Ral Partha said:
> What Steve Jackson wrote was true. Booth space went way up and they eliminated their preferred booth space, marginal booth space and worse booth space price codes and have only one booth space price and that went up and it is the highest price. Steve is right again when he states that those not attending will likely be known as being out of business. I am sure many companies will not attend this year. Ral Partha has already sent in it's space sheet with 1/2 the money last week. This will assure we get the space we want. Our bill did go up by 50% even though we receive the grandfather reduced price. I guess you have to pay to play.
> Gen Con is the largest and to try to substitute World Science Fiction Convention to replace it is a noble effort but a failure in the short run. If World Science Fiction Convention ever becomes a potential profitable show, we will attend. Baltimore has much higher hotel costs, food costs,and is a lot father away from Cincinnati (*editor's note: Ral Partha is based in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA) so gas will be higher, an extra day of employees would have to be paid for, etc.
> To me, Gen Con was the first national gaming show and it contains sentimental value as I attended back in the late sixties when the main game was Dawn Patrol. I can remember Gary (Gygax) and his daughters running the hotdog stand.TSR wasn't created or wasn't known to anybody other than the persons within the company. The dealer area was about 10 feet by 6 feet downstairs on a bar. No kidding. We weren't in business then either.
Our first Gen Con as a company was in August, 1975. Since that time, Gen Con has been an opportunity to gain new Parthites or in recent years maintain Parthites. .
>The same holds true at Gama or any other con we attend whether big or small. Gen Con does provide an avenue to show our products to individuals from around the world attending. We do manage to cover expenses through our retail sales while having a venue for advertisement directly to the end user. I think this is important as we can see first hand the items - whether ours or another company's - which sell.
>Gen Con is very important to me for two other reasons. The first may seem cruel to point out to a store owner. If we do especially well at Gen Con, the exact reason is because distributors and stores are not doing their job providing our figures. This is not a theory without basis. In years our sales through distribution declines, our sales at Gen Con reflect this in an inverse way. Distribution declining sales = great Gen Con Sales and the worse those distribution sales are, the better our sales at Gen Con. The distributors and retailers have done a poor job of providing our products to their customers. Distribution increased sales = poor Gen Con sales and maybe even a loss at that show and the better the distribution sales are,the worse our sales are at Gen Con. The stores and distributors have done a good job that year in keeping our products available for their customers.
>In addition to this fact, almost no stores in the country carry our entire line of miniatures. We bring everything to Gen Conand customers can view everything we have and not just a picture of it but the real deal. You don't know how overwhelming this is to many individuals who walk through our booth. We release items weekly usually and only print one catalog for the year. Many of these releases are not within that catalog and this is the customers' first ability to see those items. In many instances, the new releases are bought initially and solicited by the distributors to their stores. When a store buys this release or not, the figure will likely sell out leaving none available for view by future store customers and that figure is more than likely forgotten since it is not contained within our catalog nor on a price sheet. Gen Con, because it is the largest con in this country for gamers, affords the best chance to allow the most retail customers to see our products both new and old. We bring sculptors and experts in our product lines to Gen Con because we can afford to do so because of the sales generated. Our customers can talk directly with our sculptors and can have their every question answered by us. We know our products far better than a substitute company that might represent us at this show or any others should we be unable due to financial contraints to attend.
>The second reason for my attending Gen Con and wanting to keep this convention going strong is the large amount of U.S. stores and distributors along with international stores and distributors I have been able to meet and develope a relationship with. Because of the way the distribution system works - we sell to the distributors but the distributors protect their customer list from other distributors and manufacturers both of which these distributors are afraid will sell to their customers direct or steal their customers if they are known - we get to meet and come to know many of those selling our products. This face to face is far better than a fax, web site, e-mail, letter or phone call. International stores and distributors are attracted only to Gen Con and some to Gama. It is my chance to see customers who have since become my friends once or twice yearly. Gen Con is also a drawing card for new distributors, stores or international stores and distributors who want to buy products. I sell far more to these clients than to individuals as a result of being at Gen Con. These sales would not be forthcoming without Gen Con or another magnet show. It is the main reason for my wanting to continue being there as opposed to someplace else that would have start up problems. I don't want to wait for years to gain the same audience.
>Right now, the lifeboat is sinking and we should be bailing and not looking on the horizon to find another boat.