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  • Monthly Meetings featuring expert speakers (10 per year)
  • Participation in our Breeders Award and CARES programs
  • Priority registration for Swap Meets (5 per year)
  • Ability to buy fish at our Rare Fish Auction (2 per year)
  • Participation in Bag Exchanges (during Covid)
  • Members-only events such as Holiday Party, Picnic, hobby tours and more
  • Our award-winning website which includes hundreds of articles, a cichlid classifieds allow you to find local fish for sale and special members-only sections
  • Show your support for the top cichlid club in the USA
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Single (Adult or Minor with sponsor).

Why you should join?

  • Monthly Meetings featuring expert speakers (10 per year)
  • Participation in our Breeders Award and CARES programs
  • Priority registration for Swap Meets (5 per year)
  • Ability to buy fish at our Rare Fish Auction (2 per year)
  • Participation in Bag Exchanges (during Covid)
  • Members-only events such as Holiday Party, Picnic, hobby tours and more
  • Our award-winning website which includes hundreds of articles, a cichlid classifieds allow you to find local fish for sale and special members-only sections
  • Show your support for the top cichlid club in the USA
Duration: Lifetime
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Membership Status: Expired or Not Paid

The swaps are a madhouse, we need to change this IMHO

14 years 5 months ago #2246 by forumadmin

one possibility might be that the hotel we book the classic with could we possibly see about setting up in advance all of the dates we would like for rooms for auctions and swaps. if we book the classic, and 100+ rooms, maybe the hotels would cut us a better deal on prices if we were to book all events at once as one giant package. then we would know what rooms we have, the size of them and how we can set them up to best accommodate the large numbers of attendees we have. 


Hi Ray,

The 100 room nights we help sell for a Classic is not enough to get the hotel to book six non-profitable (to the hotel) events for us ahead of time. We do six "large" events a year and only one of them-- the Classic -- sell any rooms.

As I said before, the hotel (any hotel) would much rather save the large meeting rooms for a wedding, sales meeting, or similar which books rooms, catering and other services. If they can't fill the room, then they let us have it at a decent price.

Now, it may be possible that there is a country club, gym or other venue which we hadn't considered that would be big enough, have adequate parking, provide the tables and chairs we need, etc. If anyone here would like to make some calls to find that place, PM me and I will get you all the details.

I do think there is a point of diminishing returns on the number of events a club does. We do six a year-- two auctions and four swaps-- essentially every other month. Our club also meets every month which offers another opportunity to buy and sell fish.

Your friendly, neighborhood Forum Admin
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14 years 5 months ago - 14 years 5 months ago #2233 by rm-slover
one thing i have noticed with the club is that 3 of the most recent to join were all volunteering at the last two swaps, myself, the navy guy dan or dave i forget, and Glen and his young son. i thnk that the groups is getting members who are willing to help out. i just hope that the new members dont get burned out and start watching from the sidelines.

i have also asked rick before about the swaps and auction if we could have more of them and his answer was similar to what he said, that we get very little choice in what the club gets in terms of rooms. at the hotel we are at the only choice for rooms usually is the one up stairs or downstairs. and both come in one size or double size, there is no adding a little onto the room.  if we double the room we double the cost of the room. an increased cost to the club cuts into to other areas.   

one possibility might be that the hotel we book the classic with could we possibly see about setting up in advance all of the dates we would like for rooms for auctions and swaps. if we book the classic, and 100+ rooms, maybe the hotels would cut us a better deal on prices if we were to book all events at once as one giant pacakge. then we would know what rooms we have, the size of them and how we can set them up to best accomidate the large numbers of atendees we have. 

I also have pre aranged sales with vendors before the auction and i think this is a good way of doing things. i do however think there needs to be a better way of prearanging fish sales with the vendors.  when we register for the swaps, it asks us what we are selling. if people fill these out listing everything they are planning on bringing this will help. i also think there should be a way for buyers to contact the sellers ahead of time. not through the classifieds because many vendors dont use the classified to inform people of what they are bringing. but some how to "click" a vendors name and pull up a page to contact that vendor to arange a presale through email. this page doesnot have to contain the sellers email, but be sent to the sellers email address they gave. this would allow more presales to happen and possibly lessen the crowd at the early times. i always find it discouraging to see a vendor list stuff and "presales welcome" but no way to contact the vendor unless you know them personally.

i will say this, and i am sure that many of the board members will second this, but the gcca is ran like many other volunteer organization. 10% of the people do 90% of the work. there are a few people i have seen in the club only at auctions and volunteering those auctions. i was volunteering at the auctions before i was even a club member.

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Last edit: 14 years 5 months ago by .
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14 years 5 months ago #2220 by forumadmin
As Swap Meet Chairman, I think I can respond to most of the issues raised here.

I ask all of you to remember that GCCA is a volunteer organization. The 6-8 people who run the swaps are not paid. I probably spend 20 hours before the event getting ready for it.

There is a lot that goes on behind the scene to get one of these events done.

This is a bit like sausage making, but since you asked, here goes . . .

Unless you have worked for club in a similar capacity, you probably do not know how difficult it is to book a venue for an event like ours. Briefly, we are not a profitable group to bring in for a hotel. We don't book hotel rooms, buy catering or other services, so we are the kind of group that gets the rooms last.

We don't receive a confirmation that we even have the room until six weeks before. Then, we get whatever rooms the hotel wants to give us. We do not know more than about a week ahead of time whether we will be upstairs or downstairs.

We do periodically survey other area hotels/venues. It's not pretty.

We would consider getting a bigger room if we thought that attendees would pay more for admission. We would probably need to charge individuals $5 and families $10 and move to a different venue. We would probably also need to charge the vendors $40 to $50 per table.

There were several suggestions made, so let me respond to them:

1 - Start earlier.
Vendors already have to get up really early to bag fish. Many come from out of state and have long drives. I already arrive at the hotel at 7AM to set up. This is a no-go for me. In fact, I've had many more requests to start later from Church-going folks.

2 - Get a bigger room.
Possible, I will run it by the board. I'd be all for finding a room twice as big that cost half as much! If anyone would like to volunteer to get on the phone to do so, PM me and I will send you our room specs.

3 - Crowd Control
I'm not sure what we could do about it. We average about 550 attendees at a swap meet. The capacity of the room is about 750 total. Yes, it is crowded. Yes, that freaks some folks out.

4 - Advance Ticket Sales
I'm not sure how we could do this. You can come early and buy a ticket starting at 9:30 or sometimes a bit before.

5 - Good Fish Gone Early
This hasn't been my experience. I end up buying most of my fish after 1PM when I'm out collecting table fees from the vendors. As Chris pointed out, you can pre-arrange deals with vendors who will hold fish until you get there via our Classifieds.

6 - Someone is going to snap . . .
I hope not, but I can't control everybody. Years ago, I saw a fight break out an auction (not GCCA), so anything is possible. As humans, we often find ourselves in large groups of other humans . . . say at the DMV or a Bears Game. You can only hope that people behave responsibly.

So, if your crowd-phobic:
- Pre-arrange your deals via the Classifieds
- Arrive later (after Noon)
- Go to our auctions which only have 200 folks or so

Final Thoughts
Nobody likes a crowd, but I think the fun, hobby companionship, and great deals available at our swaps more than make up for it.

With the economy in the shape it is in, I do not personally believe that GCCA should charge vendors and attendees more money.

Finally, if you would like to see change, join GCCA (if you haven't already) and volunteer to help out. I'm trying (so far unsuccessfully) to cut back.  ;D

Your friendly, neighborhood Forum Admin
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14 years 5 months ago #2219 by
Rooms cost $; the more space = more money. When 500 - 600 folks come in, its hard to think that more space will drive more attendees.  I suggested in the past making it FREE for buyers and raising the fee for sellers.  You'll shake out the casual seller, maybe bring in some more out of state sellers with quality stuff and still make a decent amount of dough.  My impression of the GCCA, and i am a life member due to making master breeder status, is that the coffers continue to grow.  I think we should make more stuff free or at a reduced cost.  If we start running low on $$ later, we can raise the fees.  The point of the club should be to make the tent bigger - to be more inclusive and to have more attendees.  I really dont care about the sellers - fish sellers always survive.  If the cost as free, you may drag a few more (or a lot more) attendees and thus members and make it a better club. 

Increasing the quality of the vendors will help.  I think limiting the number of tables to a sane limit of 2 would help also.  It makes the most sense, to me, to have a variety of sellers.  I make due with one or a half table, and i keep overstock under the table. 

As far as picked over fish sitting in bags - I dont see it as an issue.  If the person is a quality seller, the fish should be good for a good 24 hours easy.  I always bag the night before with very few (if any) losses.  The best bet still remains to tell folks what you want.  The ads are a great place for that.  I think this forum would be a good place, too, but i understand the reason for keeping the classifieds in the classifieds section. 

sorry for the ramble. 
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14 years 5 months ago #2210 by baldtaxguy

Mike it is going to take a lot more then asking people to come later in the day to pick up picked over fish that have been sitting in the bags for hours as it is just to save on space.

sooner or later something is going to break with that many people in a room together. someone is going to snap.

if anything, (more space) i know we already moved up. but perhaps it is time again.

i was a member think i still am? i dunno anymore. i never get anything in the mail but notices of the next swap.


Being a bit of a "crowd-o-phobe", I can understand from where you are coming from.  Whether vendor livestock or equipment could be deemed to be at risk may be a concern - I had not previously considered this.  That said....IMHO, and I cannot explain why, I think this aspect is what makes the swap what it is.  Its brings more of a personal aspect (up close and....) that is not as evident with the systematic auction process.

I agree with Mike's point - you can get a ton of deals after 11:00.  Another option is the new practice of listing on the web site the swap table sellers and their stock prior to the swap.  For those that think these events require a Black Friday rush, they could contact a listed vendor and make a deal beforehand. Then take their time and enjoy the swap experience, or at least it takes some edge off of the lack of space when you don't have buyer's panic.

Re: membership....are you referring to the Chatter?  You should be getting it...if not, you can pick them up at the mtgs and make sure you get back on the list.  Sorry if I am missing the point your making here.
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14 years 5 months ago #2206 by nuth88
I am a member of about a year now and have been a regular attendee for about 2 years now and I have noticed the influx of people, I have been pre arranging deals with sellers like Peter Durkin for the things I HAVE to have, but so many people make it hard to get around, esp when you are a fat guy like me....I have been missing way too much due to the MASS of HUMANITY.........(I missed my Skunk Botia's  >:( )

I would be willing to volunteer some time and assist, if it meant more swaps, there is way too much time between them, IMHO, but Mikes point is very well said, the amount of work that goes into these things, we should be very greatful for the time & work that the club members put into these.

Both Joefish and Mike are correct, I don't have any magic wand to fix it, except to do my best to help & volunteer my time....(After Hoops Season, I coach...)

That's my .02.......

;D

"I guess that's the way the whole durned human comedy keeps perpetuatin' itself."

(The Stranger - 6/1998)
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14 years 5 months ago #2204 by Joefish

I would think the only way you could curtail this would be by having advanced ticket sales, that way if the demand for advanced tickets are great enough it would give the folks who run the swap hopefully time to ask the hotel if they can get a larger room and then when the swap opens the advance ticket holders get in first 1 hour or so before all other at the door ticket sales which would double from $5.00 for advanced to $10.00 at the door


Thats a great idea.  ;D and i would be more then hapy to buy a pre sale ticket
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14 years 5 months ago #2203 by Joefish
Mike it is going to take a lot more then asking people to come later in the day to pick up picked over fish that have been sitting in the bags for hours as it is just to save on space.

sooner or later something is going to break with that many people in a room together. someone is going to snap.

if anything, (more space) i know we already moved up. but perhaps it is time again.

i was a member think i still am? i dunno anymore. i never get anything in the mail but notices of the next swap.
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14 years 5 months ago #2202 by Kegger22
I would think the only way you could curtail this would be by having advanced ticket sales, that way if the demand for advanced tickets are great enough it would give the folks who run the swap hopefully time to ask the hotel if they can get a larger room and then when the swap opens the advance ticket holders get in first 1 hour or so before all other at the door ticket sales which would double from $5.00 for advanced to $10.00 at the door
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14 years 5 months ago #2200 by
I think the data shows that when we have more swaps than we currently have, the attendance suffers.  Also, there are about  4-5 folks who run these things.  Asking them to commit more could be a burden. 

There is a pretty narrow window for these events.  If they move into the spring, attendance will suffer.  The fall ones work around Bear games.

I always thought the best bet would be to start them 1 hour earlier.  Many folks wont get up early, and that will spread out the attendees. 

Also, so many vendors bring numerous bags of the same fish.  You are probably better off coming at 11am - once some of the crowds thin out.  I know that i will offer better prices as the day goes on - i am sure most vendors do.

Here is a great example of a volunteer opportunity.  If you want it changed, join the club and offer to help fix it.  We all have good ideas and it takes just a little time to make a positive change.
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