The AirGun Guild

General Category => Airgun Meets and Shows => Topic started by: steveoh on April 30, 2019, 03:58:54 PM

Title: 2019 Pacific Airgun Expo Post Mortem and the Future
Post by: steveoh on April 30, 2019, 03:58:54 PM
2019 Pacific Airgun Expo Post Mortem and the Future

Got this from Michael today:

Greetings fellow airgunners!
PAE now a yearly event!   Next show March 28-29 2020!
When polled at the after party at this year's Pacific Airgun Expo nearly everyone (I think it might have been literally everyone) wanted the PAE to become a yearly event, so we will!  Pacific Airgun Expo 2020 is reserved in Old Hangtown Placerville, CA for March 28-29 2020!

Thanks everyone for your support and your incredible marketing efforts so many of you did this year.  The internet was blowing up with your posts, and I know people put flyers up all over the place in their local areas.  Thank you!  We all benefited from the group effort.

Thank you to our fantastic vendors!  Many of you were returning, some of you it was your first show.  You all brought interesting stuff to show and sell, and your friendly, cheerful enthusiasm for our sport is what makes the Pacific Airgun Expo the fun event it is!  Thank you!

Thank you to everyone that attended the show!  Many of you, probably most of you, came from great distances with long drives and expense.  You are why the vendors are willing to come, you are what really makes the show a success.  Thank you!

Thank you very much to my two beautiful lady helpers, my girlfriend Leslie and her mother Janice!  Wow did they ever take the strain off of me, and their smiling faces were such a great welcome to attendees as they came in.

What I can improve upon is I forgot to put the name tags out!  I saw someone post online after the show about no name tags and I wish someone would have said something.  I won't forget next year!  Another thing I want to do is I think it would be cool to record the far away places people came from, so I will add that to the attendee tracking questions we ask. 

Indoor Shooting Range!
Something discovered at this year's show is there is a new indoor shooting range just minutes away.  It's actually right next to the hotel some of us stayed at.  It is only a 25 yard range, but it's an opportunity!

As for location, per a few people's request I tried again to get us in to a more populous area like Roseville for 2020 (or McClellan AFB which one person recommended, but they don't have a hall of the size we need), but there are cost and availability challenges.  Placerville charges me $1800 (with insurance, etc.  total cost out the door), and no parking fees, and is happy with the money a month in advance because I'm a returning renter, so I can use the income from table rent to pay for it. 

Roseville is $5000 and wants 1/2 up front now.  I did not make $2500 profit on this last show to pay forward.  I ended up netting $300, which I think is fantastic, we once again did not lose money and are sustainable in Placerville, but it's certainly not pre-pay for Roseville kind of money.

Some vendors felt that it doesn't really matter where the PAE is held because our primary audience will go wherever it is.  We had attendees this year from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, So. Cal. of course, and more.  Our target market will travel. 

A decade ago the first PAE in Roseville had high attendance by locals, but ten years down the road now it's a new world, and when polled for their opinion a lot of the vendors weren't so sure attendance would be significantly different in Roseville than we have 30 minutes up the road in Placerville.  If a person won't drive the extra distance for airguns, are they any more likely to spend money on them if they only had to go down the street?  We would have to have over 300 more attendees than we currently average at a PAE (about double) in order to break even financially at Roseville, and that seems like a pretty large number, all things considered.

On the other hand a number of vendors, I would even say the preponderance of them, said that sales were not their main reason for attending the PAE.  For many of us the main thing we are getting out of the Pacific Airgun Expo is the regular opportunity to spend time with our fellow west coast airgun friends, see new products from our west coast manufacturers, and score some good deals.

I think a number of guys fell into the same situation I ended up in: money raised from things I sold turned into things I bought (thank you Matthew Saenz for the screaming deal on the commemorative P1!  And thank you Motorhead Scott for the great deal on the FFP scope!).  Nobody comes to an airgun show (or in my case puts one on) planning to make a killing at the show.  It seems most of us end up net zero, except for having a grand time and coming away with new things (to sell next year?).  Airguns are just so cool.  I love our hobby :-)

So there you have it.  If someone wants to invest the $2500 (a year in advance) and another $2500 a month in advance to secure Roseville, please reach out to me (it'll be more than $5k with insurance).  They didn't have any good weekends left for 2020, but we can consider it for 2021.  Keep in mind though, it is highly unlikely you'll see a return on your investment; you'd be best off considering it a gift to the airgun community, which is basically my attitude putting on the shows I've done in Placerville.  Once the contract is signed, despite how late El Dorado Fairgrounds lets me pay, I owe regardless of the show's performance.  Past a certain point I owe even if the show doesn't go on.  Risking $1800 at Placerville is one thing, but $5k is getting into another area entirely. 

I plan to put on the PAE for another 20 years, so my goal is to have a sustainable model that will survive year after year.  If the PAE ever turns an extra few grand, or a benefactor gifts it, we'll move to the metropolis.  Until then, thank goodness we have the really fantastic and affordable Placerville fairgrounds. 

Placerville is really an awesome location for our event in many ways.  The hotels are inexpensive and there's free boondocking at the casino.  The town is colorful, historical, fun, and lots of great dining options.  We have a brewery right across the street for our after party.  There's a shooting range (albeit small and indoors) just up the road.  And it's hard these days to find a hall rental that allows guns of any kind, and Placerville is very welcoming to us.  Until airguns hit the mainstream and the PAE is rolling in money, I think Placerville is just right.

Yours in airgunning,
Michael McKeown
Title: Re: 2019 Pacific Airgun Expo Post Mortem and the Future
Post by: steveoh on April 30, 2019, 04:05:30 PM
Michael,
You've been running this show for a number of years. I'm curious about numbers of attendees and vendors for this years expo, and for previous years.

Has there ever been a shooting event or competition associated with the Expo?

Title: Re: 2019 Pacific Airgun Expo Post Mortem and the Future
Post by: Motorhead on May 01, 2019, 08:14:26 AM
Michael will likely Not Be Happy with me stating this ... but in my observation the facts are this  :P

2015's show we had the BIG hall and mostly filled it with vendors, had limited shooting to demo, good amount of foot traffic with MUCH potential for growth.

2017's show we switched to the SMALLER hall and had LESS vendors and did not fill all the tables, those close.  Foot traffic was still pretty good but FELL SHORT of being improved upon from previous which was sad being 2 years lapse & plenty of time to figure out how to get more bodies to show up.   :(

2019's show in the same smaller hall had EVEN LESS VENDORS and LESS foot traffic .... IMO a near failure being now 4 years of working out the details to get more interest and folks threw the door.

Mikes ideology of it's "YOUR SHOW" and therefor our responsibility to advertise, drop off fliers, put up signs, make forum & social media postings essentially doing all the footwork and door knocking at our time & cost is NOT WORKING and am not surprised by this failure either.  If your a promoter and want success you need to reach out to folks & have some incentive or payments / credits ... SOMETHING ?


*As it is going now .... the future looks bleak for the Pacific Air Gun Expo IMO.    Mike needs help and when folks approach him offering such, at first conversation he seems open to it, then quickly shuts those down thinking they are trying to take over.  Which they should ...........

Word is that Jon Brooks who retired giving up the show when Mike took the reigns approached Mike in an attempt to partner up and get back on track ... that conversation ended badly !! * Note paragraph above.

Don't shoot the messenger  :'(
Scott S
Title: Re: 2019 Pacific Airgun Expo Post Mortem and the Future
Post by: steveoh on May 01, 2019, 09:48:14 AM
I went to the 2017 and 2019 show and was underwhelmed. I know it takes a great deal of work just to get that level of participation, but it just seemed that a little more effort would have improved the situation perhaps dramatically.

I did not know you were there, and was disappointed to hear I'd missed you. I did end up at your table and talked to your wife about that lovely little bullpup on the end. But I missed you. Doh!

Airhog wasn't there this year, and that's a shame. I know there are other California Airgun businesses that did not show up.

I have invited Michael to come by and join the conversation, and maybe together, with a lot of heads brainstorming we could make this a premier West Coast Event. But so far, no luck.

I would like to meet Jon Brooks and twist his arm for a history of the Expo, and what the numbers of attendees and vendors used to be and how his approach to it all was different.

I still think a L.A.S.S.O. event could bring in a bunch of folks. I'm talking all calibers and not just big bore. Working on an FAQ and trying to involve Eric Henderson. I guess the whole thing is based on NRA Silhouette shooting, and so I'm searching the internet for more info.  I ain't giving up!

Michael will likely Not Be Happy with me stating this ... but in my observation the facts are this  :P

2015's show we had the BIG hall and mostly filled it with vendors, had limited shooting to demo, good amount of foot traffic with MUCH potential for growth.

2017's show we switched to the SMALLER hall and had LESS vendors and did not fill all the tables, those close.  Foot traffic was still pretty good but FELL SHORT of being improved upon from previous which was sad being 2 years lapse & plenty of time to figure out how to get more bodies to show up.   :(

2019's show in the same smaller hall had EVEN LESS VENDORS and LESS foot traffic .... IMO a near failure being now 4 years of working out the details to get more interest and folks threw the door.

Mikes ideology of it's "YOUR SHOW" and therefor our responsibility to advertise, drop off fliers, put up signs, make forum & social media postings essentially doing all the footwork and door knocking at our time & cost is NOT WORKING and am not surprised by this failure either.  If your a promoter and want success you need to reach out to folks & have some incentive or payments / credits ... SOMETHING ?


*As it is going now .... the future looks bleak for the Pacific Air Gun Expo IMO.    Mike needs help and when folks approach him offering such, at first conversation he seems open to it, then quickly shuts those down thinking they are trying to take over.  Which they should ...........

Word is that Jon Brooks who retired giving up the show when Mike took the reigns approached Mike in an attempt to partner up and get back on track ... that conversation ended badly !! * Note paragraph above.

Don't shoot the messenger  :'(
Scott S