(Topic ID: 119690)

Largest pinball show?


By Domino7

4 years ago



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  • Latest reply 1 year ago by MrBally
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    There are 88 posts in this topic. You are on page 2 of 2.
    #51 3 years ago

    Next Ann Arbor michigan show will have 300 unique and restored pin game titles. Not many places or shows can beat that. I don't think papa can. (Note "unique" titles is the key, papa has a lot of duplicate titles.)

    2 years later
    #52 1 year ago

    Just thought I would give a update on the Banning collection. We did inventory a few months ago and it is now close to 700 pins (no doubles on the floor). And a think 400 arcades. Plus tons of stuff in containers and more coming every week. This collection is out of control. Earlier this year they started a volunteer tech program. Its friggin awesome to be a part of it. Us nobs can learn from some old dogs that have been repairing since the 70s.
    At next week's Pinball Madness event, I would estimate 90% of the machines are working. Not just operational, but fully dialed in.

    #53 1 year ago

    Wow that's pretty cool about banning. We will have 400 games at the 2018 Ann Arbor show fully restored and fully working. I can't imagine 700. That's an incredible number and if you can keep them all working what a job!

    #54 1 year ago

    Well, if you don't have to move them all in a weekend, that's awesome. Of course keeping 1100 games all in good working order has to be hard. I think we had 425 games at the last Northwest Pinball & Arcade Show... hauling them all there and back to people's homes is quite a labor of love involving 100 volunteers, 60 people's collections, 5 large trucks and dozens more people individually transporting their own games.

    #55 1 year ago

    Clay,
    If you could get more vendor participation you truly would have the perfect show.
    Not saying I know how to do that but it would be a great addition.
    At the expo I spent as much time shopping as playing.
    Your show is as good as I've seen.
    Bud

    #56 1 year ago
    Quoted from Budwin:

    Clay,
    If you could get more vendor participation you truly would have the perfect show.

    Yes, we agree…however space and people are the problem.

    Space: The VFW is a dedicated, year-round facility, not a rented convention hall. It does not make economic sense to have 5-10 K square foot of empty hall for 362 days so we can have vendor space for one show a year.

    Every year we encourage vendors/sellers to come and sell flee market style outdoors ala Allentown, however it’s tough to gain traction on this consistently on a year to year basis.

    In 2015 & 2016 we had Terry / PinballLife as a vendor. We like it, the public liked it, however Terry basically said that there was not enough “juice for the squeeze”. Pulling parts from stock, cramming the van full of stuff, bringing pre-orders, returning all the unsold stuff to stock, etc…all extra work. This year he came to enjoy himself, socialize and play pinball. We respect that. If Terry has a change in heart for 2018, I’m sure Clay will create space.

    To be clear, if anyone wishes to bring a game to the show, set it up, and offer it for sale we WILL find indoor space. Anyone who wants to set up an EZ up outside and sell, we will bend over backwards to accommodate. Bring a trailer and sell out of it? GREAT! Bring a truck full of pin stuff? YES! Just let Clay know.

    People: Our main goal for the VFW show is the pinball playing experience for the public. To this end, we limit ticket sales to prevent over-crowding. This is sorta counterproductive for vendors. Vendors would like to see a 2K head count. We cannot accommodate that number, so we understand if vendors choose not to come.

    Doug D.
    VFW Member & Show Staff

    #57 1 year ago

    Terry from Pinball Life basically says this about our show... "vending your show sucks. i sit behind a counter selling nick-nacks, while everyone else is having fun. i can't do it anymore, i want to play pinball, not sell parts." It's hard to argue with that...

    #58 1 year ago

    i think being a vendor in general is difficult, at any show. with the internet, most vendors feel it's just not worth the effort. people buy stuff from there computer, so loading up and sitting behind a counter doesn't give good results for most vendors. and we *really* try and make vendors feel special. No fee to vend, none. free food and drink too. but it's still hard to get people to be vendors. they just don't want to do it anymore.

    #59 1 year ago

    I think Doug touched on the key to vending, you really need to have a large crowd of people to make it worth their while. For the Northwest Show, it's super easy to get local vendors, it's harder to get out of state vendors to drive or fly all the way here with their stock. But when they do, I think they are pretty happy they've come, we draw 3,000-4,000 people over the weekend and they buy a lot of stuff. Plus, for newer collectors, meeting a vendor and buying their products starts a relationship that can last for decades. It's kinda hard to put a price tag on those future sales, but I know when we have say an LED vendor at our show and they talk with a lot of people and sell their LEDs all weekend, they make a lot of loyal customers that will buy lots of their products online later over the years, talk up their products in forums as their favorite LED vendor, and bring a bunch of cash the next year to buy more of their product. That personal connection can be the reason why someone chooses to shop with one vendor over another.

    On a side note, I really like it when people that help put on the various shows can talk openly about this stuff, share insights and info, and help each other out. It helps all our shows and is good for the collecting community.

    #60 1 year ago

    Not in any way knowledgeable about this, but for VFW a couple of nice tents might be a good vendor area.
    IMHO that would alow for more ticket sales since there would always be a number of people outside.
    Sorry if I am speaking out of school.
    Bud

    #61 1 year ago

    Steve Young (pinball resource) stopped doing shows 10 years ago. He says that shows cost him money, in that he actually *loses* money doing shows. Because he has to close his business during the show, and in preparation to get to/from the show, etc etc. I get it... I wish it wasn't that way, but i get it.

    #62 1 year ago

    We don’t take a lot of product to shows, aside from stuff people buy and want to pickup in person. For us, the shows are about getting together and showing off what people are building with FAST and hanging out.

    We are getting ready to head out to the Portland Retro Gaming Expo this weekend! Come say hi at the booth starting Friday and then see our panel with Ben Heck on Sunday!

    Aaron
    FAST Pinball

    #63 1 year ago
    Quoted from Budwin:

    Not in any way knowledgeable about this, but for VFW a couple of nice tents might be a good vendor area.
    IMHO that would alow for more ticket sales since there would always be a number of people outside.

    Nice tents cost stupid money, trust me. It's absolutely not worth it for a show like Clay's Show, as there is no way to even sniff breaking even. I mean, my show could barely afford it.

    We have less games than Clay has, but other stuff.

    #64 1 year ago

    Plus you really can't secure tents. So that means you have to have somebody essentially guard the tent 24 hrs to make sure nothing disappears. And you can't control the environment with a tent either. Sideways rain or wind or harsh weather, nobody wants to be in a tent

    #65 1 year ago
    Quoted from cfh:

    Steve Young (pinball resource) stopped doing shows 10 years ago.

    About the same time the vendors ran out of rare playfields and plastic sets they could make big money on. Now so much has been reproduced, and you can order on line. How many flipper rebuild kits do you need to sell to break even with travel, booth, room, and food ?

    LTG : )

    #66 1 year ago
    Quoted from cfh:

    Terry from Pinball Life basically says this about our show... "vending your show sucks. i sit behind a counter selling nick-nacks, while everyone else is having fun. i can't do it anymore, i want to play pinball, not sell parts." It's hard to argue with that...

    Well said. I respect no show in the world more than Clay's. IMHO, it's the best show to play the most diverse collection of pinball machines in the world. It's not always about the money, I don't want to miss the show and play the games! I'm sorry if this is selfish, but I blame Clay for having such an awesome collection. I need at least 2 hours on Lucky Seven alone, and it's not even a pinball machine!

    #67 1 year ago

    Ann Arbor is the nicest show I have been to. Lots of rare games that are WELL MAINTAINED. Not the broken piles of junk you frequently see at other shows.
    Setting up a show is a total pain. Getting all the machines out of collector's homes onto the truck. Then unload the truck, up the ramp into an elevator. Out the elevator into the location. 3 days of fun and then everything in reverse again. As extra special bonus, every collector gets to fix their broken machines after the show. Been there, done that, total pain in the rear.

    #68 1 year ago

    Thank you Terry. The word on Genco Lucky Seven is traveling far. As it turns out, others are discovering it's unique play feature of stealing dollar bills from you and giving them to others! hahaha

    #69 1 year ago
    Quoted from cfh:

    Plus you really can't secure tents. So that means you have to have somebody essentially guard the tent 24 hrs to make sure nothing disappears. And you can't control the environment with a tent either. Sideways rain or wind or harsh weather, nobody wants to be in a tent

    Well, you can do both, they just add even crazier costs to the whole thing.

    We secured our tent by having Sheriff's patrol it at night. As you may guess, this was quite the expense.

    For climate control, we bagged the edges of the tent and then used giant heaters to climate control the temperature.

    For us, the cost for the tent including the above, which I considered both factors essential to actually having a tent with our show and part of the cost of the tent because you don't have to do either without, and it was nearly $2 / square foot.

    Considering the more you get, the cheaper it is, I would consider a small tent (say, 5,000) would still easily be $10k or more to do "right", and there is no way to make that cost effective.

    We did it because we don't have a facility like Clay does, but we're happy to not need to do it this coming year, or hopefully ever again.

    #70 1 year ago

    I think the only kind of vending that makes sense for most shows is a merch table with t-shirts, logo stuff, things you only buy at the show as keepsakes and souvenirs of the show itself. All impulse buy stuff, good margins.

    #71 1 year ago
    Quoted from Yoski:

    Ann Arbor is the nicest show I have been to. Lots of rare games that are WELL MAINTAINED. Not the broken piles of junk you frequently see at other shows.
    Setting up a show is a total pain. Getting all the machines out of collector's homes onto the truck. Then unload the truck, up the ramp into an elevator. Out the elevator into the location. 3 days of fun and then everything in reverse again. As extra special bonus, every collector gets to fix their broken machines after the show. Been there, done that, total pain in the rear.

    Our venue is pretty awesome in that the loading dock where the trucks of games are loaded and unloaded is on the same level of the facility where the show is at, no elevators. We are also real big on having regional repair parties before the show to get most of the machines in good shape and have a fantastic team of techs on hand to fix games as they go down, the result is 99% of the games on the floor are running and at the end of the show, there aren't a lot of broken games for people to deal with. It took us many years to figure out all this stuff to make the show run a lot smoother.

    #72 1 year ago
    Quoted from frolic:

    I think the only kind of vending that makes sense for most shows

    I liked what Rick at Bay Area Amusements did at Expo a few years back. He had a laptop there. And you could order online from the show. And I believe he gave free shipping in the continental US.

    No need to drag parts around or take on a plane.

    LTG : )

    #73 1 year ago

    Don't shows get a lot of requests for parts vendors? I thought one of the main reasons why people go to shows is to buy games and parts.

    #74 1 year ago
    Quoted from nwpinball:

    Don't shows get a lot of requests for parts vendors?

    I'm sure they do.

    Which puts you back to square one. How many coil sleeves do you have to sell to pay for travel, food, hotel, and table at the show. And be closed for business to be at show.

    Support the vendors that do attend and thank them. A good word goes a long way.

    LTG : )

    #75 1 year ago

    That is what people say, but from what I can tell truly mean is " I will buy from vendors at the show if they are giving things away otherwise, I will buy online somewhere"

    Quoted from nwpinball:

    Don't shows get a lot of requests for parts vendors? I thought one of the main reasons why people go to shows is to buy games and parts.

    #76 1 year ago

    I think the "bottom Line" is every show in the country has pros & cons. I have only been to a few shows myself but I am very thankful to have two "great" shows with in a couple hour drive of home. If we are talking size of a show as far as buying machines & parts Allentown is hard to beat. There are tons of new parts dealers, a HUGE indoor flea market area, over 250 machines on freeplay (with a good many of those for sale) and dozens of the latest machines in vendors booths being played for free also. With all that said I still enjoy the York show more - it is a smaller show than Allentown but to me it just has a great "feel" to it.

    I like the concept Clay has at VFW but to me that is more like going somewhere like PHOF. It is a great place to go play machines but with only a handful of machines for sale I really don't even consider it a "show" since most people heading to a show are expecting to be able to buy machines.

    Gabe has done a fantastic job it just a couple years to make Pintastic something special and Adam (ForceFlow) has his new show up and running in NY which adds yet another show to the north east. There is also talk of a Delaware show for 2018 so if that happens we will have 6 shows here in the north east.

    I think the important thing to remember is all shows big or small are equally important and for the hobby to continue to grow we should all do what ever we can to support our local shows. Putting on a show is no easy task and all promoters deserve a big THANK YOU for their efforts.

    This brings up the ago old question - does size really matter? Support your local shows regardless of their size and one of those might grow to be the biggest one in the country. But from my limited experience with shows Allentown is hard to beat if you are looking for the biggest selection of machines for sale and the original topic of this post was "what is the biggest show".

    #77 1 year ago
    Quoted from PinBallPeteFromSD:

    Just thought I would give a update on the Banning collection. We did inventory a few months ago and it is now close to 700 pins (no doubles on the floor). And a think 400 arcades. Plus tons of stuff in containers and more coming every week. This collection is out of control. Earlier this year they started a volunteer tech program. Its friggin awesome to be a part of it. Us nobs can learn from some old dogs that have been repairing since the 70s.
    At next week's Pinball Madness event, I would estimate 90% of the machines are working. Not just operational, but fully dialed in.

    I filmed it all last time I was there in March:

    ...and I'm here at the current show this weekend, can't wait to dive in again

    #78 1 year ago

    I like Allentown too. But it's big advantage is the location. It's within 1 hour of the largest population center in North America (NY, DC, Baltimore, NJ, etc etc.) That means you get flea market vendors and lots of games for sale. Here in Michigan, being the midwest, there just isn't the population to support that concept. We try and get people to bring games for sale, but there just isn't the volume that the east coast has. We just don't have the population to support that. Heck Michigan has had a decreasing overall population over the last ten years! Heck me personally i have tons of games, and not one is for sale...

    #79 1 year ago
    Quoted from cfh:

    I like Allentown too. But it's big advantage is the location. It's within 1 hour of the largest population center in North America (NY, DC, Baltimore, NJ, etc etc.) That means you get flea market vendors and lots of games for sale. Here in Michigan, being the midwest, there just isn't the population to support that concept. We try and get people to bring games for sale, but there just isn't the volume that the east coast has. We just don't have the population to support that. Heck Michigan has had a decreasing overall population over the last ten years! Heck me personally i have tons of games, and not one is for sale...

    Clay,

    I love what you guys have done with VFW and pretty much ever since you started doing shows I have wanted to attend but for some reason your show always seems to conflict with Allentown and since I am a vendor at Allentown I can't make the trip out to set up at your show. If I was a different weekend I would love to run out with a load of machines & parts for sale but I can't justify skipping Allentown to drive 10 or 12 hours west to do your show when I can drive about 2 hours east to do Allentown.

    Maybe sometime down the road your dates will change. I know Allentown is pretty much always the first week in May so I know I am booked that weekend. It drives me crazy with 52 weeks in a year you have to overlap with Allentown but such is life!

    #80 1 year ago
    Quoted from too-many-pins:

    It drives me crazy with 52 weeks in a year

    But when you consider winter, summer, holidays, etc. etc. There isn't really 52 weekends available. Sadly, hard to avoid overlaps and still have a good turnout.

    LTG : )

    #81 1 year ago
    Quoted from LTG:

    But when you consider winter, summer, holidays, etc. etc. There isn't really 52 weekends available. Sadly, hard to avoid overlaps and still have a good turnout.
    LTG : )

    It would be nice if VFW did different weekends each year so it overlapped with different shows instead of it always falling the same weekend as Allentown. Ivan and other promoters can't change weekends as easy because they have to work around fairground schedule but since VFW is privately owned changing the weekend should be fairly easy their.

    All I know 100% for sure is as long as VFW is the same weekend as Allentown I'll never get to attend. I know that is my problem and such is life but it just kind of upsets me things have to work out that way.

    #82 1 year ago

    The VFW show used to be the weekend after Mother's Day. It was changed to the weekend before Mother's Day.

    Which weekend do you want it to be held? We can take it under advisement. A change fee may be required.....

    #83 1 year ago
    Quoted from too-many-pins:

    It is a great place to go play machines but with only a handful of machines for sale I really don't even consider it a "show" since most people heading to a show are expecting to be able to buy machines.

    This is interesting to me because I'm positive most people that come to our show in the Northwest aren't coming to buy a machine. We get a lot of the general population, my feeling is most people come to play games in either the tournaments or in the freeplay section, which is most of the floor.

    #84 1 year ago
    Quoted from nwpinball:

    This is interesting to me because I'm positive most people that come to our show in the Northwest aren't coming to buy a machine. We get a lot of the general population, my feeling is most people come to play games in either the tournaments or in the freeplay section, which is most of the floor.

    I have noting against calling anything pinball a show but in my eyes a show is a place where items are bought & sold. I guess being from the antique business background and always hearing Train Show, Antique Show, Craft Show, etc and associating the word SHOW with a place that has stuff for sale is just in my DNA.

    Places like VFW seem more like a big arcade only to the public once a year or PAPA with their tournaments just don't seem like shows to me since there is little to nothing for sale. I am not saying this is somehow bad or less fun - it is just different than what I personally think of as a show being.

    The original topic was what is the Largest Pinball Show and I think to determine the true answer someone needs to define what is actually considered a show. Is a show a collection of machines open to the public or is a show a location where people can actually purchase items? But when you really get down to it - who really cares! As long as people are getting together enjoying these fantastic machines what is in a name anyway!

    #85 1 year ago

    Last year was the first year the Ann Arbor show overlapped with Allentown. We used to overlap with Pin-a-go-go (not Allentown.) In 2018 we don't know if we'll overlap with Allentown, as those dates are not announced yet. There's a lot of considerations in picking dates. We pretty much need to be in the first week or two of May. Mothers day is a "never overlap" date, so that doesn't leave by two weekends to pick. Right now we're going with the first weekend in May. Maybe you should ask Ivan to change? He's not open on sunday, so he doesn't a conflict with mothers day...

    We would LOVE to have more vendors. But in the midwest, it's really hard to get vendors. Also as someone said above, my opinion is that most people don't come to shows to buy games. I get the same reaction from vendors... we didn't sell any games. That's because, generally speaking, people come to shows to PLAY, not the buy. You can buy off the internet and craigs list 365 days a year. Going to a show to buy doesn't seem to be desirable.

    It's the same reason we don't do seminars either. Thousands of people come to a show, but there's 50 people in a seminar. Do the math on that, it's like 1 or 2 percent seminar attendees. It's not worth it. Same goes with game sales i guess too. If you have thousands of people coming to a show, and there's 50 games for sale (of which each game can only be sold once), it's a low percentage.

    My opinion is that people come to shows to play games. They want to be exposed to different games, stuff they haven't seen or played before. The percentage of these types of show attendees is probably above 90%. So in my opinion, it's best to cater to the masses, instead of worrying about seminars and games for sale.

    In addition, we do have some control of seminars, we could do that. But we really have no control over games for sale. That's determined by local markets and local populations. And again, being in the midwest (and not a high density area like Allentown), we just can't control this. Allentown will always have more games for sale because there's just more people. Heck NYC, DC, Philly, basically the entire eastern coast is an hour away. We just can't compete with that population mass. There's some things we have control over, but others, i have no control.

    So instead we focus on a diversity of games, and nice games, and working games. That's our strength. We feel this is a good way to go, because again, we can focus on that 90%

    #86 1 year ago

    I get it, shows are all different, and have different strengths. If you like seminars, Chicago Expo is absolutely the best. Buying games, Allentown is awesome. Playing games, i would like to think the Ann Arbor vfw show is the best. If you want video games and pinball games, Banning is the best. You want tournament play, Replayfx is the best. If you like games of all types (board,card,etc), Midwest gaming is the gig. I guess it's what you want to do at a show.

    But the common thread in all shows, is game play for the attendees. My believe is 90% are there to play pinball. So that's where we concentrate (because we know we can strive in that category), and we let other shows play to their strengths.

    #87 1 year ago
    Quoted from cfh:

    If you like games of all types (board,card,etc), Midwest gaming is the gig.

    I don't think you knew this, which makes this even more incredible, but the Midwest Gaming Classic is officially hosted by the GOAT Store. What does GOAT stand for?

    Games of all types.

    And you're exactly right, it all comes down to what is best aligned for what people want to do any play. The original poster asked specifically about playing a diversity of pinball machines, which if that is your metric biggest show, and being able to actually play those games with an attendance limit, then your show is probably the biggest by that definition.

    By other definitions however, I can point to just about any other show in the country as being the biggest one. For instance, MGC probably wins on the sheer quantity of options to play, but pinball only plays one part of the role in that.

    #88 1 year ago

    cfh is knowledgeable. Sometimes obnoxious and sometimes blinded by tunnel vision. But always runs a great pinball showcase.

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