It’s been a whirlwind week here in Omaha, Nebraska. To be honest, a whirlwind few months in preparation for one of the biggest opportunities we’ve had as a small company, the 2023 College World Series.
What began as a simple phone call late in 2022 turned into a great space inside the Bullpen at the Omaha Baseball Village located just outside of the stadium where a new national champion will be crowned this upcoming week.
We had to put a lot of things together quickly and relied heavily on our imaginations and visualizing a space in an open area to show what our company and products are made of. This included new racking, banners, and many other things we didn’t have. Many quick decisions had to be made and once the vision was realized last week Tuesday, it was gratifying to see it all come together. We look good.
We glided into town on Monday after a 10 hour drive down I-35 from Duluth and we were ready for a good night’s sleep. The following day was set up and the folks down at the village were prepared. We were worried we would need to carry our entire enclosed trailer’s contents across to the spot, but we were able to load it onto pallets and use a jack to move right up a ramp and into place. We were unloaded and ready to set up in 30 minutes. What a relief!
After some musical chairs with the internet folks to get our full space, we got to work and it literally took 6 hours of continuous work to get things set up and stocked, but with a confidence and sense of accomplishment we hadn’t felt for weeks as we were working to prepare.
Opening day was slow at first and picked up with the veteran vendors assuring us that the first day is always slow for everyone and “just wait”.
The second day did pick up and the amount of comments about our products outweighed any sales we had that day. There is something about seeing someone understand what we are doing and what our brand is about. Their faces come alive and a big smile or head nod completes the moment. This happened many times that day and since. Many have come up and told us that we have the best merchandise here at the show because it’s different and smart.Talk about making a man in his late 40s blush!
Every day since has been better than the day before in the amount of sales, cards taken and positive comments given. It’s really made the whole effort worthwhile and getting to discuss baseball with folks from around the country isn’t bad either.
Then there are the new friendships and networking that has happened with other great vendors. All entrepreneurs at heart who love this game as they should. Chinook Seedery from Austin, Texas, Ball Players Balm from Nashville, VeloTee from Nashville, and getting to meet a guy and company Ive respected for years, Mitchell Bat Co.
And finally, the actual baseball games. Talk about exciting and tension-filled. All but one game so far has been a one-run game and has been a win-win for the game. Excited for what week 2 may provide.