|The weather looks to be excellent for the show! Sunny, high-40s to low 60-degrees, and only a 10-percent chance of rain as of this writing (and that chance has been declining over the last couple days) according to Weather.com.
Priority Vendor Set-up is 6-7am and is $30 for all the space you want.
Vendor General Admission is 7am, and is just $20 for all the space you want.
Spectator entry is 7am, and is $6.
Everyone who drives any year or model of Chevrolet enthusiast vehicle to the swap meet’s Cruise-In this month receives a $10 Eckler’s Gift Certificate!
Marketing This Month
Besides advertising in Ragtops and Runningboards and the Georgia Street Rod Association’s magazine, I also have the website and Facebook.
Last month we had over 1,600 First Timers view the swap meet website… this is new views, not people returning to the page, and is up from the month before. The first two weeks of this month we were at 1,100 views, so more people are checking out the page—which should translate to more people coming to the shows.
I also have a FaceBook page with over 5,500 people following the swap meet through it. I posted about this month’s show, and made a point of sharing it to about 80 other enthusiast pages and groups.
As of Wednesday night, the post had “reached” 43,000 people, which I really don’t think means anything other than from a “Branding” standpoint (people will know the name NE GA Swap Meet, and just recognizing the name is good for business).
The real interesting numbers are people who actually click on the page or the link, people who comment on it, and the number of people who share it to their page or other groups.
This month 2,300 people clicked on the post to read it, more than 80 people commented on it, and over 110 people shared it to other places.
To me, those indicate a large number of people who are interested in coming to the swap meet this weekend or in the future, who aren’t always there or didn’t even know about it. I’ve had a lot of questions generated from that post from people who never knew about it, including phone calls, and several people signed up for this monthly reminder (we’re up over 7,700 names now, by the way).
Last year I started posting about the swap meet on FaceBook, sharing it to many other groups, and I’ve seen the spectator counts grow… but I haven’t done it every month. (for the same reason you’re getting this newsletter on Thursday morning instead of Monday morning! My time-management leaves a lot to be desired, but I’m working on it… I tend to procrastinate… a few years ago I bought a book to help me beat procrastination, but unfortunately never got around to finishing it…)
All that is to say I’ll be making a dedicated effort to market on FaceBook this year to grow the show, as well as looking for other avenues of advertising. If anybody has suggestions, let me know!
AND it’s to point out that if you’re a vendor, you need to make a dedicated point of coming to the swap meet every month. Nothing grows a show like growing the show—if you’re there every month, the spectators will follow and the counts will be huge. We’ve hit 250 vendors regularly, and 300 on occasion. I see no reason in the world we can’t start averaging over 300 every month, and spiking up to 400 vendors in the bigger months. You know we’re the cheapest swap meet in the South East, you know we’ve got the space, and you know we can get you through the gate and set up in neat rows in less than half an hour after opening the gates. Imagine the spectator crowds every month if we’re regularly knocking down 350-400 vendors! Those other big shows that happen twice a year? We could do that every month.
And we CAN do it, but literally, not without you making the effort to be here for every show.
Try it for one year—11 shows, every show—and see the effect it has. We’ll be huge EVERY month, not just some months.
Got a business in the industry? Would you like access to all the coverage I just listed up there? If you’re in the industry, we’ve got a pipe-line to customers. Give me a call. (706) 424-5035.
Last Month’s numbers
I’ll admit, I was a little disappointed with last month’s vendor count—it was juuuuust under 150 vendors. I was real pleased with the spectator count, though.
Then I remembered three things:
1) It was January. It was cold, it was right after Christmas/New Years, and January is ALWAYS a light month.
2) It was just a couple years ago that 150 vendors was a record turn-out in the BEST months for the NE GA Swap Meet. I’d come home from a June swap meet with 150 vendors and do a Happy Dance, because that was a big number and it meant we were going in the right direction. A couple years later, and 150 vendors in January is “only 150 vendors” because we’ve gotten so big it seems small.
3) It was just a couple years ago we didn’t even do swap meets in December, January and February because they didn’t come anywhere close to breaking even. Now they are. Even the “light” ones!
(and 4, I sold a TON of stuff last month, and a bunch of other vendors told me they went home with much lighter trailers too!)
Next Month—Pedal To The Metal Vintage Bike Show!
This is one of my favorite shows of the year—the vintage bicycles.
It’s so well-received that we do it twice a year: Spring and Fall.
We have two rows of vintage bikes, with 40+ vintage bicycle vendors. And you guys would be SHOCKED to know how far some of them come for the swap meet! We’ve had bike vendors come from Louisiana, Florida, Kentucky and beyond—and they’re repeat attendees. They all like it, and it’s been a growing segment of the swap meet every time we’ve done it.
A lot of the bicycle guys are also car enthusiasts, so the cross-over is good. We got the dates out early this year, and are promoting it on Facebook and in print ads, so we’re expecting a great turn-out in March.
I guess there’s a football game in town this weekend? I keep seeing and hearing things in the news about one… admittedly, this is the first year I haven’t watched a single football game, so I’m kinda out of the loop. (“The right to protest” seemed to be all the rage this year, so I kept standing up and changing the channels when the games came on…)
I had a couple calls from out-of-town visitors asking about the swap meet and the cruise-in… They’d found it on web searches when looking for things to do on Saturday. I had my web guy tweak the Search Engine Optimization Black Magic and Voodoo he does so the swap meet would come up when people were searching for activities in Atlanta during the SuperBowl weekend. I’ve seen the results of his SEO (BMV), and know it works, so maybe we’ll pick up a few extra spectators this weekend.
GET THE GIFT CERTFICATES!!!
Amazingly, people seem to NOT be getting their Eckler’s Gift Certificates when they drive a vintage vehicle into the NE GA Swap Meet’s Cruise-In! I KNOW we had a lot more cars in the cruise-in area than gift certificates we gave out last month.
Eckler’s is sponsoring the show, and part of that is they WANT to give you $10 for driving your enthusiast vehicle in! (and when you redeem them on an order, that’s how they know they’ve made a good decision in sponsoring us).
Stop by the tent and get it!!! The Eckler’s Tent is right in front of the Spectator Entry Gate.
Schedule for the Year
Eckler’s $10 Cruise-in Cars Gift Certificates!
January: All makes and models get a gift certificate
February 2: All Chevys get a gift certificate
March 2: All Fords/Mercury get a gift certificate
MARCH 30 (This is the April show): All Trucks get a gift certificate
May 11-12 Gear Jam Vintage Drags: All cars registered in the car show get a $10 Gift Certificate
June 1: Chevy
July 8: Ford
August 3: Trucks and Truck Club Day
August 31-Sept. 1 Gear Jam Vintage Drags: All cars registered in the car show get a $10 Gift Certificate
October 12: Chevy
November 2: Ford
December 7: Truck
Bud’s Garage—Car Guy Radio, Much Too Fast
Racing and hot rodding is about going fast… that’s all great, until you’re trying to listen to Bud and Tim talk about cars on Saturday afternoons—the show is over far, far too fast!
In the coming weeks, they’ll be talking about:
10 Affordable Muscle Cars
Why are they called Suicide doors
A really hot Super Bird story
The new Blazer
The new Courier truck
The new Explorer
New Car Shows (Ain’t what they used to be)
Start/Stop technology ( why it sucks)
High Tech bungee cord use in new vehicles ( also suck )
Daytona 500 predictions
Electric impact wrenches ( new ones are awesome )
Affordable Racing ( oxymoron )
The Fastest Car-Guy Talk on the Radio! Saturdays, noon-1pm, AM 550/FM 102.9
JP’s Muscle Cars
Johnny Palmer always has good stuff to sell and trade.
Engines this month include a ’80 Olds 350 engine and trans that run well, and a nice 5.3LS motor and trans from a 2004 Suburban, which is also available for parts. Rounding out the list is a good running 283 Chevy.
Projects in the shop are a ’69 Chevelle getting a Classic Auto Air kit and Kakota VHX dash swap, ’69 Firebird Convertible build with an American Auto Wire Classic Update kit, A/C, and freshening the Poncho 350 for a first-class driver. A ’71 K10 Blazer is getting a 500-horse crate LS3, 4L80E, Dakota cluster, American Auto Wire kit, Headman headers, Tanks fuel system, Magnaflow exhaust and more, while the ’55 M38A1 Jeep is getting a .30-cal Browning mounted on it. (In 25 years of writing about vintage cars, I don’t think I’ve ever written the words “…is getting a .30-cal Browning mounted on it.”)
After all that, Johnny is putting new glass and channels in his survivor ’57 Bel-Air wagon, getting it ready for Power Tour or a new home.
Oh yeah, he’s also selling reproduction and restoration parts, and is delivering some sheet metal to customers at the swap meet this Saturday, saving them a bundle in shipping.
JP’s Muscle Cars is at 113 Hammond Drive in Monroe, GA: Call (770) 207-9570 or visit their website at www.jpmusclecars.com.
Nu Start For The Year
Talked to Lannie Porter at New Tech this past week, and asked how he was doing. Last time I talked with him, he’d had a little vapor-lock issue and went in for a bunch of bypass work. Split him open, re-plumbed him, zipped-tied him back together and sent him down the road. Called this week, and found out after that service call, he went in again and had his gallbladder removed.
We’ve all done this same thing, haven’t we? Not running right, just keep removing and replacing parts until it’s fixed.
In between medical overhauls, I’ve got a set of beautiful ’60-’63 Chevy truck doors getting blasted and primed there, and next week I’ll be dropping off a factory aluminum Buick GNX intake to get the previous owner’s powder-coating mistake stripped off. A friend of mine dropped off a rare factory trailer hitch assembly for his fully-loaded ’78 Buick Estate Wagon (which will be pulling a vintage camper this summer), and the guys stripped some industrial equipment, did some fire damage restoration on a building, some more vintage patio furniture, wheels, and more.
There’s also a nearly-finished (and very nice!) ’65 Chevy hot rod truck that’s for sale, so swing by the booth at the swap meet and talk to them!
NuTech Soda Blasting, Jefferson, Georgia; (706) 367-8107, or check out their website at www.nutechsodablasting.com
HUGE Power, Chick Rides and Foreign Stuff at Lamar Walden Automotive
I FINALLY got down to see Rob Walden this past week… It’s my Happy Place.
A survivor 409 engine was on the tear-down stand, which was just amazing to see.
I admit I got thrown at first when I saw an LS painted Pontiac-Engine-Blue—I saw the First-Gen Pontiac on the lift, and had to do a double-take to see the blue engine was an LS. They’re building the car for a customer who had another one for himself, and decided to build one for his wife. Walden’s shop is installing a 4L60, Vintage Air kit, Dakota Digital instrument cluster, Detroit Speed suspension and Baer Brakes.
The Pre-Historic Rat 409 drag car was there getting freshened up for the upcoming season, and they had a 14:71-blown 572 cubic inch “street motor” ready to go on the dyno before going in a customer’s ’39 Plymouth. (apparently, there’s no kill like overkill) Over in the other corner was a recently completely 455 Olds with a March pulley set waiting to go on the dyno.
This month’s aluminum restoration was a Jag dual overhead cam cylinder head.
I also got to see Rob’s ’33 Willys gasser project, a recreation of his dad’s race car from the ‘60s… I feel sorry for the other cars in his class, because they’re gonna learn the hard way about 409s!
It’s 50th year in business, Lamar Walden Automotive is in Doraville, Georgia; (770) 449-0315, firstname.lastname@example.org, lamarwaldenautomotive.com
Guns At The Show
Georgia is a Concealed and Open Carry State. I recently researched the laws and found the state doesn’t enforce “no carrying” rules at places of business (had to do a little research after two branches of my bank gave me completely opposing rules for carrying in the bank… one said it’s got to be open-carry in plain sight, with the off-duty cop security guard agreeing, the other branch said no guns allowed at all just like a court house, with that cop security guard very, very enthusiastically agreeing… So I’m taking a “Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell” approach to the issue… but from what I can find, there’s no law against carrying guns in the bank, and no law allowing police to enforce “No Carry” signs on businesses… but I digress…)
Anyway, as a business owner in a Concealed and Open Carry state, I am taking no position on carrying guns at the show. (other than to say “as fences make good neighbors, an armed society is a polite society.”)
I DO, however, have to take a position on guns for sale at the swap meet: No guns for sale, period. Can’t do it. No exceptions. Sorry, it’s in my lease with the track, as well as my insurance policy. And they WILL come down on me like the fist of an angry God if there’s guns for sale on the tables, so please don’t put me in that position.
Brad’s Tip on Making Things
There are two things in life where penetration is of the utmost importance: Welding is the other one.