Salsarita’s Convention

Posted: October 27, 2008 in my experiences, work

Spent most of my weekend in Charlotte, NC at the annual Salsarita’s franchise convention.  Threds does all the apparel for all Salsarita’s restaurants nationwide (www.ritasthreds.com), and we attend this event every year.

My co-worker Stephen and I spent much of last week boxing up inventory, creating signs, packing the cargo van, creating surveys, and brainstorming how we’re going to sell as much stuff as possible.  Then Saturday comes.  We leave Threds at 6:15am, and arrive in Charlotte around 10:30am.  The vendor show starts at 2:00pm, and vendors are supposed to start setting up at 11:00am.  Little did we know that the entire downtown would be shut down for a parade, and the convention hotel would be located SMACK in the middle of the parade area.  So we drive around the city for 40 minutes trying to find a way to the hotel.  Finally find a way.  Then we find out the convention is on the 3rd floor and are directed to go the loading dock area.  We find this, but realize that there’s no elevator in there.  Then we discover we need to use the freight elevator at the back of the hotel.  10 minutes later, we find this elevator, and begin unloading a butt-load of stuff from our van, carting it down the corridor and onto the elevator.  This takes about 20 minutes.  We go up to the 3rd floor.  We find a couple of Salsarita’s “gophers” to help make several trips with all of our stuff to the vendor booth area. 

It’s there we discover that our booth is about half the size we were expecting.  Basically, we’ve got all this display equipment, clothing racks, grid wall panels, and about 20 big boxes full of apparel….and no space to put any of it.  By now it’s almost 12:30pm.  We have 90 minutes left.  We make the decision that it’s going to be impossible to sell anything….and we scrap our original idea and begin working on a smaller set up, focusing only on displaying the product, giving away some freebies, and making ourselves known. 

We’re set up by 1:45am, grab a very quick bite to eat in the lobby, and then man the booth.  By 4:00pm, almost everyone has come through, and headed back to their rooms.  So…a four hour drive, 45 minutes of driving around downtown….loading dock….freight elevator…half size booth….take most everything back to the elevator….1 hour set up….for a 2 hour trade show.  So…we begin breaking everything back down, boxing stuff back up, and carting back to the freight elevator.  Down the elevator, down the corridor, and back into the van.  Finish with all this around 5:20pm.  Back to the room, clean up, have a couple of cocktails and appetizers in the Salsarita’s reception gathering, leave to grab some dinner at Unos, back to the room to watch UT get thrashed by ‘Bama, then lights out around 11:30pm. 

Little did we know that the 18th floor of the Charlotte Hilton would turn into a circus until 3:00am with parties, wrestling, yelling, laughing, and drunkedness filling the hallway as we tried to sleep.  (This was not Salsarita’s related…just a bunch of gosh darn hooligans)  Up at 7:00am, clean up, check out, hop in the van, and drive back to Knoxville.  Back by 12:30pm. 

Just another typical Threds event.  Lucky for me, next Monday I get to drive a 16 foot box truck 10 hours to Florida for a 4-day Sea Ray plant sale trip.  Woo Hoo!

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