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Old 10-17-2012, 08:41 AM   #1
dean from bozeman
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Default Hershey is Dying, Corrections are needed

As I drove westward on my way home I stopped at a turnpike oasis. As I turned off my truck I noticed four gray haired men getting out of their vehicle. Three of them could only walk in short steps and with decided limps. The trailer they were hauling had tables and rusted parts sticking out from under a tarp. I surmised that they had visited Hershey.

The day before as I sat in my swap space (actually part of Gary Johnson's) I noticed that approximately 90% of folks walking by had some or all gray hair. I also noticed that directly across the aisle there were four empty swap spaces. Looking around I noticed several huge RV/Motorhomes with the "mandatory" card table of parts.

Putting these observations together it dawned on me that at Hershey you get an excessive amount of walking for an aging clientele with a dwindling return (fewer parts per swap space). This does not bode well for the future of Hershey.

My suggestion would be to grandfather in those who have had swap spaces for years but now treat that space as a private parking lot. Perhaps dedicating the Orange field for these "card table RV's" would clear up hundreds of swap spaces for those who use 50% or more of their swap space for the selling of parts.

Another suggestion would be to eliminate empty spaces. I understand that gas prices, personal events, etc. could keep a person away for a year but if a space was not used for two years in a row the person should lose that space. By the way, I don't know Hershey's rules but I imagine that there is something like this on the books.

Though it is comforting to go to "regular" swap spaces and have known neighbors, I wish that Hershey would condense the active swap spaces. This would make the overall experience more productive and less of a survival ordeal.

I look forward to reading other input.

Dean

P.S. Let it be known that God willing I will be at Hershey every year I can. I do hope that our favorite gigantic swap meet lasts ad infinitum.
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Old 10-17-2012, 09:06 AM   #2
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Default Re: Hershey is Dying, Corrections are needed

I was back to Hershey this year after a three year absence. It always coincides with a meeting that I have to attend but this year I was able to break free.

What I noticed was all the empty spaces even on Wednesday and also many on-field parking lots where there was not so much as a card table with parts. I also noticed many people on electric scooters, Segways, and even a hybrid which consisted of a running Honda generator cooled by a desk fan placed in a wagon towed by an electric scooter. Another guy built a two wheel trailer for a standing passenger. Many of these operators whizzed by and acted like they had the right of way over foot traffic. I am guessing this is a consequence of all the fields being paved. I am not a doctor and will not comment on anyone's physical needs, I just was put off by having to dodge these drivers several times.
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Old 10-17-2012, 09:19 AM   #3
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Default Re: Hershey is Dying, Corrections are needed

Hershey is what you want to make it. I arrive Tuesday morning and leave Saturday afternoon. In between I have the most fun a car guy can have. I love seeing all the people, old and young, talking to the foreigners (guests in our land), walking, and walking and walking. Treasures are everywhere and I enjoy the sights. I didn't notice the empty spaces at all, but then I am a "glass half full" kind of person. Yeah, the scooters are disturbing, but that is our society, not Hershey's fault. I see it as 5 days of sanity with "my people" and then a 360 day wait out in the truely insane world. I will go as long as my tired old body will let me, sleeping in my truck, cooking my own meals, and having the time of my life!
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Old 10-17-2012, 09:24 AM   #4
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Default Re: Hershey is Dying, Corrections are needed

I am a great believer that the only things to be sold at these auto swap meets must be auto related. Many vendors say that if their wives couldn't display their wares they would not accompany them. So I say leave them home or have the event do a seperate spot for non auto rtelated.
Paths should be marked for pedestrians only because I persoanlly had a small scooter run into my heels and he said it was my fault for not moving fast enough !
Improvements needed to keep the masses returning !
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Old 10-17-2012, 09:28 AM   #5
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Default Re: Hershey is Dying, Corrections are needed

I must say I unwittingly arrived Friday night for a day at Hershey Saturday. After waiting an hour in a line over a mile long Saturday morning we parked and made the walk onto the site to find out Saturday was "pack up and leave day". I was amazed this tradition evolved given the packed crowd there. Never had attended an event that packed up on a Saturday as people were coming in. Needless to say I had a long list of things to buy and went home empty handed. I'll know better now and am planned to go during the week next year and just miss work to catch the Wed thru Fri. vendors. I know the tradition can't be reversed but it was disappointing. We still stayed all day and partied all night!
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Old 10-17-2012, 10:03 AM   #6
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Default Re: Hershey is Dying, Corrections are needed

Yes you are right Hershey is not what it was and will never be.

Here are 2 big reasons.

Internet/ Ebay- too easy to sell stuff and get top buck.

Pennsylvania Dept of Revenue- (this is not a political statement, but an observation of fact) You must have a sales tax license and major corporations can not afford what it takes. So regular people tend to forgo the pleasure of a tax number. The companies can not afford to do a tax filing in their home state plus open their profits up to PA taxes and the added cost of accounting.

You will notice few major non-PA large restoration parts shops selling at Hershey. They make take orders and ship, but not actually transact money in PA. Remember the better selection of tool sellers that used to be there?

Throw in a bad economy and higher then what people are used to gas prices and you have a recipe for less. Keep in mind that gas prices are currently inline with inflation. It appears that for a while they were kept artificially below inflation and now the price has caught up.

Please the above is NOT a political commentary. All the above are verifiable facts to put a picture on what may be happening.
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Old 10-17-2012, 10:11 AM   #7
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Default Re: Hershey is Dying, Corrections are needed

Dean makes good points that could be applied to other "major" car shows as well. I see the exact same things happening at the Charlotte (NC) spring and fall Auto Fairs and local shows as well.
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Old 10-17-2012, 10:12 AM   #8
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Default Re: Hershey is Dying, Corrections are needed

It has changed much over the years. We used to get started just before daylight and stay until dark. Now they all close up at 5 pm. We leave Friday afternoon because we started going on Tuesday. I can remember when there was no automobile traffic allowed in the flea market on Saturday because there were so many people. Now there is plenty of space wherever you go. I think most people that spend 3 or 4 days selling want a day to go to the car show if they are still there. I know there is much more that is different but those points are what I notice the most.
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Old 10-17-2012, 10:15 AM   #9
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Default Re: Hershey is Dying, Corrections are needed

I know that if and when I am able to go to Hershey, it will be a big investment in time and money -- just to get there. And, sorry to say, I'd have to be one of the "scooter guys". As my Dr. says, my knees get "pissed-off" at me when I do that much walking.

BTW, are scooters available to rent?
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Old 10-17-2012, 10:16 AM   #10
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Default Re: Hershey is Dying, Corrections are needed

Dean, well said. I have been stating this for the past few years now. Will also state that I completely agree with Kevin as well. In light of all that has been said, yes Hershey needs to reorganize and improved upon. Change is not always a bad thing....
If all of the empty spaces were consolidated, the experience would be better. I for one, would have liked a space this year, but since they are hoarded up and the org gets paid, nothing will change.
I spent Tuesday at Hershey and left for home with a heap of cash in my pocket. Had I been able to procure a space, more money would have exited my pockets and I would have been happy.
As Kevin states-not being political, everything is turning to tax in America. It has been said for several years now that the gov will be imposing a tax on ebay sales, for example. When that happens, I no longer will use ebay to buy or sell. This is the way everything seems to be headed.
Antique autos and parts are a hobby for me and many. When it gets taxed to death, I will be exiting
and taking long walks on the beach, until tax is imposed on that enjoyment....
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Old 10-17-2012, 10:24 AM   #11
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Default Re: Hershey is Dying, Corrections are needed

Internet, Ebay, yes but if you want to see and examine what your buying it can't be done. However Kevin is right, the times they are a changing. For small dealers (who are the majority) the cost of gasoline and taxes is a big consideration and the economy is very bad right now. Hershey will survive and continue to be the end all of antique car shows no matter how we may try to mess it up......
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Old 10-17-2012, 10:25 AM   #12
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Default Re: Hershey is Dying, Corrections are needed

Quote:
Originally Posted by dean from bozeman View Post
. . . I noticed that approximately 90% of folks walking by had some or all gray hair. . .
Ahh, gray. I remember that.
The other 10% have no hair or are wearing someone else's hair.
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Old 10-17-2012, 10:46 AM   #13
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Default Re: Hershey is Dying, Corrections are needed

I am old enough to remember when Saturday was a big day and you could spend all day in the flea market. A few years ago, I went back with the old friend that I have been going with since 1966, and after we looked at the car corral and the cars getting judged, the flea market vendors were leaving. What a disappointment. We learned, however, and came back this year for flea market on Friday and went to look at the cars on Saturday. It does make it tough for those who can't take a day off, though.
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Old 10-17-2012, 11:34 AM   #14
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Default Re: Hershey is Dying, Corrections are needed

Bill Hirsh's big tent was not there this year. The crowd was never elbow to elbow walking across the bridge. there was not alot of Chatter on the P.A. either.
I will be back next year!
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Old 10-17-2012, 12:08 PM   #15
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Default Re: Hershey is Dying, Corrections are needed

One other thing that they really improved this year was the day parking access. Last year I spent on HearsheyPark Drive waiting to get into the lot, this year it was a lot less.......
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Old 10-17-2012, 12:23 PM   #16
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Default Re: Hershey is Dying, Corrections are needed

Not cheap to go to Hershey from out of town and spend Tuesday through Saturday. With the jacked up hotel prices, gas, and misc. you have already spent over grand before you buy a single part. Back in the "old days" there were so many bargains to be found that the cost of attending was absolutely worthwhile, now days, bargains are few and far between and there are more people looking for them. Years ago, I was an active seller at Hershey and had no problem being able to fill a 14 foot box truck full of great parts and other items to be able to take there. I would virtually sell out before Friday and many times the items I would sell would be resold a few times after that-making everyone happy. There just aren't that many garages and/or collections to be bought at reasonable prices anymore and today there are many other selling opportunities that don't require holding onto the items until Hershey or any other swap meet.
I feel also that there are more focused swap meets that are more productive than Hershey such as Chickasha and Bakersfield for early parts. I think the LA Roadster's father's day swap meet even has more prewar Ford cars and parts and more serious buyers for these items than Hershey.

Last edited by gz; 10-17-2012 at 12:29 PM.
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Old 10-17-2012, 12:48 PM   #17
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Default Re: Hershey is Dying, Corrections are needed

The hours and schedule do not coincide well with people that work and are not retired. If it lasted the weekend my wife and I would go every year, with it during the week and closing up at 5, I could not justify taking the time off and heading out.

I got lucky this year and had a work meeting nearby, I got there at 3 and had to run around trying to find the parts I needed, still never bought anything. I think it would be nice to group similar booths together when possible.
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Old 10-17-2012, 01:59 PM   #18
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Default Re: Hershey is Dying, Corrections are needed

Most folks who are still working get some vacation time. Why not take vacation time at hershey? As for grey hair, yes the hobby is aging. Yes there are more scooters. I remember when I could walk 20 miles a day all week to see the stuff, now my feet are shot after 2 days. I would have loved to have a scooter. Spots with large motor homes and one or two parts for sale is sad, but how to avoid it? Lots of junk at diamond prices, but still lots of good value, and lots of stuff never seen anywhere else. The whole hershey thing is an adventure. I make it my vacation, and enjoy the event, the local attractions, and the Amish food. I think it is the best organized and best run event I have ever attended. 9,000 vendors, 1330 cars in the show, and hundreds of car coral entrants, and it all ran smoothly. I love it. No complaints. I have my reservations in for next year.
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Old 10-17-2012, 02:02 PM   #19
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Default Re: Hershey is Dying, Corrections are needed

Quote:
Originally Posted by dean from bozeman View Post
As I drove westward on my way home I stopped at a turnpike oasis. As I turned off my truck I noticed four gray haired men getting out of their vehicle. Three of them could only walk in short steps and with decided limps. The trailer they were hauling had tables and rusted parts sticking out from under a tarp. I surmised that they had visited Hershey.

The day before as I sat in my swap space (actually part of Gary Johnson's) I noticed that approximately 90% of folks walking by had some or all gray hair. I also noticed that directly across the aisle there were four empty swap spaces. Looking around I noticed several huge RV/Motorhomes with the "mandatory" card table of parts.

Putting these observations together it dawned on me that at Hershey you get an excessive amount of walking for an aging clientele with a dwindling return (fewer parts per swap space). This does not bode well for the future of Hershey.

My suggestion would be to grandfather in those who have had swap spaces for years but now treat that space as a private parking lot. Perhaps dedicating the Orange field for these "card table RV's" would clear up hundreds of swap spaces for those who use 50% or more of their swap space for the selling of parts.

Another suggestion would be to eliminate empty spaces. I understand that gas prices, personal events, etc. could keep a person away for a year but if a space was not used for two years in a row the person should lose that space. By the way, I don't know Hershey's rules but I imagine that there is something like this on the books.

Though it is comforting to go to "regular" swap spaces and have known neighbors, I wish that Hershey would condense the active swap spaces. This would make the overall experience more productive and less of a survival ordeal.

I look forward to reading other input.

Dean

P.S. Let it be known that God willing I will be at Hershey every year I can. I do hope that our favorite gigantic swap meet lasts ad infinitum.
DEAN ...............
I have not been able to go to Hershey since the 70s. I noticed the same thing then. There were people, who had their RVs parked in the spaces, with a card table, out front, with a sign that said, "Take A Business Card".
I figured that these were AACA "big-wigs". This was, at a time, when spaces were really at a premium and hard to get.
I was very disappointed in the AACA for allowing this to go on.
From the thread, it seems there were a lot of empty spaces. If they could be combined, there might be more room for customer parking.
MIKE
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Old 10-17-2012, 04:21 PM   #20
peters180a/170b
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Default Re: Hershey is Dying, Corrections are needed

Don't pick on the ORANGE field...l.o.l. it is for me a quick way to the show field....l.o.l. [back door] I am in the ORANGE field and yes you might be on something Dean.... No more ORANGE field ...it will now be called the GRAY field.... Did you ever notice the MIDDLE of the CHOCOLATE field....??? ALL Hershey member club cars.... not that i care but you need the middle of the field??? It seemed that Hershey was thinned out ...IT IS a shame.... Doug Bruce did not make it down , The wek before he was in the Hospital for a short time. I did get a chance to sell some caps of his to pay for his unused 3 spaces.... Driver use and A.A.C.A. judging use.,,,original restored radiator/gas caps ...$95.00 - $100.00
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