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Old 01-25-2010, 03:44 PM   #1
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Default Industry Trade Summit debuts in Las Vegas

Industry Trade Summit debuts in Las Vegas

(Editor's Note: The 2010 show is not related to or affiliated with the Hawaii Trade Conference or F&W Media, formerly Krause Publications.)

The sports collectibles industry will have a new sports trade summit in April 2010 (Orleans Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas) and plenty of new ideas and excitement to go along with it.

At the forefront of the new trade event: hobby veteran Kevin Isaacson, former SCD publisher and longtime manager of Kit Young’s industry events in Hawaii.

“Response to the Vegas Summit has been really positive,’’ Isaacson said. “It’s no secret that these have been challenging times for the sports card and collecting business – and that creates an even greater need for people to get together, brainstorm and ultimately find ways to move the industry forward.’’

The inaugural summit, scheduled April 11-14, will be attended by more than 100 leading manufacturers, distributors and retailers, as well as service providers such as Beckett Grading Service, Ultra PRO and many others. Participating companies are added weekly to the summit website at Isaacson heads an event team that includes Gary Brison, the retired CEO of San Jose Sales & Distribution, as well as respected retailers Alan Narz, Wayne Wagner, Steve James, Mike Fruitman, Rob Veres, Lou Brown and “Big John’’ Arcand.

“The sports collecting industry needs an event like this’’ said Fruitman, who owns Stadium Sportscards in Aurora, CO. “It’s simply invaluable to get together once a year to renew old friendships, meet new business partners and exchange ideas.’’

Isaacson answered the following questions for SCD:

Q: Why Las Vegas?
A: It’s perfect for this event, honestly. Flights and hotel rooms are incredibly inexpensive – our base room rate at The Orleans is $32 per night, for example, and my direct flight is less than $200. You can’t find that type of cost-effectiveness anywhere else – and the entertainment in Vegas is amazing in terms of quality and variety. I can’t imagine hosting this event anywhere else.

Q: Are you concerned about getting enough participation, given the economy and the hobby’s struggles during the past several years?
A: Obviously, it’s a smaller industry now – fewer card stores, fewer new-card manufacturers. But the core of the hobby is very strong, and includes many of the quality people who helped build this business. Those people understand the value of networking and teamwork, and they’ve had a really positive response to our Industry Summit concept. Anytime you can put the industry’s best and brightest together for a few days, good things happen.

Q. What topics will get the most attention at the Summit?
A. I’m excited about the “Facebook for Business’’ session. Everyone is beginning to use social media like Facebook and Twitter, but learning how to it can help our businesses will be valuable for everyone. I expect that we’ll also spend plenty of time discussing the viability of hobby stores today and in the future. In my opinion, having 1,000 or more successful brick-and-mortar hobby shops across the country is critically important for our industry. I’m a big fan of online collecting, too – but you can’t replace the excitement of pulling a hot card in front of your collecting friends at the local hobby shop. That sense of community is key, and we need to find ways to increase the number and viability of our nation’s hobby shops.

Q: I noticed you already have event dates for 2011?
A: Yes, we’ve confirmed Feb. 20-23 as our Summit dates for 2011. It’ll be a little cooler in Las Vegas, but the February dates will allow everyone to utilize the Summit to impact the final three quarters of the year.

Sports Collectors Digest -
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