Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Comic & Entertainment Expo 2011

Wow! What a fun weekend. For those of you that live under a rock somewhere in Calgary, last weekend was the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo. This is a major event in Calgary each year. This year they opened for Friday evening (first time in their history) and the fans were very receptive. They were estimating 30k through the doors over the 3 days and I'm sure they hit it. While they did have a ton of geeks and nerds roaming the floor it was less "cramped" then the past couple years, or at least that is what it felt like for the times I was wandering the floor.

Lots of friends dropped by our booth, which by a mistake in editing was omitted from the pamphlet. We continuously have expanded our booth over the past 4 years. Our first booth was a last minute cancellation that I was able to snag. The spot was horrendous! I was across from Coco Brooks and the food line-up was stifling all of my space until, after a few loud complaints from me, they managed to actually put up a switch back line-up and corralled the patrons into a manageable line. Our next booth was again near concession. We were given a second booth after the Sentry Box was a no-show and they were scrambling to fill the vendor space. So "yay me" a double booth for the price of a single. But with only one concession to feed the 10k people my front area was blocked for 3 hours on the busy Saturday. Last year the booth was a corner with an additional single booth (so a big "L") and we were again kind of in a weird location (across from the "Scream booth"). The line-up for Leonard Nimoy stretched along the booth so there was little "traffic" (other than those poor bastards waiting 5 hours for his autograph).

This year was much different. We were on an end-cap. That is a 200 sq ft area. We packed it to the gills with a sampling of our wares. Board games, RPGs, CCGs and our Used Video Game selection. We also ran the Free RPG Day promotion (both Saturday and Sunday) and handed out 760 flyers with all of our information on it plus a CCEE coupon for the store. So far 11 of them have made it back.

Personally I was surprised once again that our biggest competitor had a booth (looked like a double) but were not showcasing any of their product. It really looked like something that they grabbed from the back of their storage. They were not even set up when the VIP patrons were in the building and a lot of people were wondering if they were going to no-show again. My take on the Expo is exposure for the store. The sales are a great benefit, but getting our name out there to me is more important than anything. Already it is paying benefits with the Calgary Geek's Social Club is running a board game night on Tuesday the 28th and we were mentioned on the Game Flavor podcast To me, that is what the convention is all about.

The best thing from the entire event was being able to actually take some time and do the "geeky fan thing". My GF and I along with my "weekend minions" Tracy and Andreas came in early on Sunday to get autographs from the entire cast of the Guild and we even did the Photo Op with them. They are truly a great group of people that really went the extra mile to come in early for the Exhibitors and Volunteers.

My true appreciation goes out to Gwen, Tracy and Andreas. Those folks busted their asses for me all weekend. Never complained, always smiling and were true professionals. I could not have done this Expo without them. Truly some of the best people I know and love! They even volunteered already for the next con in April and are brainstorming ways to make the booth run smoother and be even more attractive!

I know for a fact I will never miss a CCEE and we will just continue to grow with them! Well done all around.

Monday, June 13, 2011


Whew! Just when you think the work is over....

It doesn't seem like 3 months until we run Myth-a-Con again. We just ran one back in January and we are gluttons for punishment and doing it again for September. Now this is not a semi-annual event. Far from it. We had originally planned for the con to run in November of 2010. There was a "booking error" and we were forced to move into January. None-the less we had a fantastic turnout of miniatures players and role-players. 150 players and volunteers made the weekend so much fun.

Our original plan was to run it on the September long weekend in 2010 but the hall was not available. After January we rebooked the venue for September (we actually locked it in back in November 2010) but were given the news that the venue had booked a "major tennant" for every Sunday and we could no longer have that day. Now a Friday/ Saturday con sucks for those that have to travel, so off to find a new venue!

It did not take me long to get our new "home" the Marlbourough Park Community Association. Great place and we were able to book it for the next 3 years.

Now its time to get all the posters out and ramp up our advertising for it. I have been working for the past 4 hours updating websites, emailing volunteers and getting a hold of manufacturers for prize support.

And my part is pretty minor. For the Warhammer guys they are feverishly working on terrain sets for their tables. I am organizing WarMachine terrain building days to spruce up our forests and hills plus trying to build more scenery. There will be a lot of hills, forests and square buildings to fill up the tables!

So this week I need to finish the monsters for the D&D Open, get a rough draft from my partner of the story bits, contact all the manufacturers for prize support and run the posters to all the D&D shops in Calgary.