By Albert Bobrofsky
The Michigan State Numismatic Society was confronted with an extraordinary crisis this past spring and summer. It was publicly announced in the state-wide Detroit newspapers that the hotel management where we have held our fall convention and coin show since 1976 would be ending Oct. 1, 2012. No new manager of the hotel has been yet announced, and it was questionable whether the hotel would continue operating as it had in the past.
Our popular fall convention and coin show has been held over Thanksgiving weekend since the early 1960s and now annually draws 200-plus dealers and 4,000-plus public for the three-day event with the Friday after Thanksgiving attracting one-half of the attendees. In order to continue our fall convention and coin show, decisions had to be made: Should we remain at the same venue and hold our convention in October while the hotel was still operating under current management? Or with no assurance that a new facility operator would be in place after Nov. 1, should we continue our fall convention and coin show over Thanksgiving weekend and find a new location?
Knowing change would be a big concern, the board was polled and there was no interest in changing the date of our show to a weekend other than Thanksgiving weekend. The president, with board approval, appointed a committee to investigate and secure a new site for our fall event.
I must say that our former venue was an excellent location that included on-site accommodations with bourse and exhibit space for our event. But space was tight as our show had grown such that an annex had to be added to accommodate our dealers and educational exhibits.
The committee consisted of eight members including two dealers, the immediate past president, our convention coordinator and our secretary-treasurer. The board directed that a new site must be found, the dates must be the same and in the Metro Detroit area, that it must be dealer friendly, and costs must be consistent with our previous venue. After investigating many sites, we found four sites that were sufficient to accommodate our convention and coin show. The Macomb Community College Sports and Expo Center was chosen for our new location.
Many things had to be considered: the bourse space had to be dealer-friendly, table fees should be kept the same, educational exhibit space must be available and adequate for the number of projected exhibitors, not to mention free parking, security, tables/covers, chairs and food service. Publicity and information to the numismatic community would be critical; national advertising together with local newspapers, radio and television would be needed to get the word of our change to the public.
With a very active committee, different tasks were assigned. As he would not be available for several weeks, the president assigned authority to me as the vice president to secure and sign a contract with the expo center.
With all of this transpiring, our number one priority was to keep our dealers and attendees informed. We are encouraged that a local coin club in the immediate area has a one-day show nearby each year that draws about 1,000 attendees. The floor plan drawn by our convention coordinator will have all dealers and educational exhibits in one room, a first for us. Notifying our dealers of the location change was a priority, and updating them as we continue to address all aspects was equally important.
Hotel accommodations needed to be secured, flyers needed to be designed and printed for distribution, and website information needed to be posted. National advertising needed to be secured so dealers, collectors and the public will be informed about the move.
Hopefully this increased exposure will draw both new dealers and collectors to our new site.
We are encouraged that major jewelry, antique and trade shows and national fly-fishing and state health services conventions have all had successful events at our new venue.
Now, two months before our annual fall convention, many tasks will be fine-tuned and this very good and active volunteer committee will be going in every direction to promote our annual convention/show and the new venue to provide an outstanding numismatic experience to all dealers, collectors and the general public.
This Viewpoint was written by Albert Bobrofsky of Battle Creek, Mich. Viewpoint is a forum for the expression of opinion on a variety of numismatic subjects. To have your opinion considered for Viewpoint, write to David C. Harper, Editor, Numismatic News, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990. Send email to email@example.com.