Thursday, June 28, 2012

Colchester, VT

We left Waterford Monday about mid-day and arrived in Colchester just past mid-day on Wednesday.  I have no idea why it takes so long to drive east.  Normally I think going west is boring, but now going east is just as boring.  To cover the 1009 miles to the hotel we drove just over 1200.  The best part of the trip was from Albany up the east side of the lake to Colchester.  It was country we have never driven through and it was beautiful.

The really bad news is we replaced the fuel tank again before we left and when we filled it the third time it started to leak  around the filler tube.  They just can’t seem to fix the problem.  When we call the shop to report the problem they were nice enough, but we could tell they were distressed, but so are we.  When you are on the road as much as we are and driving a vehicle with 344,000 miles on it, you expect to have small problems.  This problem is driving us nuts.  Life on the road has its stressful moments it is not all fun and games.

We arrived and unloaded in the rain and it is going to rain again today.  The preview is at 7:30 tonight.  If you are in the area, come and have chocolate and campaign.  The crowd is nice at this show.  People are friendly and they remember you from one year to the next.   My phone is still not working to upload photos, and the show does not want us to take photos of the quilts so we are limited to the vendors and the crowd.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

It's a Wrap

The NQA show is over, and I have spent a few days thinking about this show.  It should be a great show for Quilter’s Rule; it is in an area of the country we normally do well.  We have lots of customers in and around Columbus, but it is only a mediocre show.  It ended a bit down from last year.  The question becomes why does that happen?  There are a couple of reasons, I suppose.  I spent some time speaking to a lot of the other vendors, and for some it was a very good show if you believe completely what they tell you.  But for many it was just an OK show.
But before I get to far astray, I want to say the traffic was so much better at the show this year, than last year, at least part of the mediocre performance has to lay with our effort at the show or our selection of product to display at the show.  And when you look at our records, only the first day was down, the second and third days we gained back a portion of what we had dropped the first day.  I have watched the leadership of NQA work so hard this past year to promote their organization.  I think that is great the organization and does so much for the industry.
Here are the things I know for sure.  There were four jewelry dealers, two could be said to be high in and two low end dealers.  One of the high end folks told me that he only had one sale on Saturday.   And why would he tell me that detail?  Because, on Saturday, I purchased a birthday present for my wife from him and he wanted to thank me again.  Mine was that purchase!  One of the fabric vendors told me they was busy selling fat quarters, but it was not adding up to a lot of sales on the register.  One machine dealer said they used to sell up to six machines at the show and for the last couple of years they have only sold one.  Many of the vendors were showing signs of impatience by the end of the show.  We sold a lot of patterns and books that we had steeply discounted to clear our warehouse.
NQA got the people to come to the show.  The people who came were not willing to open their pocket books.  They were only willing to make a few very small purchases.   I can’t tell you how many times I rang up an 80 cent sale.  But I ended with a lot of dollar bills and no dimes.  There is a lot of interest in quilting otherwise people would not have come.  But they are fearful of sending their money.  In my opinion, the recession is deep in Ohio and shows here will only get better when this recession finally ends.  I hate to wait but I think I must. 
On another note I will be traveling again this week end but not to a quilt show.  I will be attending the American Dexter Cattle Association   Annual Convention in Ft. Wayne, IN.  I will attempt to send a few pictures if I can get my phone to work again.  Then on Monday we will leave for the Vermont Quilt Show. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Columbus, OH

Set up at Columbus was really uneventful.  We had a long time to do it because we arranged to drop our stuff off at 5 pm and we were going to train a new person.  So we had 4 hour on Tuesday and 8 hours on Wednesday and we took the entire time.  Normally, it should take about 6 hours.   But then I had to talk to everyone.   Many just wanted to know about the recall election of Scott Walker in Wisconsin.  A few we have not seen for several months just wanted to catch up on the latest news as did I.

So we have a new person in the booth with us.  If you are reading this and will be at the booth, come by and meet Patty,  No not my daughter, a new Patty from Missouri. She is thinking about becoming an Independent Contractor for us.  She is a hard worker and catches on quickly.  Make her feel welcome.

Preview at the NQA show was and is like many previews, a waste of time and effort for the ;vendors,   The are very nice to everyone and provide an evening meal for the vendors, but the attendees are not interested in buying they come to see the quilts.  So let them see the quilts and let the vendors eat on their own.  Everyone would be happier.

The quilts at the show are quite beautiful and the display is great.  Sorry no pictures as my phone has decided to have a fit.  It will not send to my Facebook account.   I will have to take it in when I get home.  I don’t understand why they call it a smart phone.  In my opinion, mine is dumb as a cob., but only when I can’t make it work.  There are days I just hate technology.  I must be getting old, I sound like my father. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Richmond, IN

Patricia and I are on the road again!  Big surprise!

Yesterday, we started the day at Quilter’s Rule.  We worked on catching up from the weekend and getting ready a couple of items for the week.  Are goal was to leave by noon.  Started loading the trailer at 11:30 and finished about 1 in the afternoon.  Then stupid me, I decided I could cut through Chicago at 3 in the afternoon, save a few miles and miss the tolls.  Just pay the tolls and go around.  That cost us a couple of hours in traffic.  Will I ever learn?

It has been a busy couple of weeks since we returned from our last trip.  We received in nearly 20,000 pounds of mat material.  It has been printed and much of it shipped.   I have cut, baled and put away almost 1,000 bales of hay.   The horses and cattle have to eat this winter.   We need rain and the best chance for the week passed us by yesterday.  Of course, I broke the baler and have a hydraulic leak on my tractor.  Put in a garden and broke my lawn mower.  If only that stuff would break in the winter time when I had time to work on it.   Or I could be like the rest of the world and just buy new stuff and wait for the government to help me.  Oh, that sounds like sour grapes. 

After we finished with MQS we spent an extra night in Kansas City and went to Spring Market.  We are deciding if few want to carry other products than our own.  We did find a couple of interesting items and we will be testing them shortly.  Something we have not done for a very long time. 

This morning we are visiting a vendor in Richmond and then off to Columbus, OH, where we will unload at 5pm tonight.  Another full day on the road with Quilter’s Rule.