There are no further meets, or even club meetings, that I am aware of.
I thought about this last weekend. This would have been the time for Mt. Dora III.
It has been a weird feeling, and I guess a life event that contributes to maturity. For many years I had hoped for a national scale meet in Florida, with the obvious location being Renninger's in Mt. Dora. I wanted Sarasota to thrive, not necessarily being national but large enough to attract people regionally. Sarasota, I gave it my best, and although it didn't quite reach regional stature, it DID survive and actually thrived for some years, where previously it was all but dead. As for Mt. Dora, Renninger's called ME with the proposal -- and I gave THAT my best shot.
I run my own business. I never read a book or took a class that gave me step-by-step instructions on how to build a national business servicing/updating vintage car radios, nor have I run any business period. I was brought up in the scenario of getting a 9-5 job and taking home a salary. So in other words I learned it all the hard way -- but I learned it. Working from home, I have become one of the largest business of this type, with about 160 dealers worldwide.
So, with experience under my belt, I can tell you there's no elusive secret or magic formula to becoming successful. Simply treat customers right, do professional work, and promote, promote, promote. They will beat down your door.
The Sarasota Radio Meet went from nearly dead, to full building capacity, in a very short time by doing one major thing -- promotion. Unfortunately the amount of promotion needed was more than I could do on my own -- especially since I've been working long hours at my business. The problem I had was convincing the others that promotion is the most important aspect of running the show. The prosperity dwindled with the lack of promotion.
Mt. Dora had the same problem, though very surprising. Renninger's insisted that they would promote the show in Orlando, and didn't do it -- at least not the second time. I promoted it in my own circles, but even this got disrupted when dealers couldn't pre-register. I don't need to rehash the details, but suffice it to say I did my part but nobody else seemed to do theirs. The final nail in the Mt. Dora coffin was the date conflict with Hamcation, which I knew nothing about till it was too late, and Renninger's never followed up with a date change. Had there been the slightest interest in promotion, we would have easily survived the Hamcation conflict. And no, the "Radio Exchange" title was NOT the problem -- it was the lazy attitude toward promotion.
Are Florida dealers and hobbyists better off? No; there are no nearby events -- except maybe FAWG in Orlando. I wish the movie had a different ending. BUT -- reflecting on this a year later, I am so glad, and so relieved, that I have no duties or responsibilities for any such show. Business is suddenly taking off like a rocket, and I have more time to devote to my customers and my bank account. Scripture says all things work together for good, and I believe it indeed worked out for the best, at least for me. In other words, a year later I have closure.
Then again, I don't want to sound selfish. Others are mourning the death of the Florida meets. Florida hobbyists are not being served. I feel bad for them. But I suppose I have no choice but to walk away. HOWEVER, I have made it clear, to everyone that has contacted me on this, that although I'm finished with running these shows, I will gladly support anyone else who wants to start up such events. I'll give you ideas and guidelines; I'll tell you how to promote and run the shows; I'll give you all the moral support I can. BUT -- YOU have to commit; YOU have to plan; YOU have to promote. Don't kid yourselves; there are plenty of radio people and electronics hobbyists in Florida. If you want a show, with a little planning and groundwork you can do it, and it WILL be successful. But it takes more than one person, and everyone needs to stick to the plan. Your reward will be a successful show.
Gary Tayman, Sarasota, Florida