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The Shelburne Concept: Shelburne for Profit?

Steve Skinner [ December 2004 ]

I would like to encourage our members and friends to attend the upcoming Shelburne Classic Auto Festival. Please put these dates on your calendars now! JUNE 3, 4, 5, 2005. The VAE puts on two really great car shows each year, which are our source of income to pay for the VTC scholarships, monthly newsletter, notices, postage, stipends, sunshine donations, appreciation dinner, awards for members, etc. We pay hidden costs such as taxes, equipment repairs, insurance premiums, phone bills, and for monthly meets. This club is big business and we need your support. Every member of this club is subsidized. If it weren’t for being a profitable club, dues would be $85.00 per member.

I continue to listen to some controversy over the Shelburne car show as not being profitable. Do you realize that all the Shelburne car show needs to become profitable is you? The Shelburne show breaks even on a budget of about $20,000 a year. If the weather cooperates and at least 900 paying customers walk through the spectator gate, we get $9000.00 from the museum. If more walk through, the museum makes out. We have a cap on gate revenue, which is fine. (Remember the idea is to help out the museum as well as us). We don’t need the gates extra money. Don’t confuse Shelburne with Stowe. Stowe collects a gate revenue of $35,000 plus on a good year. But keep in mind that the Stowe budget is $60,000 plus. Stowe needs a huge gate to make up the difference of a $40,000 higher budget. Do you follow me so far? What Shelburne needs is you, your old car, your neighbor’s car, your kid’s car. Shelburne needs you as a flea market vendor, and your neighbor, and your friend as a flea market vendor.

Keep in mind that at Shelburne, the VAE keeps all the money from car registrations, flea market vendors, car corral vendors and tractor pull entries. Look at the numbers. If the Shelburne show breaks even with 260 cars and 24 flea market vendors, then lets add Stowe’s figures. Put 600 more show cars at Shelburne the day of the Show and we’ll have a $12,000 profit. Put 600 more flea market vendors there and we’ll have $18,000 more. The VAE can potentially profit $30,000 at the Shelburne car show. All we need is your enthusiasm for this VAE fundraiser. Imagine 860 cars at Shelburne. There’s plenty of room. And for those of you who think the classes are too spread out, they won’t be spread out at all if we have wall to wall cars!

Think about the advantages of the Shelburne show. Look at what Shelburne supplies us with for free that would be an out of pocket expense at any other show field: A show field, a flea market field, a tractor field, grass mowing, perfect road conditions, dust control, parking, overflow parking, bussing if needed, parking lot attendants, gate attendants, electricity, lighting, water, food, restrooms, trash bins, tents, tables, chairs, use of buildings, set up help, fenced off grounds, 24 hour security, telephones. Did I mention shade? In exchange the museum wants a first class show that’s been advertised heavily.

If you feel strongly about making money for the VTC scholarship then you should feel equally as strong about the Shelburne car show. They give us their facility on what would otherwise be a slow weekend for them in exchange for a busier gate. In so doing, we help to preserve Vermont history and an education center for people of all ages. School children, from every school in the state attend the museum at some point in their 12 year grade school education. All we have to do to help out is put on the biggest car show we can. Somehow 260 cars is not a huge car show for a 40-acre setting. It’s somewhat embarrassing. We could easily fit 1,000 cars on this field. We could easily fit several hundred flea market vendors. Maybe we abbreviate too much and should spell our name out more, VAE -- Vermont Automobile ENTHUSIASTS. With a lot of Enthusiasm this show could be as big of a fundraiser as Stowe, on only one third of the budget and a lot less work.

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