1. As widely reported by the anti-gun networks, they are not filled with gung-ho pro-gun kooks. I was probably the biggest “pro-gun kook” out of all the people I met Saturday and Sunday. Most people were reverent in their demeanor, respectful and simply there to have a good time looking at the multitude of awesome weapons that were available.
2. Sitting across from a gun-show regular, who only sells one product (magnesium fire starters), you will hear the same pitch 789 times a day. Literally, the same pitch, the same jokes and the same answers to the same questions. If anyone has any questions about magnesium starters, please message me. In all fairness, he warned me I would hear the same pitch over and over, he was very nice and gave us rookies some good pointers.
3. There will be signs. People walk around with signs attached to their backs advertising for different booths or for private items for sale. They marched in formation, put signs on their kids and wore silly costumes. To each his own I guess.
4. Bringing a half ton of merchandise, hoping to sell a half-ton of merchandise is not wise … it’s a bunch of frigging work! In my defense, we had no idea which of our products would sell, so I opted for a shotgun approach. I will be using a “rifle” approach next time.
5. Almost all of the vendors there are great people who are just trying to put some extra bread on the table for their family. I am truly a better person having met them. There was one old, crusty bastard who gave me the stank-eye when my pitches got too loud, but he was like 104 years old. I figure he has the right to be a crusty old bastard. If I live that long, I can totally see myself channeling his inner bastardness.
6. There is cultural diversity at gun shows.
7. Cops, security guards and other vendors are customers too. We did a healthy bit of business with the folks that work the show. Good to know.
8. Scouting is alive and well. We had three Eagle Scouts visit our booth. That’s about as rare as meeting a celebrity eating at Mcdonalds.
9. Facebook fans are the best. Thank you guys for coming by!
10. There will be gun cases. OMG the gun-cases! I’m pretty sure if you searched all of them you would find Jimmy Hoffa.
11. You have built-in credibility with skeptics. Several people asked me, “How do I know your company is legit?” or questions like that. My response was very simple. “Bob, if I ran a shady company I would be targeting arts and crafts shows and Obama rallies instead of gun shows where everyone has a gun.” Everyone agreed with my logic.
12. My wife is much stronger than I thought. She lifted, heaved and loaded side by side with me all day. Much props to my lady.
13. You do not make as much money as you would think. Wes sold around $4000 worth of merchandise. However, after expenses and extra costs, we only netted around $500. I will do better next time, as we now know which items are more popular and more profitable.
14. Wise Food storage vendors haven’t a chance against knowledgeable Mountain House sellers. We literally cleaned their clock. I counted the amount of buckets they started with and how many they had left at the end of the show and it was not pretty. I know this for a fact because I saw their trailer before the show and they carried all of their food storage inside. WINNING!
15. Not all gun shows are the same. Different regions produce different types of buyers and budgets. A smart retailer will know these differences before determining which merchandise to bring and which price-points to target.
16. If you want to buy a bazooka, you can. Ammunition for a bazooka … not so much.
17. Made in America is alive and well. There was one vendor who was selling items imported from China (at very good prices) parked right next to a vendor who had a huge sign that read “NOT Made in China.” You can guess which vendor had the longest lines.
18. Pack a lunch. Almost every vendor packed a lunch, and not because they wanted to save money. Most of them had some rather scary stories about eating from the food vendors at gun shows. I’m sure they are not all bad … but I’d rather be safe than sorry.
19. Everyone is polite. Which proves the point, “an armed society is a polite society.”
20. I couldn’t think of number 20, but 20 things I learned at a gun show sounded better than 19.