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What do you want in a gun show?

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Every time I leave one of the gun shows here in Knoxville, I have a list of complaints a mile long. I assume I am not the only one. What do you guys want to see in a gun show? What do they not have that they should? What do they have that they shouldn't? I am looking to organize a gun show here in Knoxville and I want to fix these problems. All advice will be appreciated.

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A reduction in the number of socks and tactical beef jerky would be a great start.

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Free admission.   I don't have to pay anywhere else I go to look at items I might purchase.   

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Complaints/suggestions from my experiences.
Don't charge for parking.
$10 entrance fee is too steep.
Too small of a venue makes it difficult to get around and look.
It is a "gun show" for a reason. Several in the area only seem to be about 50% firearm related.

I know a paying vendor is money to the sponsor, but really wish they would screen vendors and make sure it would be a worthwhile table.
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Every time I leave one of the gun shows here in Knoxville, I have a list of complaints a mile long. I assume I am not the only one. What do you guys want to see in a gun show? What do they not have that they should? What do they have that they shouldn't? I am looking to organize a gun show here in Knoxville and I want to fix these problems. All advice will be appreciated.

 

First off welcome...

2nd how many gun shows have you previously organized?

3rd they should have reasonable pricing.

4th the beef jerky should be free...

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Lower prices? Ha...I know you can't do anything about that one.

Seriously...I don't know how you could accomplish any of this, but here's the main thing I would like to see: more individuals selling used guns, fewer dealers selling new stuff. If I want to know what a dealer has I'll go to their store. Also, I'm one of those who prefer not to wade through tables of used books and wool socks when I go to a gun show. I know they help pay the bills, but why not have a gun show that's exactly what it says? Finally, lower admission prices or half price for NRA members or something. It's been over 5 years since I've bought anything at a gun show, but I still like to go. But throwing away $8-10 every time is keeping me away from a lot of them.

With all that said, I applaud your motivation but I don't think you're going to be able to make any big changes. Gun shows are becoming a thing of the past because everyone puts the good stuff online. I don't know of any incentive you could offer people to sell at a show in one city vs. putting a gun online and being able to advertise to the entire country. Most of what I see these days are the old school guys who probably won't be doing it much longer and people peddling granddaddy's junk. Anymore if someone does have something desirable at a gun show, it's priced up to 5 times what it should be. Just really not worth it anymore for me. Edited by quickbiscuit
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Free admission would be great, unfortunately not feasible. These venues cost a fortune to rent, and insurance is an arm and a leg too. Then you have to advertise to let people know it is out there. All these things cost a lot of money and vendor fees alone aren't enough to provide this. I do agree a show should be as affordable as possible. I am not looking to make a fortune off organizing a show, more of a hobby than anything. I agree though $10 bucks is too much. I am thinking $5-7. Parking will definitely be free. I plan to limit the number of non-firearm booths and there will be no non-firearm related booths. Holsters ok, socks aren't. I am planning it in a smaller venue just because I don't plan to have a bunch of non firearm related vendors. I plan to limit it to less than 20% anything other than firearms  and this includes ammo and reloaders. I also hope to attract some private sellers getting rid of personal collections by offering more affordable 6' tables as well. I know I will sometimes go to shows looking for new guns, but I really like to look at the selection of used guns. Used guns also seems to be where the better deals are. I am loving the suggestions. Keep them coming! Even if it has been said already, don't be afraid to throw it out there again.

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Not at Kerbela. Or Clinton National Guard. Edited by R_Bert

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To me, this is what I want in a gun show:

1.)  New guns to be more economical than any local stocking store.

2.)  Gun accessories to be more economical or the same as any deal I can find on the internet.  Everyone has smartphones anymore.  We are not dumb or impulse buyers.  We do our homework!

3.)  Every table must be a table of guns, gun related accessories or ammo.  No ifs, ands or buts!  If you the promoter can not sell out the tables, and you have to use beef jerky or some lady selling pocket books, that might me a indication your too high on your table rentals.

4.)  Promote or encourage gun trading with individuals.  Need more good used guns walking the aisles!

 

The gate fee I get, the promoter has to pay the rent a cops, insurance, and make money, but the fee should be based upon the number of tables.  If the Ktown show is $10 to enter to see 500 tables, but the gate fee say for the small town show is $8 to see 40 tables, that is just highway robbery for the small town shows!

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no outrageous mark ups on ammo.

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#1 - $10 admission.

Really? I know there is overhead but come on. If the admission was lower there would be more attend. I'm sure if the admission was lowered to $7 - instead of the $10 I last paid at the last Knoxville show I went to - and promoted as such that the people coming through the door would increase. Many people come as families and when you bring a spouse and/or kid or two it adds up. 3 @ $21 is more appealing than 3 @ $30.

 

#2 - Space.

The aisles are very small and it is very difficult to pass through if someone is looking at tables on both sides of the aisle. I know most shows pride themselves on having 'X' amount of tables but not many people are going to fight the crowds show after show. I know many stay away from shows after having one bad experience their first time out.

Last time I was at the Expo Center gun show they had a good chunk of the place curtained off. Why? Were they not allowed to use the whole floor or was it that they only 'rented' part of it?

 

#3 - Non-gun related items.

Do we really need vendors selling nuts, fudge, popcorn, toys, coins, and made at home contraptions? The same people can be found a week later at the Expo Center Flea Market. There should be a set of Vendor Guidelines and they should be enforced by the promoter. If the vendor is in violation they are asked to leave and forfeit any/all fees paid. It is the only way to straighten up the shows in my opinion.

 

#4 - Unloading Area.

Maybe section off an area in the front of the building with sand barrels for people to safely unload their weapons (if they are carrying). I have seen a lot of unsafe handling at the zip strip/gun check table. I even seen a guy once sweep 8 people (4 were the LEOs working the table) trying to unload his weapon. I feel if someone is clearing their weapon it should be done safely in a designated area. A lot of show promoters do not promote safety beyond the zip strip on a gun.

 

#5 - NRA Member Discount.

As a NRA Recruiter I know there is a 'free admission' deal worked out between the Recruiter & Show Promoter when people join at the shows where a NRA Recruiter is stationed. But there is no discount for those who are already a standing member. "A little goes a long way in my opinion." Offer $1 off for Annual Members and $2 off Life Members who show their card. The NRA Membership Card says Annual Member or Life Member on the face of the card so it is not too hard to honor that if it were to be done.

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on Williamsburgs list

 

1.  Really like as I skip allot of shows as I figure I don't want to pay 20 bucks to get me and my wife both in,  fine, 18 with 2 dollar off coupons.  Still paying for her to walk around and not buy anything. 

 

2.  Good points.

 

3.  Yea I see allot of non gun related stuff.

 

4.  I like the unloading area idea, would be much better then right at the door way where others are trying to squeeze past you.  One of those pop up canopys would be the trick outside with those sand barrels.

 

5.  I would always like a discount.

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Having a lot of experience in craft and hobby fairs, mostly as a seller, but also as a small show promoter; I can understand everyones' comments about admissions fees and types of offerings at the current crop of gun shows around the country. I understand that we as attendees want more guns and gun related items than non-related. I know that entrance fees are high, and that spaces are usually cramped.

But the real, harsh truth of the matter is that it isn't going to change.

Available venues are slim. Rental cost are going thru the roof. Liability costs are increasing almost daily. Expenses are increasing even faster.

These are items that you as a promoter really have no control over. If you can get a rental on exhibit space, public or political conditions may cause you problems in getting in once you mention fireams displaysand sales. And the thought of just any john q. public possibly walking around with a gun not controlled behind that secure table or on a rope or chain just sends some building owners or manages into screaming shakes of fear.

And when you get an available venue, you'll almost always have to relax the standards on who you will rent space to just to meet the necessary rental fees.

I guess what I'm saying is that most of us need to get off our high horse and realize the real world restrictions and necessities of renting commercial space and filling it with vendors. It ain't easy. I know this for truth from experience.

We can complain and gripe about show promoters forever, but it doesn't change the immutable facts of cost and the numbers needed to meet expenses, let alone make a profit.

Good luck. I hope you can manage it and be successful.

Now...as to our "wants" in a gun show.

Pricing should be better than local retail pricing. How? Pricing is fixed except for the larger dealers; those with very high volume sales numbers. Small lgs can't lower their pricing and survive.
that goes for guns and accessories and supplies. About the only way to sell lower is to buyer cheaper. How to do that? Not have a brick and mortar location? Sure that will cut down some costs, but you still haveto have and FFL for firearms. And getting one without a fixed location these days is darn near impossible. It can be done, but not easily.

Content of the show. Well, that is something the promoter can control. I'm sure many try, but still comes down to meeting the requirements for rental dollars. If you are several spaces short of full; what do youdo? Pay it out of your pocket? Or find somone willing to rent that space. You decide.

Have more individuals selling personal guns by renting tables. I have done that. It can be fun. It can be productive, as in moving something I no longer want.

It can also be a pain in the ass. How many times do you want to hear "I can get it cheaper, or it's not worth that much?" "I can get it on the internet at a better price."

And the clandestine visits by the BATFE guys. How do you do this? Sell many? Making anything today?

Not all of the people walking around asking those innocent questions are doing it just to be friendly.

And how many lgs owners really want to see an individual he's sold to out there cutting into his sales and profits? We all know that the greatest profits for the shop are on trade in sales and used guns.

I'm sure these dealers just love having us across the way staring them in the face.

Yes, there are exceptions to all of these arguments. But in the whole, I think all I've said is valid.

And now...the disclaimer. All previous comments are Just My Opinion.
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on Williamsburgs list

 

1.  Really like as I skip allot of shows as I figure I don't want to pay 20 bucks to get me and my wife both in,  fine, 18 with 2 dollar off coupons.  Still paying for her to walk around and not buy anything. 

 

2.  Good points.

 

3.  Yea I see allot of non gun related stuff.

 

4.  I like the unloading area idea, would be much better then right at the door way where others are trying to squeeze past you.  One of those pop up canopys would be the trick outside with those sand barrels.

 

5.  I would always like a discount.

 

Here is a $2 off coupon I use for the Knox shows. I print a sheet out and give to a few people in line behind us to share the wealth.

 

Makes it ony $16 for you and your wife. :up:

http://www.cjlenterprize.com/images/fad63ca21fa09098578d463341d7f9d9.png

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best of luck with your fantasy

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#3 - Non-gun related items.

Do we really need vendors selling nuts, fudge, popcorn, toys, coins, and made at home contraptions? The same people can be found a week later at the Expo Center Flea Market. There should be a set of Vendor Guidelines and they should be enforced by the promoter. If the vendor is in violation they are asked to leave and forfeit any/all fees paid. It is the only way to straighten up the shows in my opinion.

 

While I can do without pot holders and Emu oil lip balm you really do need vendors selling nuts, fudge, popcorn and the likes of to help keep people inside and looking around a little bit longer....

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Make it 20 bucks to get in and give everyone a ticket for 10 bucks off any purchase. Free parking Require vendors to bathe at least once a week No nazi junk Vendors not allowed to use offensive methods to hawk warez. Like miss idiot zapping a tazer every. 2 minutes. Non gun related crap back corner. Have a NRA corner for Eddie eagle, kids activities, and. NRA drives. Allow dealers to run show only specials to entice attendees to buy and maybe get a good deal. Sand barrels for unloading weapons Treat show attendees like humans, and not goodman show participants. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk 2 of course it ate my spelling.

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Hot chicks with fake boobs in tight t-shirts.

 

In fact, forget the guns.

 

 

 

 

(Kidding. I hate attempts to manipulate me that way).

Edited by tnguy
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Complaints/suggestions from my experiences.
Don't charge for parking.
$10 entrance fee is too steep.
Too small of a venue makes it difficult to get around and look.
It is a "gun show" for a reason. Several in the area only seem to be about 50% firearm related.

I know a paying vendor is money to the sponsor, but really wish they would screen vendors and make sure it would be a worthwhile table.

 

Maybe make the entry fee a $10 (assuming it is $10) off voucher for any vendor. That way you still make money off the lookey-pokeys, the vendors get the bonus that it encourages visitors to make purchasers and the visitors are more likely to come if they think they might effectively get in for free. That's win-win-win.

 

Dang. I should have read down to Dustbusters post. Great minds...

 

Oh, another point. Along the lines of worthwhile vendors, wander around the floor during the show, pick the best vendors and next time around, five them the prime spots.

Edited by tnguy

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there is no charge for parking at gun shows in Knox.  I am pretty sure if that started the gun shows here would die.

 

And without the regular vendors we all expect to see at gunshows you would have a gunshow worthy of the Smoky Mountain Gun and Knife Show.  Which I could host in my driveway.

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WRT the lower prices, ideally the vendor is going to a place where there would be a lot of potential customers but also some competition. Under those circumstances, you would expect lower prices. Less margin, more volume. If the vendors aren't going to lower their prices, people aren't going to buy and you aren't going to see any advantage from being at the show and you get a vicious spiral. They're supposed to be there to sell, so sell. Don't just hope the gullible will buy.

Edited by tnguy
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I suppose somewhere there still exist Gun Shows with >85% of the booths actually featuring firearms and accessories. I have fond memories of such shows years ago.

Haven't been to a Gun Show in years because of the dismal "watered down" state of affairs in most contemporary shows.

So bottom line suggestion is if it's called a "Gun Show" feature guns.

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