At the end of the day, as we left the Apple Scrapple Festival with an SUV loaded with boxes, my hubby asked if I thought the day was successful. It is difficult to measure when you aren’t really there to “sell” a product.
Apple Scrapple is just a month ahead of the DelMarVa Model Railroad Club annual open house, and it is such a great opportunity to promote our coming event. It is FREE advertising for the club. (One of our members RUNS the entire craft show and allocates the club a 9×13 booth space for no charge).
So, I figured the measuring stick was the open house brochures we passed out. We took a case of 1000 brochures for our upcoming open house. (There were maybe 50 out of the top of the box when we started). We brought back about 1/3 of the box. Hubby printed out 210 “labels” with info on an EXTRA RUN (more about that in a minute), and every brochure with that EXTRA Run label was handed out. I can say for certain, that we spoke to OVER 210 people. My “guess” is we handed out something like 700 brochures, so I think it was a successful day.
People would see and hear the trains running and walk over to the table to watch. Usually they were in groups of 3 or 4. The men were attracted because they had been “schlepping around the craft show” carrying bags for the wife.
(I am a people watcher, and most of the men would stand at the edge of the booth while the wife, mother, daughter etc looked at the various craft wares. They were bored.) (It’s a good spouse who will wander the craft show, but then…I’m sure those wives have done their bit at car shows, fishing shows, etc) (Please don’t be offended gentlemen if you happen to LIKE craft fairs…this is strictly my observation and conclusion with no facts to support my particular point of view.)
When the men got to the train layout the eyes would light up, and they got to chat with the club members, and we were not “hustling them” to buy anything. Then the women would wander up, and look at the “display” more so than the trains. It gave us an opportunity to talk about both areas of interest.
We would hand an Open House brochure to someone in the group, inviting them to come see the “big layouts” at the club.
Overall, for a week & 1/2 worth of work getting this display ready to go, I was really pleased with the reactions it brought during the day from the public. By the time you put the buildings on, the trees, the vehicles on the streets and parking lots, and get some trains moving, it starts to look like a nice little town.
This little 4×8 train layout was built on a Styrofoam base with a plywood bottom and sides. That is what we started with the first week of October. In my previous posts, I talk about the scenery, track, etc. After we had it all set up, we added plexiglass around the edges to keep the fingers away from the trains.
We took our 2 big open house raffle prizes to showcase. We have a Polar Express and a Harry Potter set to raffle, and I was surprised that we sold a few tickets. Not a lot, because that wasn’t the point, but some. My point with the raffle tickets is to “show off” those great prizes, and not hustle sales.
We had the special Maryland Delaware box cars, and sold a couple of them. (These are available on the club website if you are interested in one, and not in the area).
I took along my train “pillowcases” and sold 3 of them. That was all “bonus” in my opinion. If we had a separate booth with more space for display, I imagine we could have sold more, and could have brought other items from the club to sell. Oh good thing we left those wooden train whistles at the club!
The member of our club running the craft show was pleased with our set up. It “slowed” people down near the back of the cafeteria, and as they wandered away; they stopped at the food booth run by his church and family. A win/win for all of us I think. His son is also a club member, and he did the big job of transporting the 4×8 layout and the saw horse it sits on.
I think we met our purpose, achieved our goal, and will encourage the members to do this again next year. We’ve had a few years without the train layout at the festival, and people “LOOK” for it. Of course, I wore the hubby out pushing to get this ready and to “do” this festival. I took the lead and did all the planning and coordinating, list making, 75% of the loading and unloading; and a smaller % of the tear down and reloading. We had 10 folks show up during the festival to help with the “passing brochures”, talking to the public etc.
Now, it is time to unload what we are storing at home, and sort what needs to go back to the train club this week. We have to get ready for NEXT Saturday, our EXTRA RUN, when St Stephens UMC has their Fall Festival. The church asked the DelMarVa Model Railroad Club to open for the festival. This is a first for the club. The club is very grateful to be located on the 2nd floor of the church fellowship hall for the last 32 years! So, if you missed seeing our little 4×8 display, take a run to Delmar DE and enjoy the St Stephen UMC Fall Festival, and come upstairs and check out the over 8000 square feet of layouts! I’ll be there, at the front door, greeting visitors, selling raffle tickets and inviting them back for the annual open house season.