It was ten years in the making, and took four months of preparation, but we did it! Southgate Coins pulled off what was to be one of its grandest celebrations ever. Complete with three mini-lectures on numismatics, a giveaway for children, and a raffle for a Carson City GSA Morgan silver dollar, our open house hosted over 45 attendees (including the local news), all anxious to get a taste of why Southgate Coins has been so successful. Read more to find out about this exciting milestone, and view KOLO-8's coverage of this event by seeing our latest video:
As I (Maya) mentioned in the introduction, Rusty pulled us aside about four months ago to begin preparing for what was to be a wonderful celebration: Southgate Coins’ 10-year anniversary. I got started by contacting party planners, getting tips on how to honor this occasion, and contacting the Reno-Sparks Chamber of Commerce to announce the big event. Our efforts to get tips proved fruitless: We couldn't get any publicists or party planners to help us, so we did it all ourselves. (I must give a special shout-out to Mark Tulman at the Reno-Sparks Chamber of Commerce. Mark supported us all the way.)
After deciding to have an open house to celebrate our achievements, we worked with the Reno Gazette Journal and designed an advertising campaign to promote it. We shopped for all the supplies we needed, sent out press releases to local media outlets and numismatic publications, and we were even able to publish a hardcover book commemorating our first ten years in business in Reno, which included pictures and stories about Southgate Coins events and staff members over the past decade.
As the open house date drew nearer, we started to see the fruits of our efforts. The Reno Gazette Journal recognized Southgate Coins as they covered stories relating to the 9-11 terrorist attacks. (If you didn’t know, Southgate Coins opened its doors ten years ago on that day—September 11, 2001.) Northern Nevada Business Weekly also recognized our owner, Rusty Goe, for his success, in its “In His Own Words” column.
When the open house day arrived, and all the food platters, cups of pink lemonade, chairs, lecture materials, and nerves were primed and ready, we were pleasantly surprised with the attendance. With an open house, it’s hard to tell if there will be five people, or fifty. Thankfully, we came close to the latter.
Speaking of food platters—there were tons! We had a huge assortment of deli meats, including salami, ham, and turkey. We had four different cheeses, some crackers, and a tray of fresh veggies. Of course, Rusty “takes the cake” when it comes to delicious surprises. He brought in three bakery boxes full or petit fours (or mini-cakes topped with fondant) that made everyone’s mouth water. He even brought a tray full of assorted cookies for the pickier party-goers.
On top of the food, Rusty gave me a lesson in how to blow up and tie off balloons using a mini-helium tank. Before we knew it, the store was decorated with red, white, and blue balloons, and even some colorful potted flowers that Marie picked up. (Of course, I can’t forget to mentioned that two of our favorite friends of the store even got us gorgeous bouquets of flowers to congratulate Rusty and Marie on their success.) When everything was set up to perfection, all we had to do was wait for people to arrive.
Here’s Nicole to tell you how the rest of the celebration progressed:
As everything finally came together, it hit 1 o’clock and it felt like the calm before the storm. The store was silent, and we were all waiting with anticipation to see how our open house would turn out. Before we knew it, around 1:30, people began trickling in. Our very first open house attendee was good friend of the store Jack Haddock, who brought Rusty and Marie a “Happy Birthday” balloon. The Chamber of Commerce diplomats also began arriving around this time, and by about 2:30 our store had more people in it than I had ever seen before, as Rusty, Marie, Maya, and I were catering to all their needs—offering deli treats and other refreshments.
At this time, I watched Maya run in the back to take an important phone call. When she returned, she rang the cowbell, and made the announcement we’d all been waiting for—KOLO-8 News reporter, Faun Kime, was on her way over to cover our open house!
Although slightly delayed due to the amount of people who kept coming in and the surprise from KOLO-8 News, we were finally able to start our mini-lectures around 3:00. After Rusty introduced us and thanked everyone for coming, Maya and I were first to lecture. We began by giving everyone an American flag, commemorating the day Southgate Coins first opened its doors 10 years ago, and the tragic historic event where many lives were lost. Over the past two weeks, Maya and I had been preparing and practicing our mini-lecture on how to build a 20th century type set, and it all paid off. I felt like our audience really enjoyed our mini-lecture, which lasted about 15 minutes. They all obtained some valuable information about starting a beginner’s coin collection, and also some significant events in the 20th Century. To top it off, they now have some great ideas for future birthday, Christmas, and tooth fairy gifts! Maya then gave a very brief lecture on how to use the Blue Book, and addressed many of the common questions we get regarding it. We received a round of applause after we finished, and we then handed off the torch to Rusty so he could present his mini-lecture.
Rusty’s presentation was a surprise to us all, and every one of us was anticipating what he had in store, since even Maya and I hadn’t heard or seen it yet. Unexpectedly, he started off by singing a song about the Carson City Mint, using the familiar tune from an old favorite TV show, The Beverly Hillbillies. It got a good laugh from everyone in the room, and he then proceeded with his lecture about Carson City coins, values of various coins and collections, and their importance to collectors. He offered such valuable information in such a short amount of time, the audience was captivated with his vast knowledge of and passion for Carson City coins.
After another round of applause for Rusty’s great presentation, we knew what everyone was itching in their seats for—the raffle drawing for the Carson City GSA silver dollar! Right before we held the raffle, we had one last, “fashionably late” open-house attendee, who lucked out and got his ticket into the fish bowl in the nick of time. Yet we didn’t know how lucky he would truly be! After Rusty and Maya mixed up the fishbowl of raffle tickets several times, Maya pulled out the winning ticket—and to everyone’s surprise it was the man who had just walked in! I was still standing right next to him, from where I originally gave him his stub of the raffle ticket, and when he showed me the winning numbers, I practically shrieked out loud! Everyone began laughing and making jokes about the raffle winner, who was actually one of Southgate Coins' bankers, Mike McDonald. He was more than thrilled and cracked some jokes himself about the unexpected outcome.
Although we didn’t have as many as we hoped for, a few children came to the open-house for their free 20th century type set folder. They chose two coins from a bowl of Lincoln steel cents and a bowl of Buffalo nickels. The few children who did reap the benefits from of us helping them start their own coin collection, showed such gratefulness that it made all the efforts worth putting forth. And not to forget, they too enjoyed all the delicious goodies and pink lemonade we provided.
As the open house came to an end, as Maya has previously mentioned, Rusty surprised everyone with absolutely delicious and specially made red, white, and blue petit fours. And yes, they tasted just as amazing as they looked! There were also scrumptious cookies to enjoy as well. I think it’s safe to say, that although only one walked away with the raffle prize, they all walked away with smiles on their faces and bellies full of goodies. Faun Kime from KOLO-8 News even interviewed a few open-house attendees, took lots of video footage, and interviewed Rusty, all over the course of nearly three hours.
Clean-up of course was much more simple than the months of preparation it took to get us to this day, but after a few high-fives were exchanged, we all sighed with relief and smiled that we had just pulled off probably the biggest celebration Southgate Coins has ever had, and we did it like we always do—perfectly. As Rusty stated before we left for the night, “I think we just hit a grand slam guys. We couldn’t have done it any better.”
We couldn't have done it without our wonderful, loyal customers, and of course, the Chamber of Commerce's support. Thank you, Reno!
Maya and Nicole