Indiana Comic Con 2015
Indiana Comic Con returned for its second year at the Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis over the weekend of March 13-15, 2015. Because of the overwhelming success they experienced last year, they'd greatly enlarged the con space, switching to the halls GenCon usually uses for their dealers' room.
Because we were selling, we came in on Thursday to load in and set up. This year the logistics of setup were much better, since we could load straight in instead of having to haul everything through a maze of back corridors to get to where we needed to be. Furthermore, we had several friends helping us, which really sped things up. Many hands do make light work.
Even while we were still hauling stuff in, my husband started the process of arranging the tables and getting our sales structures put together. Once everything was in, we worked as fast as we could to get all the merchandise into place. Some of it wasn't going quite as well as we'd hoped, and by the time they wanted us to clear out for the night, it was becoming increasingly obvious that no, we weren't going to get everything out, even with three booths instead of the two we'd bought the previous year.
Since we'd eaten sandwiches for supper while we were at the convention center, we could go straight home. I then ran up to our storage unit to retrieve a book I needed to ship and I took care of a few chores around the house before turning in for the night.
Friday morning we had to get up extra early so I could drop the book off at the post office on the way to the convention center. We wanted to get there as soon as we could so that we could finish setup and still have some time to look around before the dealers' room opened to the public. Because we were bringing in an additional table, I dropped everyone off at the convention center, then headed over to the parking lot to park the car.
By the time I walked back to the convention center, we had everything pretty well set up. I took some time to walk around, and saw some other dealers I knew. We talked about business and about other conventions that might be good to check out.
When the doors opened, the traffic seemed slower than I remembered from the previous year. Of course the much larger dealers' room meant that the customers would be spread thinner, and I remembered that even the previous year Friday had been slower than Saturday or Sunday. Having to deal with rain may have also reduced the crowd that turned out for the first day. So I tried not to get too worried when we still hadn't quite made expenses at the end of the evening. We headed over to a downtown Irish pub for supper before going back home for the evening. I had to go up to the storage unit again to retrieve merchandise, then did bookwork, including an application for another convention.
On Saturday we had to drop off merchandise at the post office before we could go downtown. I repeated the process of dropping everyone off at the convention center, since we had a fair amount of merchandise we wanted to add to our setup and didn't want to have to carry it all the way from the parking lot.
When I got to the convention center, I did a little work on our setup, trying to make it look its best. I moved some stuff around to create a sense of freshness and made sure that everything we sold was restocked.
Then the doors opened and we started getting truly busy. Although it was never to the extreme levels we had in 2014 and I was able to go to the restroom when I needed to, there were still some times when we couldn't keep up with all our customers. That may have been more a function of people not being willing to wait, but it was still disappointing to have someone drop their selections and walk away.
After the dealers' room closed for the evening, we headed up to a Chinese buffet for supper. Then I went to the storage unit and retrieved some more duplicates of items that had sold. When I got home, I did a little more bookwork, trying to keep up with sales of stuff we were also selling online.
On Sunday we had to take two vehicles again, so that we would have the van to take our unsold merchandise back home. I drove it straight to the parking lot while my husband took the rest of our crew to the convention center and dropped them off.
Once again we were busy all day, although never to the point of becoming overwhelmed. Still, I was on my feet all day long, and I got a very unhappy discovery when I went to Jimmy John's to get sandwiches. Unlike most places, where they give you a selection of ingredients at a set price, they nickel and dime you for every upgrade from their base sandwiches. Wheat bread instead of white is an extra dollar. Cheese is an extra dollar. And they don't tell you when they ask. I caught some of it, but not all, and was a bit annoyed at having to pay more than I'd planned.
In the evening, as everyone else was packing unsold merchandise, I hiked over to the parking lot and retrieved the van. By the time I got back, everyone had most of our merchandise packed up, and they'd nested a number of empty boxes. so we needed less volume to carry everything home. It was really nice to see such evidence of just how much merchandise we'd been able to sell.
With so many people helping, we were able to get it all loaded out and in the van in good time, a far cry from last year, when it was almost midnight when we finished. Not only did we have time to go to Steak n Shake for supper, but I also had time to go to the storage unit to retrieve merchandise that had sold online and then to count out the money for our deposit. Although it wasn't as huge a sum as we'd done the previous year, it was still a respectable amount. I'm of the opinion that the con has enough room to grow that they shouldn't expand the dealers' room for a few more years, at least until it grows to something more closely approximating GenCon in size.
Copyright 2015 by Leigh Kimmel
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Last updated May 1, 2015.