to Bev -- “You make my dog happy, I make you happy . . .”


Part of our demo area was taken up by tubs full of scrap packs for a dollar, and a box full of packs of old legal forms, tags and such under the heading “Remember When We Used to Use Paper?”

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I couldn’t resist – these two pack mules were good sports, even though they looked like they were bored out of their minds.  They kept each other company and never moved for an hour and a half while their wives were taking in Sue Rothamel’s demo.  Then they brought big piles of USArtQuest goodies over to me, paid for them, and hauled them out to their cars.

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If you have been in our store, you have probably seen Tammie Hoium working there.  She spent the weekend staffing the Lost Coast Designs booth with her daughter Beka.  The nicely posed shot at left was the second one I took – and I told them that I was going to post the “clowning around” shot as well.


About 4:00 on Saturday afternoon, it finally got warm enough that the fairgrounds staff turned the air conditioners on.  In this building, that means that long droopy tubes inflate and cool air blows out the holes.  But while they’re inflating, the low deep whump, whump, whump sound as each tube inflates is more than a little unsettling . . .

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When the show ended on Saturday, I decided to take in a minor league baseball game at Coca-Cola Park, the home of the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs.  The team nickname is a reminder of the steel industry that used to be the heart of the Allentown-Bethlehem area.  Three years ago, I was at the second game ever played in this park – but my seats weren’t this good.  I parked the truck about 50 yards from the outfield wall (for three bucks), and on my way to the ticket window a very nice gentleman sold me one of his season ticket seats (his son couldn’t come) for eight bucks and I sat twelve rows behind the plate.

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Minor league baseball means lots of advertising on the outfield walls – and here, even above them.  And there’s always a show going on.  The Iron Pigs are the AAA affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies, and on this night the Phillie Phanatic was on hand.  As team mascots go, the Phanatic is about as good as it gets.

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Finally, this view from Sunday – Sue Rothamel was still drawing a crowd.  And this is proof that her demo is really good – because after Saturday there was very little left to sell on her display . . .

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