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Huge Frag Swap Suggestion...

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote bmac2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 09 2012 at 8:25pm
I spent a few years as a trustee of the Utah Open Source Foundation, so I helped manage and schedule the yearly nerd conference.  I would be happy to help with it.

couple of things that would have to be done quickly.  One, a committee to put the plan together, and a chair person to be in charge....cough...nikki...cough...nikki....cough  (typed in my best subliminal style).  Positions that need to be filled.  Marketing person, the face, the one to push it, the person to be the announcer to announce events, etc. 

One thing that would have to be found immediately is a space.  We need a space so we can lay out what we want.  There has to be a booth layout, then someone to manage the spaces, the schedule and who goes where.  That is what I always did, was the conference scheduler/manager.  Once the layout of the booths is designed, then there is a decision on the cost of the booths.  Better booths at the front or at the start of isles usually get premiums, just like booths next to the entrance.

Also, if you are going to plan this type of "conference" swap meet, then my suggestion is to pepper it with 3 or 4 good speakers on topics that would interest the crowd.  Make it a full blown fish nerd conference.  Frags, equipment, booths to sell whatever would appeal to the hobbyist.  As long as they pay for a booth, and what they are selling is legal, go for it.  if it is all day we need to court some food vendors who want to come in and will pay us a percentage, or some decent fee.  This done right can make substantial money.  Especially if advertized correctly and the word gets out all over the mountain west.

Do we want to make the place in sections, vendors here, hobbyists here, or frags over here, equipment over here, or just spread eveyrone out.  My suggestion is mix and match and spread them out to maximize traffic.

Do we want to charge a minimal admission, like a $2 for a member of any fish club, $3 or 4 for someone not a membrer?  or just let in the general public and make the money on the booths?

lots and lots of questions to answer.  I nominate Nikki to chair this since this is her idea..all in favor say I!!!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Molli Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 09 2012 at 8:53pm
How difficult would it be to actually set up a dipping table, especially for the newbies who might want hands on experience about how to dip their corals?  I think people may be more likely to take that precaution if it was easy for them to do so.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ReefdUp Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 09 2012 at 9:07pm
Wow bmac! Those are great suggestions!! You'd better be right alongside me if you're nominating me! LOL.

You're completely right on all those points. That's why I was nervous waiting until the new year to get started. There's so much to do! I also agree we need a chair and subcommittees (sponsors, vendors, advertising, food, facilities, you name it!) I'm more than happy to volunteer as long as I have everyone on board.

I was thinking the "facilities" committee could research our needs (based on expected number of vendors, hobbyists, etc.) and compare our electrical and space needs to available places (also depending on cost, convenience to the highway, etc.) I like your idea of mixing hobbyists with vendors. Most places I've seen line the vendors against the walls (so they have the most electrical access) and put the hobbyists in the center (less electrical...if any.) If we could find a facility to accomodate everyone, that'd be great! I also hadn't thought of charging a premium for booths at the entrance to aisles. Really think we could get more for them? I was thinking maybe a premium for corner spaces or double spaces. Hmm...interesting!

Speakers would be awesome, but I'm not convinced (not that it matters). This would make it a mini-MACNA with hobbyists selling too...almost seems like too much going on (at least for my little brain.) But you're right - it would draw even more attention. I wonder if we could get a mini hotel with multiple conference rooms in order for it to work. Hummmmm....

Food vendors may be tricky. If we do it in a hotel, we usually have to use their catering service ($$$.) I was just thinking of ordering pizza and soda...or maybe some hamburgers/hotdogs on a grill...but vendors would be nuts! Getting more interesting!!

As far as $$ goes, I think those things would just have to wait for the swap committee to propose a budget and present it to the Presidency. We'd have to weigh the costs of the facility, etc. and make sure we make the club back something nice to fund more activities.

Molli - that's a neat idea! We could have a small QT/dipping station with maybe some pictures of pests and containers to dip a few corals in. I have a few concerns (certain frags don't do well with certain dips, so we don't want to kill people's frags, etc.), but I think we can work around them. It would be so educational and beneficial!

   
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BobC63 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 09 2012 at 9:35pm
I am liking this idea a lot!

Nikki, please head this up!


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jdinchak Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 09 2012 at 9:46pm
So is this like the Mountain West Reef Fest we had or a bit different?
Reef Tour (11/4)

Holiday Potluck (12/7)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bmac2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 09 2012 at 9:47pm
I don't like hotels or "conference" centers.  One place that is usually open to having something like that is SLCC.  We could ping their biology/science department and see if they are willing to "sponsor" it, meaning we plug their name if they let us use some rooms in a building.  There is some decent space at some of the campuses.  We need to stay in the general salt lake area and NOT go north or south.  Not if we are trying to make this a regional even and bring people in.

a place like Southtown expo would be perfect, BUT they charge big bucks for their venue.  we need space and an open room, something that is easy to get to.   Fairgrounds on North Temple?  they have a lot of buildings that they use for stuff.  Maybe up at the U of Utah?  maybe ping their marine biology teachers?  see if they are interested in helping.  Free space is best.  Especially for the first year or two.  You have to get a conference established and happening for it to get to the point of paying for a venue.  That and college campuses have lots of space, lots of parking and are usually easy to get use of.

One other way to make money is to sell wall space for sponsors to put up their posters advertising their stores/goods.  Like getting the local fish stores to pay to put up a banner/poster.  We always made decent money from selling wall advertising space.  Also, see if we can get items for random raffles.  All will make a little money.  We don't need to go in expecting a windfall for the club, but we need to make sure to do enough things to make sure the conference pays for itself, and we put at least a little back in the coffers of the club.  If we don't make at least a little for hte club, then what is the point of even doing all the work!!


 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ReefdUp Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 09 2012 at 10:03pm
It's like FragStock, MWRF, and the classified forums all combined into one big, crazy event. :) Or...at least that's the vision.

We usually had ours at places like the American Legion, etc. - big enough, but cheap. If we did speakers, I don't think that would cut it. Parking at the campuses would be easy...hmm. We usually paid about $400 for our location, and we made that back with no problem (and then a whole bunch.)

I agree that location should be central SLC...makes it so we're likely to have the Vegas crowd, Idaho, everyone. The highways make it all pretty easy to get to, too. The last thing we want is to be in the middle of nowhere with nothing for the families to do.

What I've seen in the past is the following (I have detailed sample budgets somewhere).

Vendor space (depends on space size): $100+$50 donation (non-sponsor), $75 + $25 donation(sponsor)
Early bird space: $30 (non-member), $20 (member)
General Admission: $5 (non-member), free (member)

Raffle donations (gets various size/location advertisement placement)
Platinum sponsor: $300+ donation
Gold sponsor: $200-300 donation
Silver: $100-200 donation
Bronze: $10-100 donation
I've got a list already of companies known for donating for advertising space. Hopefully they'll do it for us too!

Raffle tickets: $1 per ticket, or 25 for $20.

Food: minimal funds for the club

T-shirts: $20 per shirt

Alright...I'm thinking we have a good start with lots of interest. I think it's time (once we have the official "go"), to make the committees and get the groups working on what they think is best. We can hem and haw over this here, but it'd be great for each group to pick out what they think will work.

Edited by ReefdUp - October 09 2012 at 10:04pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rize2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 09 2012 at 10:20pm
This sounds Awesome!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ReefdUp Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 10 2012 at 6:16am
Here's a screen clipping from Fragswapper. Just list what you have available for the swap, then people can request them. So much easier than running around like crazy.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ReefdUp Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 10 2012 at 6:20am
Advanced Aquarist did a small blurb on my favorite swap:

http://www.advancedaquarist.com/blog/all-ohio-frag-swap-by-c-sea-a-major-success
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lskurys Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 10 2012 at 11:06am
Well I am willing to help also.  I forgot to add that on the last post.  Everything is sounding like alot of fun. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote icenine Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 18 2012 at 1:22pm
Hi!

Just moved out here from Chicago and I'm a former member of the CMAS board. We ran a swap along these lines twice a year. I'd be happy to pitch in an offer any experience or insight I might have. These things can be a lot of work to set up, but they are always a blast.

Marc



Edited by icenine - October 18 2012 at 3:13pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rfoote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 18 2012 at 2:00pm
Would it be worth starting a poll, to see who would attend and see if it is worth the trouble? To be honest, I personally wouldn't but I'm probably the minority.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ReefdUp Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 18 2012 at 5:47pm
Originally posted by rfoote rfoote wrote:

Would it be worth starting a poll, to see who would attend and see if it is worth the trouble? To be honest, I personally wouldn't but I'm probably the minority.


Considering we had over 400 people at our Fragstock (and we would just be expanding Fragstock rather than making a whole new event), I don't see why we wouldn't easily get 400+...which might be a bit excessive for a poll.

May I ask why you don't think you'd participate...even as a possible buyer?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rfoote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 18 2012 at 7:32pm
Originally posted by ReefdUp ReefdUp wrote:

Originally posted by rfoote rfoote wrote:

Would it be worth starting a poll, to see who would attend and see if it is worth the trouble? To be honest, I personally wouldn't but I'm probably the minority.


Considering we had over 400 people at our Fragstock (and we would just be expanding Fragstock rather than making a whole new event), I don't see why we wouldn't easily get 400+...which might be a bit excessive for a poll.

May I ask why you don't think you'd participate...even as a possible buyer?


Oh, a few different reasons but I recognize that they are probably exclusive to a nut like me and that I'd probably offend. In regards to as a buyer, just not really willing to drive an hour for the same thing I can have delivered to my door.(unless it is to support an LFS)

Edited by rfoote - October 18 2012 at 7:33pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ReefdUp Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 18 2012 at 7:35pm
Hmm...ok. Just thought maybe you had some concerns that we could address.

Me personally, I like to go for the rush...there's always so much amazing stuff that I usually don't see often...or find easily. Once I've collected my goodies, I get to sit and chat with old friends and make new ones about all the awesome stuff we got. I don't know...to me it's more than just buying and selling...it's part of the addiction I guess. :)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Molli Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 18 2012 at 8:47pm
How do these frag swaps work?  Are the corals happy in tanks so that you can get a good look at them or are they in small containers and all closed up?  Have they been in small containers for quite awhile or are they somehow getting oxygen and water flow?  I've never been to a frag swap before.  It sounds interesting and I'd volunteer some of my time to help -- just can't commit to spending a lot of time each week from now until then.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ReefdUp Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 18 2012 at 8:55pm
It works however you want it to work...that's the beauty of it.

Most vendors (real businesses) set up tanks...most of it opens, but the zoanthids usually don't until the end.

Hobbyists mostly bring stuff in containers, but they post online (usually use Fragswapper.com or just post on the forum) the pictures, frag size, cost, etc. Some hobbyists set up tanks, but most don't have enough to warrant the trouble.

It was common for a lot of people in my last club to caravan 4+ hours to a swap one way...sit at the swap all day...then drive everything home. I never lost a thing even with everything in a container all day. Corals don't really need the oxygen like fish do (fish are another story...which is why most people don't bring fish to sell.)

As we get closer to doing this, I can give out tips to those wanting to buy/sell...how to keep things warm/cool...how to pack bags/containers...etc.

Honestly, the best methods just come from learning what works for you and what doesn't. There's no right way to doing this other than to just have fun.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BobC63 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 18 2012 at 9:44pm
Originally posted by rfoote rfoote wrote:

Originally posted by ReefdUp ReefdUp wrote:

Originally posted by rfoote rfoote wrote:

Would it be worth starting a poll, to see who would attend and see if it is worth the trouble? To be honest, I personally wouldn't but I'm probably the minority.


Considering we had over 400 people at our Fragstock (and we would just be expanding Fragstock rather than making a whole new event), I don't see why we wouldn't easily get 400+...which might be a bit excessive for a poll.

May I ask why you don't think you'd participate...even as a possible buyer?


Oh, a few different reasons but I recognize that they are probably exclusive to a nut like me and that I'd probably offend. In regards to as a buyer, just not really willing to drive an hour for the same thing I can have delivered to my door.(unless it is to support an LFS)
 
Ryan -
 
A couple of points on this...
 
First, we are planning on having multiple out-of-state online coral sellers coming in for this - perhaps as many as 10 of them. In the past, we have had them come from ID, CO, AZ and NV. This year we are expanding and may get some from as far away as LA or even FLA. In addition, we should have maybe 6 to 8 of our own LFS selling as well. Then we will be having 8 - 10 of our local online coral sellers. Next, some of our own Members have inquired if they can sell also. The first 2 Fragstocks we had about 15 vendors total. We have enough space to hold a maximum of 28 - 30 vendors; I fully expect to fill each and every space. This means about double the vendors from past years.
 
So you will be able to come in and choose from perhaps 1500+ corals at one venue. And all our sellers will be displaying in well - lit frag tanks, so you get to inspect any corals thoroughly before you buy, vs. browsing photos over the Internet. In addition, you are not going to have to pay the shipping charges of $20 -$35 per seller that you would be paying when ordering online. You also will not be worried about excessive acclimation times, since you got your corals locally, instead of having them sit in a bag inside a shipping box for 24 - 48 hours, exposed to cold temps, etc.
 
If space allows, we will also be doing a sort of 'equipment swap meet' on the side. One thing I like to do at these events is to take a look at my own tank and see if I have any frags or corals I want to sell. Usually I choose 4 or 5 pieces. Then I put them up on the Buy / Sell Forum the weekend before the event and advertise that I will 'deliver to the event for free' (since I am going to be there anyway). This way, I entice people to buy MY stuff that usually wouldn't want to travel all the way to my home to pick them up. If you live an hour away this might work well for you. And there's no better feeling than buying new corals using the money someone else just gave you for your old coral... it's almost like getting the new stuff for free.
 
The other thing some people do is, once we announce the line up of sellers, they check out the sellers websites ahead of time and if they see something online they really like, they contact the seller and ask if the seller will bring it to the event especially for them. This way, you know that primo piece you wanted will be waiting for you when you get there...
 
This year we will be holding "Fragstock '13" on a Saturday (instead of a Thursday night) and it will probably run for 6 hours, instead of the usual 2 hrs... all in an effort to make it as convenient as possible for everyone to attend. And we'll have food and of course, it will be a family - friendly event.
 
So you may want to reconsider. I can pretty much guarantee you won't regret it!


Edited by BobC63 - October 18 2012 at 10:24pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BobC63 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 18 2012 at 9:51pm
Originally posted by Molli Molli wrote:

How do these frag swaps work?  Are the corals happy in tanks so that you can get a good look at them or are they in small containers and all closed up?  Have they been in small containers for quite awhile or are they somehow getting oxygen and water flow?  I've never been to a frag swap before.  It sounds interesting and I'd volunteer some of my time to help -- just can't commit to spending a lot of time each week from now until then.
 
 
Corals will be open and in well lit, flowing frag tanks. On things like zoas that may not open fully the seller usually has photos or a chart showing what they look like.
 
This will be an AWESOME time. Fragstocks are easily the busiest, most popular and well-attended events the Club has ever done. For 2013 we are expanding the amount of sellers and I expect it to be the absolute greatest one yet!


Edited by BobC63 - October 18 2012 at 10:27pm
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