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I left fully loaded for Cleveland ...

I know what you’re thinking. First the guy says he’s not gonna blog at the National Convention, then he says he will, but lo and behold, not a peep over the four days. Guilty as charged.

First of all, I apologize. My initial suspicion that there wouldn’t be good opportunities for blogging (material, yes, but reasonable times to get it done, no) was probably correct. We weren’t able to get to the Internet from our hotel room, and there was no media center at the IX Center this year. With Herculean efforts I probably could have blogged from the business center at the hotel, but I ended up saving my Herculean efforts for the show floor.

The title of the blog is nothing but a silly cultural reference to one of my favorite 1970s songs, “Thre Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” by Gordon Lightfoot. Technically, we came back fully loaded from Cleveland, since the show was busy for us virtually every day, with many subscriptions purchased, along with hundreds of magazines and books.

Overall, I know the promoters were pretty content with attendance, though no figures were available by the time I started writing this. Dealers I talked to over the five days were divided, as they almost always are, and in an event anecdotal evidence like that can be a problem. Ultimately, you have to sort of go by feel, and I thought it seemed pretty busy all five days; steady but not spectacular. At 450,000 square feet, making that particular expo center look busy is virtually impossible.

TriStar brought in a remarkable group of signers, the National tried out a number of new promotions, including a Kids Day on Sunday that attracted some big crowds, and the live Legendary Auction – though not officially part of the National Convention – was another hit at the House of Blues in downtown Cleveland. The card company guys we thrilled with the traffic at their various corporate spaces, and pointed to great successes from their popular wrapper redemption programs and VIP bag giveaways. That’s a sampling of some of the stuff that kept me from blogging.

I’ll provide a few more hightlights as the week wears on, including photos from the five days. I need a nap, but I’m not sure I see one on the immediate horizon.


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