Indiana Comic Con 2017

Indiana Comic Con was held this year over the weekend of April 14-16, 2017 in the Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis. Because it's a hometown convention, we were able to stay at home, which means no hotel expenses, not to mention being able to sleep in our own familiar bed and be available to feed and pet the cat.

Getting ready for it was interesting because we were doing it back-to-back with Anime Matsuri. We got home on Tuesday, and on Wednesday I had to get the merchandise changed over, since one of our t-shirt wholesalers is at Indiana Comic Con. Worse, I also had to do laundry, so I ended up doing the work in the evening, in failing light. At least the weather co-operated for us. We would've really been screwed if we had pouring rain that day.

On Thursday we headed downtown right after lunch, since every year the Indiana Convention Center starts letting people load in about an hour or so before the stated time for beginning load-in. This is in marked contrast to the situation at Tampa, where the Tampa Bay Convention Center doesn't allow people in until the actual stroke of the appointed hour.

Even with the extra time and with a friend helping us load in, it seemed to take forever just to get all our merchandise hauled into the convention center and deposited at our booth. We also had some merchandise which had been on consignment the previous weekend, and we were uncertain whether we'd be selling it on the same terms this time around or if our consigner was going to get booths and sell it from his own space.

Once I got everything in, I had to take time from the setup process to drive the van over to the parking lot on Maryland Street, then walk the whole way back to the convention center. It's not as bad as some of the situations we've had to deal with, but it still took time away when we needed every minute we could get.

Finally we headed home, intending to call in pizza for everyone. However, it turned out to be a lot more complicated than we had intended, and by the time we finally managed to find a place where we could actually acquire a pizza, I was so exhausted and exasperated that I could barely manage to eat.

Friday started way too early, since we still had a lot of setting up to do before we'd be ready for sales. And given that this was a big convention, we wanted to make sure to be as ready as possible when the horde stated pouring in. However, it still proved to be easier said than done, because I kept finding stuff that we'd forgotten to put out.

Once the doors opened, we were actually getting pretty good sales. I even managed to sell a tea set that I didn't have out at the time, just because the customer mentioned wanting that style and I could quickly pull it out. By the time the doors closed for the day and I headed off to retrieve the car, I was actually feeling fairly good about our situation.

We headed over to our favorite Chinese buffet and had a sumptuous supper. Then I retrieved some merchandise from the storage unit, mostly Hallmark ornaments that were duplicates of ones we'd already sold. I did get a little writing in before it was time to go to bed.

On Saturday we headed downtown to get the store open for yet another day of sales. The first hour or so was slow, and I was beginning to wonder if this was going to be a bust when we really needed some serious money ahead. But then things got real super-busy all at once and it was all I could do to keep up with customers. I hardly had time to dig out additional copies of some of our figurines, a problem which may have actually cost us some more sales.

By the time we were done for the evening, I was very glad to be able to go get supper at the mall and take it easy. Our friend who was helping us wanted to spend the night with some friends, so we told her to go ahead, and just meet us at the convention center the next morning.

When we got home, I went to the storage unit and retrieved some more Hallmark ornaments. Then I did some more writing and turned in for the night.

On Sunday I got up to a very terse and cryptic text message from our helper, asking that we bring her belongings with us to the convention center. So I gathered them up and put them in the van, along with some stuff I would be carrying in, since we had to bring both vehicles downtown.

Then we got a call from our helper, explaining that she had a family emergency and her phone was giving her problems again, so she wasn't able to text. She needed to get back home as quickly as possible, so I had to run back to the van and retrieve her belongings. I went in such a hurry that I didn't even think to grab my purse, so I was going through downtown Indianapolis without any form of ID on me.

Fortunately, I made it to the van and back without any incident and got our helper her belongings back. I wished her and her family well, and concentrated on doing business as best I could. I also had to make a lunch run, and discovered one of the complications of doing a con on Eastern Sunday: Circle Center Mall is closed that day. I finally ended up going to the Subway beside the downtown branch of our bank, and was able to get sandwiches for all of us.

Once again, sales were slow at first. But things quickly became so busy that I really hated the thought of having to start packing, since people become hesitant to shop when you're visibly packing. However, I also knew that if I didn't get to packing soon, we wouldn't be anywhere near ready to load out when the doors closed and we needed to start moving merchandise out the door. And with our fourth person gone, it would be that much harder to get everything done in a timely fashion.

Then it was time for me to go back to the parking lot and retrieve the van so we could get loaded out. Thankfully we got some extra help getting the t-shirts packed, so I was able to start loading out as soon as I got the van parked. Even so, it was quite late by the time we finally got everything loaded into the van. At least I was able to fit all the merchandise and store fixtures into the van, because the rest of the family was just too beat to walk back to the car and bring it to the loading dock. At least this year the weather was good, unlike the horrible storms we had to deal with in 2016.

I told them to go ahead and drive the van back home, and I'd haul the luggage cart with ou office equipment to the parking lot and drive the car home. It seemed easy when I said it, but somehow that cart had become a whole lot heavier than I expected. By the time I got past Circle City Mall, it was becoming a real slog to keep walking. I was really glad to finally see the ramp into the parking lot, but I still had to pull that cart up it and get everything loaded into the trunk of the car.

Once we all got home and our personal belongings back into the house, we headed down to Steak 'n Shake on our side of town. We had a really great meal, and felt like the weekend had actually been worth our time.

Copyright 2017 by Leigh Kimmel

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Last updated December 8, 2017.