Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Long Beach Comic Expo 2015 - Load-in & Setup

Our second show of the year was Long Beach Comic Expo held at the Long Beach Convention Center.

We attended this show for the first time back at the end of May/beginning of June and had a great time. I loaded in on Friday and then my friend, Maico, came out and gave me a hand in the booth on Saturday and Sunday.

Load in this year was 180 degrees better than last year. Last year, the event was held in one of the smaller rooms in the main portion of the center and we had to load in via the food and beverage loading dock.

Now, when I hear loading dock, I think of a big platform area that has ramp attached to it and you can roll hand carts or pallet jacks up. No such luck. There were stairs but no ramp. Fortunately I was able to convince the security guy to let me pull my truck up to the ramp to unload it and then go park it before I took myself up to the vendor hall. I think he's still impressed that I got the truck unloaded and moved in under 15 minutes. ;)

This year, the load in was amazing! I got up to Long Beach about 12:30 pm and had to wait in line for about 15/20 minutes before I could unload the truck.

Since the event was in a bigger hall,  I actually got to drive my truck onto the vendor floor and unload one row over from my booth! The same went for load-out! To date that has been the best load-in/out at any show.

Long Beach Comic Expo and it's sister show, Long Beach Comic Con, are only two days, which leaves Friday for load-in and set up. After unloading everything, I went and parked the truck and checked into the Hyatt next door to the convention center, yeah it's more expensive to stay there, but it means I can get up 30-45 minutes before I have to be at the vendor hall and wander over, no driving or trying to find parking. Yes, I'm lazy. ;) Besides, the hotel is right across from our favorite Long Beach restaurant, The Auld Dubliner, which is of course where I went for dinner after I was done setting up.

I got 90% of the booth set up by 6:45 and since the hall was closing a 7pm, I decided to call it a night and head out to dinner. Of course I didn't think anything about whether or not there was another convention going on, so I didn't expect every table in the place to be either filled or reserved. Fortunately our favorite waitress, Suzie, was working and she got me a seat at the bar pretty quickly.

Since I didn't know how full the place was going to be Saturday night, I took the precaution of making dinner reservations so that when Tawmis, Maico & Amiee arrived, we'd have a table for dinner.

As usual, the food was amazing and since Cindy couldn't be there to help out, (Friday was her birthday) I ordered a glass of 18 year old McCallan along with a Guinness and toasted her for her birthday.

After dinner I headed back to the hotel to wait for Macio to arrive from San Diego. and incidentally ended up passing out about 15 minutes before he was dropped off by Tawmis & Amiee. I was conked out so hard (I blame being exhausted from set up and the whiskey!) that I didn't hear him knock. Fortunately, his name was on the room, so they gave him a key and of course true to Murphy's Law, I woke up when he opened the door.

 We sat and chatted a bit over a glass of rum and coke before we went to sleep.

HRM Steampunk Symposium 4 - 2015 - Recap Part II

For those of you who missed Part I, you can read it over here

Saturday morning we pried ourselves out of bed, made coffee in the french press,  dressed for vending and headed up stairs to prep for the onslaught of customers.

We made some minor tweaks to the displays and put out the books that we got from Drake & McTrowell on consignment, which is now available at our online store, we were ready for business, well mostly, there was still more coffee to be had and some food too!

Saturday was crazy for us! When I said onslaught of customers, I wasn't kidding.We had a constant flow of customers come through the booth all day, with very little down time.Come 4:40 pm when they announced that the vendor hall was going to close, Cindy and I looked at each other in shock. I don't think we've every had a day of vending go by that fast. It was such a whirlwind that it took me a bit to remember that I did indeed have lunch and what it was.

Once the vendor hall closed and we covered everything up, we headed to the room and changed into some more comfortable clothes. We relaxed a bit while I added up the numbers from the day and made sure that all the sales were logged and recorded (I swear I'm going to get a barcode scanner one of these days)

From there we again headed to the Auld Dubliner for dinner and then came back to the hotel. We considered heading out to the ball, but we opted to stay in and relax mostly because we didn't feel like getting dressed back up into Steampunk gear.

Sunday was another busy day though it slowed down at the end when most people opted to head home and not stay the extra day.

Monday we drug ourselves out of bed for the final day of vending and since it was such a short day we wore our every day clothes so when it came time to pack up and load out, we didn't have to go change.

Load out went pretty fast, I think we were packed up and on the road in about 2 hours, from there we made our usual stop at Dairy Queen for food, before getting back to San Diego and unloading everything at the shop.