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Thoughts on Iowa Gas 2015
#624778 Fri Aug 07 2015 11:16 AM
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BryceG Offline OP
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Thought it would be a good discussion topic for the site... what are your thoughts on the Iowa Gas 2015 show?

Pro(s)
Tons of vendors
Quality items & large variety
Good location & swap meet area

Con(s)
Start time/End time
Visitor parking/pickups
Vendor vehicle parking

I chose to go to Iowa Gas on Tuesday this year, as opposed to Wednesday in the past years. I always go to Iowa as a 1-day trip due to it falling in the middle of the week. The show was in full force by the time I got there at 8am Tuesday. I talked to some others and people had begun arriving as early as Saturday this year, with a good majority of vendors arriving by Sunday evening.

There was a great variety of petro at the show, many signs, gas pumps, oil cans, globes, neons, etc... something for everyone. There seemed to be more rare & quality signs than I remember in the past couple of years I have gone, however, I think sign asking prices were off the charts. Many signs priced at over two times what they would normally bring, in my opinion. I think this led to a lot of shoppers (including myself) to purchasing more globes & cans.

When speaking to multiple vendors Tuesday evening, the general consensus was that sales were somewhat low and that attendance was quite low as well (however, this was based off of Tuesday numbers, prior to the actual show date).

I loved the amount of vendors and the amount of goods brought to market by this show, and I can't wait to go back because you never know what is going to show up. Such a variety that it offers something to every level of collector, unlike some shows where you may not find many globes, cans, and/or pumps.

One complaint I have is something I noticed this year more than any other... and that is the amount of vendor spots filled with only parked vehicles and/or 1 or 2 items. This year, the Iowa show filled all of the available vendor spots... so surely there was a couple of people who would have preferred to setup that were unable to... but instead, someone paid the vendor fee so that they could have easy-access parking. (I might have even just setup for 1 day if I could have). It would be nice to see it enforced that people vending must offer items for sale and truly 'vend'.

Visitor parking is also an issue. The only options are to park on the surrounding streets, which becomes very congested. Or park in the airport overflow parking. Neither is good if you plan on buying anything large or have to make multiple trips back to your vehicle, and the swap area is off-limits for drive-in pickups.

I think the low attendance could be a result of the 'unofficial' start time of the show. Show is advertised for Weds-Fri, but really goes Sun-Weds? I saw people making purchases as early as Saturday night, and I saw one row of vendors completely empty by Thurs morning. I did not go to the auction, but I would think the attendance was low... everyone I talked to said they were not staying for the auction, cause by that time they'd been there for 5 days or more.

Regardless of the good & bad... its a show I will be sure to make it to every year.

What did everyone else think of Iowa?


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Re: Thoughts on Iowa Gas 2015
BryceG #624796 Fri Aug 07 2015 02:38 PM
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I have attended Iowa Gas for the last 26 years in a row, and the amount quality items for sale were the best, in the last 10 years. Many vendors are selling quality items now while the market is high. A few vendors were selling items to raise cash for the Kyle Moore Auction.

I arrived Sunday morning and there were only 6 outside vendors selling and around 5-6 inside vendors set up & selling. Monday was brisk and there were around 30 vendors selling. Tuesday was full force selling.

The vendors are the ones arriving early, setting up & selling before Wednesday. The organizers are trying to regulate this, but in the past when strict rules were in place, the show nearly died! Ron Hoyt told everyone at the Wednesday evening BBQ, that there would be NO MONDAY VENDING NEXT YEAR!!!

Parking has always been an issue, nothing new. Several spots out front had trailers taking up spaces, thus reducing available parking. In your registration packet, there were free parking vouchers for Wed. - Thur. to park at the lot across the street from the Ballroom side of the hotel.

As far as parking in vendor spots in the vending area, some of these were for the ballroom vendors who deserve to park on the vending lot.

I always taken the whole week off for vacation to attend the show. If you are a serious collector, then you will do the same thing. Remember, "The early bird gets the worm".

Last edited by Watchdog9; Sun Aug 09 2015 01:03 PM.
Re: Thoughts on Iowa Gas 2015
BryceG #624802 Fri Aug 07 2015 04:15 PM
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Good topic Bryce. Here's my 3 cents - for what it's worth:

We always seem to have the schedule debate here on Oldgas. I arrived Tuesday morning before 9am and I felt LATE. This is for a show that "starts" on Wednesday? I personally love the way CTO does it in Columbus. A set time for vendor setup that is well enforced makes it convenient and doable for those taking time off work to enjoy their hobby. Why have to take a whole week off for a show that honestly does not need to be more than 3 days including the auction? I understand early bird gets the worm, but why spend a week's vacation and additional lodging/meals because the show is stretched out? IF they are going to ban Monday vending, why not ban Tuesday too and keep it as a true Wednesday start (or even better- shift back to Thurs-Sat)? A shorter schedule means more people can/will take time off to travel to the show AND feel like they will really be able to take in the whole show. More people coming means more vendors AND more customers - a win for all, no matter what your goal is for the show! I had PLENTY of upset customers on Wednesday wondering why all the empty spots and people packing up?

Our vending spot was on the south side of the building - I had more than a few friends say "I didn't know you were set up- where are you?". It was a less than perfect spot, BUT, I signed up late and took what they had. Not allowing vehicle parking in vendor stalls would help this issue. The new ballroom and north end of hotel is very nice (I missed last year so hadn't seen it), but the hallways around the rooms are still HOT and smelly. NOTHING like the Embassy in Columbus - now that is a host hotel! The concession stand outside is gone, there are no portable toilets, and I didn't see any security at night if it was there? Parking is always a terrible problem at this venue - both for vendors and more importantly for customers. This is reason alone to find a new location.

I thought the auction looked noticeably sparse, and IMO several nice high ticket signs went through at bargain prices this morning (unfortunately before I was logged in and bidding live). I had several people tell me there wasn't enough in the auction for them to justify staying another 2-3 days. The early start definitely hurts auction attendance. There is no way I'd consign a good piece if the schedule doesn't change.

Now for the good: Always lots of nice items to choose from, many good friends to catch up with, cheese curds and Spotted Cow with fellow Old Gas'ers, room hopping is always fun, and it wasn't 99 in the shade!

If this show were Thursday, Friday, Saturday at a nice hotel where everyone could get a room, have more vending space and parking- it could reclaim it's title as the "Best GAS show". Until then it will be another one that I will continue to go to since it's close - but still always think "if only" or " why not____"??

I know it's not easy to put on a show, and I say all this as constructive criticism/discussion. In the end I am happy to have one of the biggest gas shows several hours away. It's kept me coming back for most of the last 25 years, and I'll be back again next year...

Re: Thoughts on Iowa Gas 2015
mdmike #624818 Fri Aug 07 2015 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted By mdmike


I always taken the whole week off for vacation to attend the show. If you are a serious collector, then you will do the same thing. Remember, "The early bird gets the worm".

I figure that I'm a serious collector and there's no way I'm taking a week off to go to the show.


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Re: Thoughts on Iowa Gas 2015
BryceG #624825 Fri Aug 07 2015 07:29 PM
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It's hard for me to justify taking a weeks vacation away from my growing family. My wife has no desire to see Iowa again for vacation lol. I also agree that trimming it down like cto would bring more people back. I can go to Iowa or cto as they are both an 8 hour drive for me. I have chose cto for the last few years as I'm not showing up Sunday for a show on Wednesday. I know the best of the best shows up here and always will. If they would regulate the days Iike cto I would go back.


Originals only for me. Always looking for Simpson oil, Super A, and MFA oil cans and globes.
Shawn Morris
Re: Thoughts on Iowa Gas 2015
BryceG #624835 Fri Aug 07 2015 09:01 PM
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I have not gone now for about 15 years simply because you can never get there too early and a lot of things I look for are pre sold.
This year sounds different but why make the trip to have to stay when most of the people go home after the first three days.

Needs to be more strict on the time of event and some how stick to it.

The auction sounded like it had its problems this year and so buyers were happy and sellers are probably still unhappy.


Craig
Re: Thoughts on Iowa Gas 2015
BryceG #624852 Fri Aug 07 2015 10:39 PM
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I enjoyed the show, it was very fun. I got there Monday morning around 10am and there was plenty to look through already. Early bird does get the worm. It just seems to be getting earlier and earlier lol.


Braden Splichal

Re: Thoughts on Iowa Gas 2015
BryceG #624856 Fri Aug 07 2015 11:10 PM
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I don't know who is correct, but if you click on the events tab at the top of the page it states that the show stared on Tuesday and ended on Friday.

Each show has different rules, and actually the rules are hard to enforce. Just two guys and their wives running everything.

I did not go to the first one, but I was at the second one. These were the days where everyone paid the same amount and when you pulled in they gave you enough room to park your truck and plenty of room to display your items. Remember, this was back in 1989, and they had not invented tables yet, so everything was laying on the ground. I wish I had started taking pictures of the early shows, but I do have pictures on my website that go back to around 2002. http://petrolianacollectibles.com/picture%20album.htm

It may take me while, but I do have a few pictures taken around 1990 at Iowa. Will post them when I find them.

Back in the early 1990s it seemed to be more fun and less getting there early enough to get some rare globe or sign.

I think it is an asset to have that overflow parking lot available, there just isn't enough street spots available. I believe they do allow you to drive in and pick up items. If I am wrong, how about telling the vendors to hold the items and drive in after 6:00 p.m. Nobody is going to tell you, you can't do that then.

As an editor for CTO I have always favored that show. Again I attended the second one they had and have followed them to a number of motels. As someone above said, the Embassy Suites is really set up for this type of show, but at any show there is always a parking problem. Unless they held this show at the Iowa State Fairgrounds (and you drove back and fourth to a motel) there isn't a place in Des Moines that could accommodate this size of a show.

Jack Sim


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Re: Thoughts on Iowa Gas 2015
BryceG #624861 Sat Aug 08 2015 03:38 AM
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I only have a certain amount of days a year to take off for this show and I stopped going completely last year for nearly every reason mentioned.I go to many oil & gas,antique toy as well as cars & parts swapmeets throughout the year.Not one one of them is run like Iowa Gas.They start at the time advertised,and not before with no grey area,and if you don't abide,you are not invited back ever.This show seems to encourage & regulate just the opposite and brags,"thats just how enthusiastic & eager everyone is",and that's wrong & false in my eyes.This show should be more about the people,and meeting them,then about who scored what and for how much and how early.But this is the same ole broken record.Every year @ this time,complaints about the not set in stone start time,odd auction schedule and a better hotel w/parking,all fall on deaf ears as those who run the show and also those who get there many days before,basically say tough.
It's a good group of people with massive amounts of knowledge,experiences to share and awesome collections too,and this show deserves to be planned & policed much better then this.
To me,Iowa Gas is a 4 letter word & needs an enema.


Collecting Vintage Sunoco
Re: Thoughts on Iowa Gas 2015
BryceG #624867 Sat Aug 08 2015 06:19 AM
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OT question. It was mentioned that the auction had problems. Any info on how it went?


Have gas all the time
Re: Thoughts on Iowa Gas 2015
BryceG #624884 Sat Aug 08 2015 09:26 AM
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Been going 15 years and my favorite part is seeing the people that I only get to see once a year that also make the trip.

I've only be vending the last 2 years and other than a few large presold items, I only bring about a dozen items but sold most of them so even though traffic seemed light people were buying.

Parking has always been the same problem but considering that before I vended I just parked next door in the Airport overflow parking lot (5$ a day) and always made walking trips back and forth or had venders hold items I bought till I left so No problem for me.

Early bird get's the worm to me is BS because I found some awesome deals on a pump and a number of Signs as I do every year Thursday afternoon. And there were still a few vending during the auction on Friday Morning.

It also was announced during the Dinner that the show is going to go back to policing early vending so that the show will have a solid starting time.

The Room to room at Iowa has always been great as it's such a nice venue see a ton of stuff and sit and chat making new friends each year.

As far as the auction goes I don't think there were any more issues than at any other I have been to. Rich and his crew did a nice layout displaying the items beautify and there were plenty of his crew to help out if needed. So for this being his first year hosting it, I think it can only get better. Was also nice to be back to the 10% fee!!

I think you can see in all the photos that Wes and I posted that the show had plenty of stuff for everyone looking. As a vender, I would always love more foot traffic and I plan on sharing a few ideas with Ron and John from the Car show / swaps I have helped run. But when I looked up and down the side streets on Wednesday morning they were full of vehicles and trailers so all looked good.

My final thoughts is that the show will go on and every year will have good and bad points as every sway meet does.
The Hotel as always did a good job even with all the construction/improvements going on.
The Vending spots were totally filled almost completely around the building which provided some amazing stuff.
The ones that come early and leave early do that by choice and that should not make or break the schedule of the show.
4 floors of room to room swaps that go from Monday thru Thursday evening is awesome providing great stuff and conversation.

So as I have said before, the show is scheduled to Run Wednesday thru Friday. If you only come for one day that's your choice but don't use your opinions on that to make it look like the shows over before it starts. There was a good crop of younger buyers this year which makes us feel great for the future of our hobby and lets let them make their own opinions out on when they want to come or can come to the show.

Oh and by the way, please take a look at my Buys of the week on Sunday night and what you will see is other than a few pre bought items (Tiolene and Koolmoter signs), a bunch of items a guy bought by sleeping in each morning (never hit the show before 8:30 am) and purchased right up to the end for my individual collection.

Thanks to everyone I got to see again this year and to the new friends I made, I look forward to seeing you again next year!

Last edited by Mike M.; Sat Aug 08 2015 11:36 AM.

Thanks
Mike

Always Looking for any Pure Oil and Sunoco Items.
Re: Thoughts on Iowa Gas 2015
BryceG #624886 Sat Aug 08 2015 09:41 AM
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I too have been going to Iowa Gas with a group of friends for the last 16 years or so and have always loved it. Yes, the start date has been slowly creeping up and when I arrived Monday afternoon I felt as I was late. I agree that there is a huge problem of people renting two spaces only to room vend or not vend at all. The show was sold out but people who wanted to vend got stuck on the south side where there is limited traffic. We always rent two spots, fill one spot up and the area in front of our trailer. The 2 spots next to us have sat empty for the last 3 years because he parks in the hotel parking and vends from his room. He wants to keep renting it so he has the same spot in case he changes his mind someday. Nice guy but it only hurts the show.

All these years I have never stayed for the auction, too far out from when the action starts and stops. I vote to have the auction start at 2:00 on Wed. Maybe only accept X number of items that can be sold in a certain amount of time. I am sure the auction house would do that. Everyone is already there with their trailers and cash, no internet fee and shipping issues. Most venders are heading inside by that time anyway. Tue-Thur, done! I seriously believe it would increase auction selling prices and interest as you would capture the whole Iowa Gas crowd. Change the BBQ to Tue as we are all there anyway, and don't allow official setting up and vending until 0500 Tuesday. There is no way to completely stop everyone from chating and looking in trailers, just part of the fun but setting up so early kind of hurts things.

Ok, there is my 2 cents. Overall an awesome show and a big thanks to the guys who make it happen. See everyone next year. Thanks, Todd.


Coryell 70/Nebraska items wanted
Re: Thoughts on Iowa Gas 2015
BryceG #624901 Sat Aug 08 2015 10:51 AM
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Good show as always. I bought a few small things, nothing major. That will happen if you only collect one main brand as your collection gets bigger. The start time could be enforced better. Set up at 0600 on Wednesday. Show Wednesday and Thursday and auction on Friday. A lot of options. Maybe not sell the guy with the higher quality fake unmarked 30 inch porcelain signs a vending spot? Locking down the show days can bring in more people. Then again, a show with only dealers can still be successful. A show with only buyers will not be.


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Re: Thoughts on Iowa Gas 2015
Wes Maxwell #624904 Sat Aug 08 2015 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted By Wes Maxwell
Maybe not sell the guy with the higher quality fake unmarked 30 inch porcelain signs a vending spot? Locking down the show days can bring in more people. Then again, a show with only dealers can still be successful. A show with only buyers will not be.


Well put Wes!


Thanks
Mike

Always Looking for any Pure Oil and Sunoco Items.
Re: Thoughts on Iowa Gas 2015
BryceG #624913 Sat Aug 08 2015 12:42 PM
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Haven't seen much mention about the wide variety of goodies from the nearly 50 vendors found inside the new Exhibition Hall at the hotel. Perhaps that's called the new "Ballroom". The Exhibition Hall vendors are only able to begin setting up at 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday. The doors to the hall are locked up until that time. I heard more than one person say they weren't aware there were inside vendors at the meet! There wasn't any signing in the hotel lobby or in the outdoor vending area to indicate "Many more vendors inside".

To me, it seemed like foot traffic was down a bit this year, but that many sales were still being consummated. I heard some vendors saying it was their best Iowa Gas ever....while other sellers felt it was their worst. I think it's possible that individual vendor pricing of their stuff was the major influencing factor in these two different outcomes. As one vendor who indicated this was his best Iowa Gas ever noted to me, "I work hard to find good stuff, and then I PRICE IT TO SELL". My observation was that the vendors not happy with their sales hadn't followed the second part of this other seller's equation for success.

There was certainly plenty of money available in buyer's pockets this year, and the economy (good or bad) didn't seem to be a factor in someone making a purchasing decision.

As has been mentioned, for all its "warts", there's still no place like Iowa Gas. What a wonderful place to go to improve our collections, renew friendships from the hobby, and to finally put a face on some of the Old Gas ID's many of us have seen here throughout the year. It was great to see many of you in Des Moines this year. John

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