A solid Day Two at the 2012 IISA Trade Show was followed by sunny skies and many were optimistic about Day 3. "We hit a home run yesterday", said Sid Karmia of Toy Factory. "I'm looking for an even better day today", he added.
While Day 3 may not have been as strong as Day 2, it did turn out to be a solid day for many vendors. Chaz Childs of Toy Factory said the day was turning out to be very good. Chaz has been in the business for over 40 years. He traveled from show to show selling his wares out of a semi-truck before being hired by Karmia to join Toy Factory.
Childs is excited about the new Batman and Madagascar III movies coming out this year. The company has products from the movies and is expecting big things as a result of the summer promotions. In addition to the movie characters the round Hollywood Duck and Chihuahua are also hot sellers.
Toy Factory, now in its 12th year, is looking forward to a good season selling from coast to coast.
NEW ATM REGULATIONS
Matt Rausch of Carolina ATM has been busy educating his customers to the new changes in compliance laws for guests with disabilities. All ATMs have to be height and audio compliant by March 12th, 2012. Many machines may now be obsolete. To be compliant you have to have audio jacks and Braille keys and stickers, among other changes. Check with your ATM provider to make sure your machines are ADA compliant.
A VISIT WITH RICK UKMAR
Rick Ukmar of Rick,s Concessions attended the show today after a day at the NICA trade show. Rick plays many large fairs in the U.S., including the Wisconsin State Fair, the Minnesota State Fair, the Virginia State Fair and the Broward County Fair.
Rick has an interesting history in the industry. His father came over from Italy with his uncle, booking a roller coater at American fairs and events. They played the Ohio State Fair and Rick was actually born during the fair one year.
Rick,s father began working with Teo Zacchini on dark rides and back end pieces. The Zacchinis were also in the circus business, primarily operating a cannon act.
Rick started his career on Royal American Shows as a ball boy for Petey Andrews. After college, Rick purchased his first food trailer, a French fry, and booked with Kenny Detty for the season. One year, Rick's cousin came over from Italy and taught him how to make pizza. Rick and his cousin then purchased a pizza trailer and he began booking what would eventually become a solid independent fair route. His cousin later moved back to Italy, leaving Rick the sole owner of the business.
Rick is married to his wife Julie and they have four children, keeping them busy all year long.
CHRIS WALDEN TO HEAD FOOD AND GAME OPERATION AT THE WISCONSIN STATE FAIR
Another man making a name for himself in the industry is Chris Walden, game operator and concession consultant to fairs.
Walden wanted to be in the business since he was a kid. He built models of carnival rides and enjoyed attending local fairs and events.
When he was looking at attending architectural school, he decided to purchase and operate a ring a bottle to earn some extra money. He booked with Tinsley's Amusements and continued to earn extra money for school. After getting his degree from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Chris worked as an architect but his weekend job seemed to be much more enjoyable to him.
He soon began full time work in the industry, operating games on the midway and he began adding responsibilities, working for owner Richard Tinsley moving equipment and laying out lots.
Chris took care of Tinsley's rides on the independent midway at the Minnesota State Fair and gained the respect of fair officials there. Later, a position opened in management after the tragic death of Steve Windell and he began managing the Kidway area. Chris performed well and later took on management of all midway games and food.
He manages 48 games and eleven food stands for the fair and has now been in the position for nine years.
Walden also works for Mike Demas at the State Fair of Texas where they manage the fair-owned Texas Sky Way. Recently, he was hired by Adam Heffron and Rick Frenette of the Wisconsin State Fair to help manage their midway games and concessions. The fair is moving to an independent midway in 2012.
Walden has been challenged with helping to develop policies and procedures for the new independent midway, writing guidelines for midway game and food operators. The new job places a little burden on his family as his father will have to pitch in and operate Walden,s six games back on Tinsley's Amusements when Walden heads to West Allis this summer.
STATE FAIR MEADOWLANDS TO HOST INDEPENDENT MIDWAY IN 2012
Al Dorso, head of State Fair Meadowlands announced that the privately-run event would be hosting an independent midway once again. The fair attempted an independent midway once before under different management before returning to a carnival managed by Amusements of America.
Dorso has spent 1.3million preparing for the transition and making improvements to the midway. Most of the money was spent putting in underground sewer and electric on the midway.
The independent midway will consist of Amusements Of America with 28 rides and much of the infrastructure. Then independent rides will be booked by Strates Shows, Mike Lauther, Jerry Payne, Gene Dean with a Flume ride, Jane Baxter and the Zachinis with back end pieces.
Much of the midway has already been booked but Dorso is still looking for a few major rides to round out the midway.
NEW MONITORING SERVICE IN SCHANTZ TRAILERS
Schantz Manufacturing has always been famous for their retractable wheel trailers. The counter sit at about 36", approximately 14" lower than their competitors. The belief is that the lower counter and accessibility will lead to increased sales.
In 2007, Schantz introduced its popular Millenium series, featuring a wider trailer with T5 lights. The lights have very little electric draw, saving money on electricity.
For the last 15 years or so, Schantz has begun making larger marquees, first of the back-lit variety and more recently, in the last seven years, they have been making new billboard marquees with dozens of new graphic designs. The billboards allow for the best images, graphics and midway exposure and they are relatively inexpensive when compared with the back-lit options.
New for 2012 is Schantz's video system, enabling owners to check real-time on their food trailer operation. An app, downloaded for Iphone, Android or Ipad, can monitor the trailer and cash registers remotely. It even has the ability to record video for later reference.
Dan Smith said the company has had "really good traffic, even with the rain" on Tuesday. Smith said they received some good leads at the show and he was seeing some new entrants into the concession market.
On display at the Schantz booth was a trailer for Robert and Juanita Salerno of All Around Amusements and a Fried Foods trailer for Chris Robbeleth. Also in the pipeline are several trailers for Adam and Alan McKinney.