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SO YA WANNA HAVE A TRADE-O-REE


ISCA wishes to thank
Dr. Gene Berman  for
his valuable input of the information on this page.

 

SPONSORSHIP
The first suggestion is to decide who is going to sponsor the trade-o-ree as you will need help. It is usually an OA lodge, Council, District, Chapter, or even a Troop. But it can just be a few traders as well.

 

HOW LONG
Decide whether your area and circumstances would be better served by an overnight activity or a day activity. Do the target people have to travel far (overnight may be better) or will most of the attendees be local. The first time out you are probably better off holding a one day event, if possible. Its easier, cheaper for the attendees and later if its a success it can be expanded.

 

SELECT A DATE
Select a date and place to hold the TOR. A hotel or church banquet room, gymnasium, armory or other large are that can accommodate lots of tables and people are the best resources. Once you have a date, be sure to notify ISCA so that it can be included on the TOR Calendar.

You may be limited in your date selection by the facility you wish to use but try not to conflict with other trade-o-rees in driving distance of yours. Usually two weeks is adequate spacing time at minimum although in some areas the trade-o-rees run every week.

 

FACILITIES
Try to get a facility that has adequate lighting and ventilation. Probably 50 tables is a good number for a starting trade-o-ree although you may only sell 25 or 30 your first year. A place that can be expanded to more tables later is best. A place that already has the tables and chairs at the facility that you can borrow is almost always best.

 

PUBLICITY
Begin your publicity early. At least six months in advance, although a year is even better. Advertise in the trading papers, your local papers and local scout papers to bring people out. Put out flyers in scout shops, camps and round tables from your council to attract people. Get your information submitted to ISCA. We provide several FREE advertising opportunities with national exposure. ISCA lists your TOR on our web site on the TOR calendar as well as listed in the quarterly newsletter.  

 

THE MONEY
How much to charge for the tables and admission may be a factor of what the facility costs you. If your facility is donated, you may be able to keep both table fees and admissions down which will bring out more dealers and people. Several TOR's charge a few dollars more for tables against the wall versus tables in the aisles.  If you have costs incurred in obtaining the facility you may have to charge more. It is always best, if possible, to charge a nominal fee for tables to spark interest and keep admission to a token amount, with people in uniform perhaps for free.

 

AUCTIONS
Auctions, especially of valuable and rare items can make a lot of money for your lodge, council etc. It also brings people to your trade-o-ree if they know what is going to be auctioned and they need the items. If you can get donated items to auction, the better the items the more people will come to bid on them and the more money you will make with quality items. You can start a year in advance by finding "old timers" in the council to both make donations and give you names for you to follow up of comrades no longer active who may have things lying around to donate. If you are struggling to get items perhaps known traders will allow you to auction their good items and give you say 15%. Its not only the 15% but it attracts people who want that Bronx Valley or that Lodge 155 (old name) etc. But of course you want inexpensive items to auction as well for beginners and those coming with limited budgets. A mix is always best. Mix local and national items; mix valuable and inexpensive items, mix types of items such as Jamborees, OA, CSPs, R+W's etc.

 

FEED ME
Have food available. You can make money selling the food and its a needed accommodation to the people attending. Usually coffee, tea, bagels and cream cheese, donuts etc. are adequate for breakfast and hamburgers, hotdogs, soda and chips are good for lunch although some trade-o-rees have more exotic breakfasts and lunches. The spaghetti and salad dinners served at the Daniel Webster TOR in New Hampshire for a couple of dollars can not be beat.

 

GIVE THEM THE INFO
If your event is to be an overnight event, be sure to list motels available, and other arrangements such as camping grounds if appropriate.

The day of the event adequate staffing is a must. Try to have scouts available to help dealers move in and out. You need people to work the registration table, the auction, the food and just keep things moving. Try to arrange adequate parking.

 

PLAN THE DAY
Once you begin to advertise have a map of your tables and fill in as the requests come in. Most trade-o-rees charge a bit more for wall tables than center tables.

Print your flyers with clear directions to the event including starting and closing times. Dealer setup is usually an hour before opening to the public. List a contact person for questions. Flyers should be available at as many trade-o-rees as possible as well as locally around the council and area.

Lastly, if its a council or OA event try to tag team it together with other events such as a Merit Badge Midway or a show and do so non-collectors get the exposure and may buy from dealers only too happy to sell and then return. Nothing can kill a trade-o-ree faster than no walk-in traffic thru the event.

Good Luck to All. Its a piece of cake. Right?
Happy Trails to All from the Big Apple,
Gene Berman

TOR registration TOR Planning Info Display Recognition TOR Calendar

 

 

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