SOME HISTORY OF THE 2021 TUCSON SHOWS
The TGMS "Main Show" canceled for 2021. A major factor was the club's desire to protect their many older volunteers. Good Idea! But too bad for all of us who love seeing the exhibits. Also, many foreign dealers are unable to attend. Other major shows in Tucson that canceled early include Westward Look, AGTA, La Conquistador and GJX, all due to the loss of foreign dealers. But they are scheduled to return in 2022.
Dealers in the Mineral City district (including the Sun Gem building) were allowed to open individual rooms because the buildings are technically warehouses. They followed health guidelines and some opened only by appointment. There was no official Mineral City Show in January-February, because it moved officially to April. Among those who opened were Graeber & Himes, Geokrazy, IC Minerals, Focal Crystal, Collectors Edge, Kristalle, Stonetrust, Iteco, Crystal Classics, Ausrox, Mountain Minerals International, Lehigh Minerals, The Sunnywood Collection, Shannons' Minerals, Greatful Earth Minerals, XTL-Dennis Beals and PuTzu.
The Mineral-City.com website map shows dealer locations. Sun Gem is next door.
Local dealerships, like Madagascar Minerals, 1820 Oracle (which includes Top Gem, Clive Queit, Lehigh Minerals & Rocko), Mineral & Fossil Co-op, AZ Independent Warehouse Show, Superb Minerals, Jewel Tunnel, Midwest Minerals (with Dave Bunk there, too) and other brick and mortar businesses, were open, some only by appointment.
We opened early in Mineral City Building C room 27 and had steady business. It is the same room as last year and is best entered from Plata street. Our unit has its own off-street parking lot and there is even more convenient on-street parking. Graeber & Himes shared the oversized room with IC Minerals and Geokrazy. For safety we limited the number of shoppers at any time, required face masks and hand sanitizer and provided gloves.
There were fewer shoppers in Tucson and we will limit the number of people in our rooms, and we offered the additional option of reserving a time for private shopping in our room.
We offered discounted minerals at our Mineral City room in separate room across the hall for our Just Minerals wholesale inventory. Our Keystone room replaces our usual Just Minerals Event which was rescheduled for April.
Over all the sales results for dealers in Tucson in January and February were good. Most shoppers were dealers looking for inventory to 'feed' their busy internet shops. There were few 'lookers' but many buyers. This was a repeat of the earlier show in Denver in September. Many dealers actually did better that in 2020's Tucson, probably due to the reduce number of shopping venues.
Tucson is changing, Part III
We thought our lives had stabilized and our future was known when I wrote the reports shown below. The there was a pandemic and while the end of that is in sight, we hope, Tucson continues to change.
Major English dealer Ian Bruce is in the process of renovating the Tucson Chamber of Commerce's former building at the corner of Granada and St. Marys and by the Inn Suites also Known as The Hotel Tucson City Center. He plans for it to become the world headquarters of Crystal Classics his very serious mineral dealership. He has named it The Tucson Fine Mineral Gallery (TFMG) and it will have regular hours year round. Of course, it will be the site of a show each February and special events throughout the year. Wow!
Cal Graeber and I were invited (as Graeber & Himes) by Ian to join Collector's Edge, Focal Crystal, and Dreher Carvings as core dealers in the Gallery others may be added. We will not be there year-round, but will attend special events, beginning with the Grand Opening during 2022 Tucson Showcase. We will also continue our Mineral City room with IC Minerals and Geokrazy and be at Westward look and the Just Minerals & Crystals Even at the Elks lodge. Something missing from most other shows in town is a place to relax and socialize. TFMG will remedy that, with a landscaped open courtyard with food and drink available and comfortable places to relax in the building.
We expect this show to become the place where top collectors meet and socialize during the show and at special events during the year. The photo at the above right shows the view of the building from Granada Ave. The gate is adjacent to the driveway to the Inn Suites Hotel. Ifitlooks classier than most shows, that is because it is. The CC refers to Crystal Classics, Ian's company. This building will become his company's international headquarters with the main Gallery open year round. Behind the gate is parking for fifty cars. A photo of our room as we were setting if up in mid-January is below. We've sprinkled mineral seeds which should be in full bloom by the January 28 opening. The photo to its right shows the main entrance to the Gallery building. The nights have been cold this week in Tucson so some of the cacti are covered for frost protection. I'll post more photos as the building progresses and other dealers arrive.
The latest news from Tucson is that Sandra Gonzales, the show promoter from the Crowne Plaza shows in Denver and two Texas shows, is finalizing plans for two new venues in Tucson to provide homes for former Inn Suites dealers. I had previously stated here that The RMGM Tucson Mineral and Fossil Showwill be located in the DoubleTree Hotel on Alvernon, on the east side of downtown, where the AGTA held its show prior to moving to the Tucson Convention Center. I was wrong, negotiations there fell through and the show will actually be at the La Quinta Reed Park also on Alvernon. You might recognize that hotel as once being a Clarion Hotel where Marty Zinn held a show for a few years. Sandra more recently added a tent show of the same name (RMGM TMFS) on Oracle Road just north of Mineral City.
Leonard Himes Dealer in Fine Mineral Specimens
This page features Show Reports, Travel Notes, and other Items of Interest as they strike my fancy.
Here is the view of Mineral City Building C (before all the signage went up) and the view of our room from the hallway.
Something else to make a trip to Tucson worthwhile.
Besides the shows in Tucson and great attractions like the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, Aircraft Museum, and Performing Art Center, Tucson is now the home of a world-class mineral museum. There has long been (and still is) a fine collection on the campus of the University of Arizona as part of the Geology Department, but as of this year, the all new Alfie Norville University of Arizona Mineral Museum is open. The Museum is housed in the most beautiful building in downtown Tucson. It was formerly the County Courthouse, but has been completely remodeled inside to become a museum and a separate Environmental Center. The Museum has became a full Department of the University and has secure funding for the future (but will still appreciate your financial support). The museum has spectacular gem and mineral exhibits that I was able to tour during construction. The museum is now complete and offering daily visits. You can access information by copying this address to your search engine: https://mailchi.mp/133b0259126d/alfie-norville-museum-update-13386971
A grand opening is scheduled for February during the Tucson Mineral Showcase. Put it on your calendar now.
See Part III on Tucson, below, for another major announcement.
More about Tucson
If you have made it this far, I'm impressed. I hope you find the blog interesting.
The Chamber of Commerce in Tucson commissioned an economic survey of the 2019 Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase Expenditures.
Here are some of the findings.
They estimate a total of $131,426,030 in direct expenditures resulting from the 2019 Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase. Lodging is the largest individual expenditure category ($45,831,096) – followed by Food & Beverage ($27,154,625).
Out-of-town Buyers traveled to Tucson from 42 different states (as well as Puerto Rico) and 17 foreign countries. Exhibitors traveled from 45 states (including the District of Columbia) and 42 foreign countries.
The 2019 Showcase encompassed 48 individual shows and an estimated 4,882 Exhibitors. The 2019 total gate attendance was estimated to include 457,259 Buyers, each of whom visited 6.97 shows (on average) – for a projected attendance of 65,604 unique persons.
Fully 99% of Buyers purchased one or more items on-site at the shows, most often Gems/Jewelry and/or Rocks/Minerals/Fossils. Among international Buyers, two-thirds report cumulative on-site purchases in excess of $10,000.
They estimated that $13,028,205 in local taxes (including sales, bed and rental car taxes) were paid on $122,866,042 of taxable expenditures made by Owners, Exhibitors and Buyers at the 2019 Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase.
My comment: Notice that none of this actually includes sales of specimens, although that is reflected in sales tax collections, but only partly since wholesale purchases must exceed retail and are not taxed.
If attendee purchases average $10,000 (real easy to do) that gets to $50 million immediately, and that only counts official vendors, not all of the 'tailgaters who also do huge amounts of business. So Tucson is big business, my guess is at least half a billion dollars. No wonder the show is so much appreciated.