View Cart
radar gun pricingradar gun operationsradar gun newsradar gun renting


56 West Main St.
Norwich, NY 13815

Quarterly Strike Newsletter Volume 6

Major Leaguer Joe Ausanio
Gives Pitching Demo at Booth

Former Pirate and New York Yankee pitcher, Joe Ausanio, came out to meet the home town fans at the Hudson Valley Mall in Kingston, N.Y. during the malls November sports card show. Sponsored by the Athlete's Foote store and local promoter Gary Welch, The Yankee reliever signed autographs, answered questions and most importantly, threw some major heat and some major business my way.
Since I always set up the booth at Gary's mall card shows, he asked me if Joe could use the booth for a short time to give the fans a pitching demonstration. This is just great publicity and Joe didn't disappoint me or the fans. He threw some 80 plus MPH fastballs (he's been clocked over 90 MPH) and he threw some great business my way as the crowds gathered to watch then pitch at my booth.
Part of the fun of owning a booth is at times getting to meet great sports celebrities. Hall of Famers Joe Pepitone and Hockey Great Phil Espisito have also taken some tosses. Terry Bradshaw and Willie Mays are among others who have watched the pitching activities at various events I attended. If there's a celebrity your anxious to meet this is the perfect business to be in. Look through Beckett Baseball Card Magazine for a sports card convention in your area and see whose signing autographs. Than call that promoter to set the booth up at the show and as a vendor you
could have great access to meet your favorite athletes, get an autograph and your making
money to boot!!

Kicking A New Habit

Soccer: A new Goldmine of Profits and Enthusuiasm

Yes, I am aware that this is the second consecutive issue where I've endorsed timing soccer kicks as a possible source of work. However, last issue was based on theory and opinion. I now come to you with this plea... DO IT! Pursue soccer with the same passion as a 49er pursuing gold. DO IT NOW!

I attended my first soccer tournament in October and it was glorious fun. One of my local sports card promoters sons play in a soccer league and he referred me to the tournament director of the annual Poughkeepsie event. The soccer tournament spanned 2 days with over 80 teams playing at an 8 field facility. My arrangement was to give 20% of the gross income generated to the sponsoring team.

I set the booth up Friday night with the first games at 10:00 AM Saturday. So, I strolled in Saturday morning about 9:30 and what a mistake that was. The place was already mobbed and the moment I picked up the speed gun it was money in the bank. The timer did not get set down for 3 hours and business was brisk until mid afternoon. Both days were equal in activity with the booth grossing over $400 each day.

I charged the usual 5 trys(kicks) for $2.00 and I had no prizes. Curiosity was the only motivation to play. Realize that it is much more common to have your pitches timed than you kicks so almost all the players have never had this opportunity. Another plus is that the girls took to it with the same vigor as the guys. A boys arm is no match for a girls but they can generate comparable strength with their legs.

Most enjoyable was the level of enthusiasm of the participants and onlookers. I get no bigger thrill than reveling in how much fun my business is creating and watching the kids "perform" with the support of their parents. Another tradition I began was setting up a stand with my fundraising information displayed. This is discussed more on the back page of this news letter. I did, of course, convert my fundraiser to Kick-A-Thon for soccer. Also note that a few players had some pitches timed so I made a few extra bucks by having baseballs available.

Soccer is becoming the sport of choice for the masses over football as the equipment costs are minimal, the injury risks are minimal and brute strength is not a necessity. To tap in to this market simply open your phone book. Many communities have indoor facilities for soccer which means there are leagues going year round. A host of teams enjoy traveling to tournaments so Kick-A-Thon is a great fundraiser to fund those trips.

Making your booth available to set up at games or at practices may work but you need to contact someone who knows where the tournaments are held. That's where the the big money is made and it's a great place to give out your Kick-A-Thon information. Most tournaments have food and soccer related vendors so the directors should be very open to having the booth set-up. Ask questions concerning past events and anticipated attendance. Be sure to request a high traffic location. You want to be set up where the kids congregate between games. If they want over $150 to set up, offer a percentage but not 50/50. Do It Now!

Lets PLAY BALL, At The Mall

Looking Back on almost 3 years of Pitching Booth success, it's hard to believe that in the beginning, I considered malls to be the most logical choice for operating my business. In fact, it now seems the most unlikely of places but still, it is where a large portion of my income is generated. For all of us in the northern regions of the country, climate necessitates indoor operation if we seek year round profits. With the prime mall months of February through May approaching, it is timely to give some insights about these important profit paradises.

There are 2 ways to set up in a mall. The first is by renting floor space from the mall management like a mall store or kiosk. YOU CAN NOT AFFORD IT. So, that leaves the second option, renting the floor space from an outside promoter who is putting on a particular event at the mall. Now, we all know what kind of event I'm referring to... A SPORTS CARD SHOW!

Sports card shows are a prime reason why this business is a success all year. A sports card promoter will rent floor space in a mall for a weekend and then sublet that space per table to sports card dealers. Compare that renting floorspace in a mall for a 10'x10' square could cost between $300 & $1000 a weekend. However, the same space could be sublet into 4 tables that are rented for $50 to $150 per table so if the sports card promoter rents floor space from the mall for $300 and sublets the space into 4 tables at $100 per table then the promoter profits $100.

The Pitching Booth does not need a table, just floor space. A promoter generally doesn't rent space by footage, he usually will rent a section of the mall and layout a specific number of tables accordingly. That means that any extra space is dead cost. By putting the pitching booth in the unused space, he's creating extra profit for himself. This is one reason why promoters appreciate the booth and though a 10'x'15' space could generate $400 or $500 dollars of tables, I almost always get the space for the cost of one table, In fact I insist on it. Aside from extra income, there are other factors to you being important to his event, the booth creates a more active atmosphere and lends a sense of credibility to the show and you are not in direct competition with the dealers.

So, how do you find these sports card shows, there's one great source I use and it's called Beckett Baseball Card Magazine. This magazine is the bible of the sports card industry giving current prices and relevant articles plus a nation wide listing of sports card shows. You can get the magazine at some news stands and at almost any sports card shop. It is a monthly magazine that has a months advance publishing date. This means that if it hits the stands the first week in January the issue date is actually February. This is important to know since if you get the February issue in January then you will have a February listing of card shows a month in advance to help you in planning.

If you are not familiar with the sports card industry then you will be stunned at the number of shows occurring each month. In the January '95 issue there are 77 sports card shows listed for my state of New York. A January 7-8 Schenectady show is one I will be attending. The listing gives the location, mall hours, number of tables and price for the show along with the promoter and his phone number In reviewing the information the first thing to note is that the event is multiple days, in most cases Saturday & Sunday. This is significant assuming you want to work as much as possible. Some shows run 3 or 4 days which is ideal since the cost per extra day is usually minimal. Another significant factor is the number of tables. Twenty five to fifty tables is average for most mall shows. Anything less that 15 tables should concern you. In each case it is important to check out the mall in advance but generally a 15 table show is at an outlet or discount malls. Unless you can set up for under $75 a weekend, avoid them.

The table cost is important to know since you will base your bottom line on this price. In the Schenectady show listing, the tables are $120 per table for the weekend. This is the price I will pay for my floor space. However, this is not set in stone. Logic would first dictate that I may be using the equivalent of 4 tables thus my cost would be much higher. Most promoters will realize that you operate differently than a dealer and charge you at the one table rate.

In many instances, your first contact with a promoter will be awkward since they have never rented the space to anyone other than dealers. This gives you the opportunity to establish the guidelines. Briefly explain what you do then insinuate that the table price listed in Beckett would be fair. If he has any resistance then just explain that you generate your income a dollar at a time at it wouldn't be smart business to pay more for the space.

Some promoters have a solid relationship with the mall and others are completely powerless. Almost all promoters will need to have clearance with the mall for you to set up but most like the idea of an extra activity for their patrons. In some cases you may need to contact the mall manager and explain what you do, especially if the promoter is impartial.

A very important factor is your location in the mall. This is the type of business that thrives on crowds watching then joining the fun. A central location in the mall is vital. I do not necessarily mean center court but be sure you are in the flow of activity. You want to make sure you're not the at the end of a dead section. as long as your location allows patrons to pass you twice you should be fine.

Knowing the mall is also key. Despite the fact that a card show is at the mall, that doesn't mean the traffic will increase. A dead mall is a frustrating experience. Some malls may be dead unfortunately on that weekend but a boom town on others. Try to become familiar with the malls before you work there. Most malls that have a food court, cinemas and an arcade should generate youth traffic.

Finally, remember that when it rains it pours; profits that is. Cold weather or rain will bring patrons to the malls. Once you establish a presence at the mall, people associated with many other activities will see you and help generate other events for the future in the mall and come nice weather.

Friday is Dollar Day

When choosing between events, I always note any Friday dates as first priority. Friday's are a very important part of your work weekend. In malls it is by far the best night for teen traffic and it's a great night to kick off field day festivities.

However, many events only run Saturday & Sunday. Especially mall sports card shows since many card vendors work weekday jobs on Friday. This does not mean that you can not make an arrangement to be there on Friday. Once you become comfortable with an event promoter, ask them or the mall management if they would allow you to operate on Friday.
Offer to hand out fliers to your customers about the weekend card show at the mall and consider the pitching booth to be a promotional tool to that end.

In some cases you may not be charged for set up that day but If they do want money for the extra day, offer no more than $50. This is fair since the mall will be slow until late afternoon and you are helping promote the weekend event. Expect to gross $80 to $150 and be sure not to pack up early since many mall evenings have late night movie traffic.

Fund Raising Information Here, Take One!

Since creating the Pitch-A-Thon fundraising program, I've gotten some great response to the concept and this year I hope to pursue those interested leagues. A majority of leagues will obviously pass or put it off till next year so getting the program outline around to the most people will greatly increase the number of leagues that want to do it. This means not just getting the outline to league directors but also to coaches, parents & players.

The best way to do this is to set the information out when operating the booth. I place a tripod stand behind me and set my outline sheets in an 81/2" x 11" holder with a sign above the holder reading "Fundraising Information... Take One!"; plus I add other tidbits about raising money for uniforms and trips also noting the organizations that can benefit from the info like Little League, Babe Ruth and soccer leagues for Kick-A-Thon.

At a recent soccer tournament, I had about 70 outlines taken so there's alot of them out there. When someone comes by to take one, I'll ask them if there's any questions I can help them with to hopefully make a positive first impression. If I notice an adult with a local team hat or shirt I'll ask if they're a coach, then hand them an outline for their interest.

Remember that one good fundraiser a month can generate a lot of money for all so get that information out and about.