(Topic ID: 181882)

Booth at Flea Market - Selling / Playing pins


By bdPinball

2 years ago



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  • 18 posts
  • 10 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 2 years ago by bdPinball
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    #1 2 years ago

    Now that I have a few games - more than will comfortably fit set-up in may garage, and with my decision to be more careful about my public contacts through Craig's List, I thought I might set up a booth at the flea market and sell some games out of there. Maybe it could double as a "Pinball Museum" or something and people can pay to play them, and if someone wants to buy one, that'd be just ducky. By the way, my games are of the early solid state variety. I think my newest game is 95. So it's not like I'm not thinking of taking a bunch of $5,000 pins to the flea market. Thought I should clarify that.

    I went to one of the local flea markets this last week, and a booth with an AC, and enough power to run maybe 5 pins and maybe a 60-in-one. Might be about $300 a Month. I like the temporary aspect of the flea market, that is you aren't required to sign a long term contract. Heck, I can set up for a single day, then pack my stuff up and go home! But they have security, and I thought I might make a go of it for a month to test the waters. I'm in a unique position with my day job where I can get my job done in the first part of the week, and then be available for this Fri, Sat, & Sunday. Apparently they require you to have your booth open on the days they are, from 9-4. That seems reasonable I guess. Looks bad to have a bunch of booths not open.

    My girlfriend and I disagree about the popularity of Pinball, and the current zeitgeist surrounding it, but it seems to me that antique pinball machines are just the sort of antique things they sell at the flea market. Just a little bigger. The people one sees typically wondering around these flea market are on the average - not all ways, but there are many older people in this group, and my premise is that now they have retired, this will give them a chance to relive some of their youthful pinball days - like before all those video games came along. And, maybe something for some of the husbands to do while their wives examine the depression glass.

    Anyone else do anything like this? I mean, I know there are lots of storefronts as arcades, but I mean a sort of Sales/Arcade mashup. I asked them and they said at this particular flea market they didn't know of anyone having any pinball machines, video games, etc since they opened some 50 years ago. I find that a little hard to believe, since my recollection was that the things were fairly ubiquitous in the 70s. I KNOW the flea market I went to as a kid had an bunch of pins. Whenever we'd go to the flea market I'd spend my time in there while mom shopped.

    Maybe it's just me wanting to live MY glory days. My girlfriend may be right, I might be projecting. It's sort of a nitch thing, these aren't the multi-level zillion-mode games.

    -B

    #2 2 years ago

    I recently put a few pins in a weekend fleamarket booth and had alot of fun.
    Lot's of people, surprisingly mostly women , stopped by and wanted to play or talk pinball.
    Also a few kids that thought these games were almost as good as smartphone apps.
    This was however just a weekend that attracted alot of people, don't know if i would do this on a rebular basis.

    #3 2 years ago

    You'd need EMs if you wanted them to 'relive their youth before video games came along', not a 60in1 and Solid State pins. That'd be reminding them of 'when' video games came out.

    #4 2 years ago

    I don't think it would be a bad idea to give it a try but I would suggest getting a banner made up (they are very cheap online these days) "saying we buy pinball machines". You might be surprised and end up buying more than you sell.

    I have actually toyed with the idea of taking a couple "rough" EM's along when I set up at a couple of our local outdoor markets just to "test the water" with both buying & selling.

    #5 2 years ago

    It would probably be better for trying to buy pins since most people would probably stop and talk about all of the pins they used to play back when, how a neighbor has this or that pin, or their relative has a pin that doesn't work but takes up space. Mostly just tire-kickers and dreamers probably, but it might be worth a shot.

    #6 2 years ago
    Quoted from Agent_Hero:

    It would probably be better for trying to buy pins since most people would probably stop and talk about all of the pins they used to play back when, how a neighbor has this or that pin, or their relative has a pin that doesn't work but takes up space. Mostly just tire-kickers and dreamers probably, but it might be worth a shot.

    My thoughts exactly! I don't know for sure you would sell many machines but if you sold a machine now and then and were able to buy a few here & there it might work out well. One thing for sure is you will never know without trying it. I would say 3 month trial to give it a "fair chance". I don't think one month is long enough to see if it would work but I wouldn't want to do it for a year if it didn't work out so 3 or 4 months should tell you most of the story.

    Maybe try 3 months this Spring & if it doesn't work try again for 3 months in the Fall? I would doubt if Summer would be the "best months to do it in Florida but who knows?

    #7 2 years ago
    Quoted from too-many-pins:

    My thoughts exactly! I don't know for sure you would sell many machines but if you sold a machine now and then and were able to buy a few here & there it might work out well. One thing for sure is you will never know without trying it. I would say 3 month trial to give it a "fair chance". I don't think one month is long enough to see if it would work but I wouldn't want to do it for a year if it didn't work out so 3 or 4 months should tell you most of the story.
    Maybe try 3 months this Spring & if it doesn't work try again for 3 months in the Fall? I would doubt if Summer would be the "best months to do it in Florida but who knows?

    Funny you should say that. When I was there last week scouting the booth, I was talking to the people that work there, custodians, and other adjacent vendors and such, and I struck up this conversation with a guy selling beds I guess.. Next he tells me about two pins for sale down the street. What's the new-fangled word? Networking? Heh.

    -Brian

    #8 2 years ago

    Fun idea -- I think it would attract some people in for sure, but probably not too many sales as others have guessed. Be interesting to see. Also agree about EMs

    #9 2 years ago

    We set up at a flea market two hours north last July 4th which draws in a huge crowd. We took some antiques and other cool stuff to sell and I also took four playfields to sell plus had my banner hung up and handed out a bunch of business cards....
    The playfields drew lots of attention, even if many people didn't know what they were you could see them staring at them from a distance. I think they were Kiss, Judge Dredd, WoZ and OXO. All of them with no parts and cleaned up decent enough for a wall hanger, obviously the WoZ is NOS and probably drew the most people in because they could connect to it and the Kiss and the fact there shiny eye candy. I was surprised how many people recognized the JD theme. Price wise they were anywhere from $25-$300 each so that covered everyone's budget, or so I thought.
    Anyways, I was always eager to talk to who ever wanted to tell me about there childhood memory's of lifting the games up higher on the front end to slow the ball roll......, I've heard them all before.......LOL.
    Some people wanted there game fixed but we live too far away to make a house call and some people were wanting to know how much there old game that they can't remember the name of was worth and how much I would pay for it. UGH!! Basically I talked to a lot of tire kickers, didn't sell any playfields, didn't buy or sell any games out of it but that's ok because we sold some other stuff and talking pinball with people always helps to pass the time. This wasn't the first time we did this and I'd do it again for sure but I never expect anything out of it. I have better look doing this during our garage sales because all those people that come to the sale are local's and they always remember this being the house that had the pinball machines for sale in the garage..., and that always brings them back for more...LOL.

    John

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    #10 2 years ago

    My parents sent me a pic of a booth in Indy that had some arcade games to play. I thought that was neat.

    #11 2 years ago

    I had thought about the same thing as I run out of room in the house. The local flea market is 10 minutes away. Depending on your local pinball scene, I think you could put them on coin drop or charge a flat fee to play them... maybe a club aspect. If you had enough interest you could try and hold tournaments, etc. Plus it gives you more room to add to your collection, and a way to subsidize it.
    Curious to see if you can make a go of it. Good luck!

    #12 2 years ago

    Talked to the Revenuers.. Heh.. And apparently if they don't take quarters, you don't need that sort of license. Use pay your usual sales tax on your proceeds. If you start taking quarters, that is when things get kind of - well harder. Up to 35 machines, and they're in one spot, you can just post a license saying "We've paid the tax on x machiens blah blah blah.." and it's like 150 + 30 per machine or something. I think there is some weird July-June thing. But I don't see why I need to take quarters, I could do it with blocks of games, or, if I did it on a timed basis, I guess that takes some of the reward out of the thing- If winning the free games don't mean anything- I guess it's the same thing at home. Games not being worth anything leads to things like- Starting a new game when ball 1 doesn't meet your expectations.

    I thought maybe I could sell other mancave items- Jukeboxes, Slot machines - who knows.

    I may just do this. I really wish it wasn't Friday Saturday & Sundy- I'm not sure how much traffic there is going to be on a Friday.

    -Brian

    #13 2 years ago
    Quoted from bdPinball:

    Talked to the Revenuers.. Heh.. And apparently if they don't take quarters, you don't need that sort of license. Use pay your usual sales tax on your proceeds. If you start taking quarters, that is when things get kind of - well harder. Up to 35 machines, and they're in one spot, you can just post a license saying "We've paid the tax on x machiens blah blah blah.." and it's like 150 + 30 per machine or something. I think there is some weird July-June thing. But I don't see why I need to take quarters, I could do it with blocks of games, or, if I did it on a timed basis, I guess that takes some of the reward out of the thing- If winning the free games don't mean anything- I guess it's the same thing at home. Games not being worth anything leads to things like- Starting a new game when ball 1 doesn't meet your expectations.
    I thought maybe I could sell other mancave items- Jukeboxes, Slot machines - who knows.
    I may just do this. I really wish it wasn't Friday Saturday & Sundy- I'm not sure how much traffic there is going to be on a Friday.
    -Brian

    Brian,

    Friday might actually surprise you. I have been in markets like that and typically Friday was better than Sunday. To me the hardest part was giving up every weekend. But on the flip side you can be playing machines while you are watching the space so how bad will playing pinball all weekend really be? Best of luck & keep us posted!

    #14 2 years ago

    Too many pins- Friday Huh? Okay. And yeah, that's sort of what I was thinking - how bad could it be? Play Pinball all weekend?

    See the thing is, when I play MY games, as I'm playing and I see little problems or things I can adjust or fix it's hard for me but to instantly rip the glass off and get to it- I forseee dragging maybe more than a few tools with me- and the caps, and connectors, rubbers and diodes, solonoids, and leds and flipper kits, solder, sucker, and then dad pointed out if I leave my leaf adjustment tool there one weekend.. I'd be out of luck.

    2 weeks later
    #15 2 years ago

    Preliminary Flier idea I was fooling with.

    Put in the app for sales tax use, I called it Silverballs.

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    #16 2 years ago

    Actually, I did this long time ago. Back when we had flee markets around. Silver springs and Harrisburg Drive in flee markets. I would set up two EM pins on free play and sell what ever other stuff I had. Put business cards on them stating I buy and sell used arcade games. Mostly it was just people wanting to play or look at the games. Once in a while I would get someone tell me how they had an old game sitting in their basement and wanted me to come look at it. I think I only sold 1 or 2 games from people I met there but what the heck.
    Not much difference from putting wanted ads in the paper. You do end up getting to chat a lot about your hobby though.

    #17 2 years ago

    It's official. I'm booth 55 at the USA flea market. Right across from the business office. I'll be open sporadically - or as my friend Ray used to advertise, "by Chance" for the first couple weekends.

    I was thinking Black Knight, Meteor, Future Spa, laser ball to start with

    #18 2 years ago
    Quoted from arcademojo:

    Actually, I did this long time ago. Back when we had flee markets around. Silver springs and Harrisburg Drive in flee markets. I would set up two EM pins on free play and sell what ever other stuff I had. Put business cards on them stating I buy and sell used arcade games. Mostly it was just people wanting to play or look at the games. Once in a while I would get someone tell me how they had an old game sitting in their basement and wanted me to come look at it. I think I only sold 1 or 2 games from people I met there but what the heck.
    Not much difference from putting wanted ads in the paper. You do end up getting to chat a lot about your hobby though.

    I guess I anticipate that. When I wear my Pin-shirts out in public it's all anybody wants to talk about. At least older poeple. The lady across from my booth says to me, "I've been saying they should open an arcade in here for years!"

    Time will Tell if it's a profitable venture, just something that keeps the doors open and not much more, or if it's a flop.

    Gotta go start haulin' games. Black Knight is the first one!

    -B

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