American Honor Countdown!

Happy Monday! If you are a contestant in the American Honor Quilt Challenge, you are most likely counting down the hours and days until all entrants’ projects need to be posted (March 31) and the voting begins (April 1)!

If you are not yet in to the final throws of furiously quilting up and binding your American Honor project, there is STILL time left (5 days to be exact)! I know that most quilts are not made in 48-72 hours, but you can take that as a personal challenge for your chance at the fabulous prizes!

When you win, your favorite shop wins too. And, if you own a shop and you win, then you win double! The top 5 prizes are:

5th place: 4 — 20 pc. FQ bundles of Fusion Illusion. The contestant’s quilt shop of choice also wins 4 — 20 pc. FQ bundles of Fusion Illusion.

4th place: The same as 5th place PLUS 4 — 12 pc. FQ bundles of Primitive Basics. The contestant’s quilt shop of choice also wins the same prize.

3rd place: The same as 4th place PLUS 4 — 40 pc Sumatra Batiks Strip Packs. The contestant’s quilt shop of choice also wins the same prize.

2nd place: The same as 3rd place PLUS 4 — 20 pc. bundles of Starlet and a $200 donation made in their name to America’s Mighty Warriors. The contestant’s quilt shop of choice will also win the same prizes and have a $200 donation made in their name to America’s Mighty Warriors.

1st place: The same as 2nd place PLUS 4 — 28 pc. FQ Bundles of Splash and a $400 donation made in the winner’s name to America’s Mighty Warriors. The first place winner will also receive a $100 cash prize. The contestant’s quilt shop of choice will also win the same prizes,  a $400 donation made in their name to America’s Mighty Warriors and they will also receive a $100 credit towards any future purchase from The Blank Quilting Corp. (not to be used for existing balances).

For whatever reason, everyone seems to be waiting until the last minute to load their projects here. So quite frankly, you have about a 1 in 20 chance of winning (as of today), not counting all the quilters that are rushing to hit the March 31 deadline.  Those sound like pretty good odds to me.  Don’t you think?

That means you should really start your American Honor project right NOW, call in sick for two days and do nothing but make the most fabulous American Honor quilt we have ever seen. It is totally worth it!

Now, for all who are waiting on the side-lines… wondering what the beautiful American Honor quilts look like and are ready to VOTE…the wait is almost over.  April 1 the American Honor page on the Blank Quilting site will open up for your votes.

So set this link for Saturday, April 1,  to take a look at all the projects and vote for your favorite.

Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: The Yenta Is Baaaaack!

Happy Monday Yentees,

The is back with another installment of news a.k.a. gossip.  Like I mentioned last time, I don’t really consider it to be gossip since it really is all fact in spite of what some want to believe.  The only thing is that it might be gossip to you since you haven’t heard it until now.  Before I get in to the heart of the for this week, I wanted to clarify one thing from the first installment.  Regarding the contraction that I predicted in the fabric industry, you should know that the contraction will affect everyone including my companies too. Unfortunately, no one is immune.  So in spite of what some might have thought I said, the contraction is hitting everyone, but it just hits everyone differently….some worse than others.

Anyway, last week I discussed the unfortunate demise of a couple companies/divisions to the benefit of the rest of the industry, but this week I am discussing the combination (mergers & acquisitions) of others. I have two to discuss:

  1. This is old news by now, but news nonetheless.  On or around the time of the 2016 October Quilt Market, Wyndham bought Anthology Fabrics.
  2. Just this past week, it was announced that the distributor, Troy Corporation, out of Chicago, Illinois was purchased by a company that I had never heard of before, Midwest Embroidery Supplies out of Farmington, Missouri.  I look forward to meeting the new owners and working closely with them as we have had a longstanding and fantastic relationship with the Troy’s.

Congratulations to all companies involved with these deals.  Good luck!

My brief comments on the M&A are this.  The Wyndham deal is a good one for our industry as it combines two entities that can now benefit from the synergies of being one combined entity.  More  deals like this would be welcomed in our industry as far as I am concerned.  It would also help to reduce the number of suppliers as there is just an overabundance.  On the other hand, the Troy/Midwest deal doesn’t really have any major benefit to the future of our industry because it really just keeps Troy in the game under a new owner who isn’t a big player in fabric at all.  That being said, it is probably a good deal for Troy, but it doesn’t help the other fabric distributors or convertors who are dealing with the contraction.

Mary Jo Cloninger of Mary Jo’s Cloth Shop.

I unfortunately have some very sad news to report.  This past Friday I got an email informing me that Mary Jo Cloninger of Mary Jo’s Cloth Store in Gastonia, North Carolina passed away at 85 years old.  Since I go down to the Carolina’s most frequently on business, I often had the opportunity to work with Mary Jo on various occasions.  The one thing I would never forget about Mary Jo was how she would always insist on 20-25 yard bolts.  She would always say anything less than that is a remnant.  She was always shocked to hear that the chain stores were taking 8 yard bolts. Anyway, the fabric industry is losing a true gem.  Rest in peace Mary Jo, you will be missed.  My thoughts and prayers go out to your family.

On a lighter note, as a follow up to my previous blog about Monopoly changing their game pieces, it’s official that the thimble, shoe, wheelbarrow and iron are gone.  In is the rubber duck, penguin and Tyrannosaurus rex…really?  They will join the Scottie dog, top hat, cat, race car and battleship.  Next year, we fabric people should vote for the sewing machine.  The is now out of ammo for the time being.

Until Next Week,

This is Scott Fortunoff the fabric signing off.

PEACE!

 

 

Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: The Fabric Yenta Is Here!

The fabric yenta?  Yenta is a Jewish/Yiddish word for a person who is a gossiper.  Speaking of Jewish though, I would be remiss if I didn’t say my piece about how disgusting it is that there are cowards making robo-calls to JCCs (Jewish Community Centers) throughout the US.  They are trying to instill fear upon these amazing establishments and all the people that enjoy them (both Jewish and non-Jewish) on a daily basis.  Not only that, but loads of other Jewish organizations are being bombarded with antisemitic threats too. Without going in to too much more detail on my fabric blog, my parting words to these cowardly haters, and all haters for that matter is,  shame on you and get a life you disrespectful freaking losers!  Finally, in case you were wondering what you could do to support a JCC, please check out this link as it contains some good ideas.

Before going any further, I am going to take a quick little victory lap around my little office and pat myself on the back too.  Ewww…that feels kind of nice.  The victory lap is not for the victory, but more for predicting what I saw coming in the quilting industry.  Anyway, it is not a victory because I am not happy to see this happen to our industry, nor am I am happy that this is happening to some of my friends.  But, that all being said, I think this will be healthy for the industry.  What’s going on in the industry Scott?  For a while now, I have been predicting, on my blogs, a contraction in our industry where the number of suppliers and resellers of fabric would be reduced. In other words, it’s like Darwin’s survival of the fittest.
So the fabric yenta is here to tell you what’s going on.  The truth is that what I am going to tell you are facts so I don’t know if spreading facts is considered gossip or not, but that is what I am going to call it.  Ok, ok…I know you can’t take the suspense.  The contraction or shrinkage of our industry has begun.  For starters, we not too long ago lost Hancock Fabrics to bankruptcy and there are now only about 3 real major big box chains selling fabric.  Number two, Kona Bay just shut its doors after over 26 years in business.  Number three, just last week Red Rooster shut its doors and the owners are just sticking with their P&B brand. Number four, I hear on a weekly basis that more and more quilt shops are closing their doors too.  This is probably just the beginning.

There is more though.  Big shots in our industry i.e. the heavy hitters who we all know so well are losing their jobs.  There are many stories like this, but I am not going to name all the names.  I will speculate that companies can’t continue to pay high earners what they are used to making because sales no longer justify it.  It is as simple as that.

I am going to mention specifically what is going on at Fabric-Quilt, Inc. John & Sue, who I am sure you all know and thought owned Fabric-Quilt, Inc. (they didn’t) were let go, fired, quit, separated, retired or something like that. You can classify it how you want, but long story short is that they are no longer with Fabric-Quilt, Inc.  I have to tell you that the timing of that separation was flat out bad in my humble opinion. This is not the time to let go the people that are considered to be the faces of the company and the backbone too.  I guess we will have to wait and see how that decision pans out….my guess is not so well.

There is still more though.  Rumors of companies not able to pay their bills and bouncing checks.  Sales reps not getting paid on time or not getting paid at all. Suppliers cutting their work weeks down to 3 or 4 days. Companies are cutting travel and the expenses that go with it. And of course, people are going to be shrinking their quilt market footprint or they are not going to attend at all.  As for smaller regional shows, those too are struggling.  The list goes on and on and the carnage continues to grow.  People, our industry is in a mini-crisis and the dominoes are starting to fall. Please be careful and try not to be part of the bloodshed. With that, I would say it is time to take a gut check and evaluate if your business can survive what is clearly before us…the contraction.

To wrap this up, I wanted to let you know that you can rest assured that Jaftex and all its companies (Studioe Fabrics, Henry Glass Fabrics, The Blank Quilting Corp., A.E. Nathan Co., Inc. & Fabric Editions) are in a strong financial position and you can certainly rely on us as a loyal supplier and friend for many more years to come.  Finally, for our competitors that are struggling, you know that you can always come and talk to us about joining our organization as we would welcome the opportunity to add more strong brands to our arsenal as well as your experienced employees.

Until Next Week,

This is Scott Fortunoff the fabric yenta signing off.

PEACE!

Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: Time To Post Your American Honor Contest Entry

Happy Monday Everyone,

American Honor Quilt Challenge

Last year The Blank Quilting Corp. came out with a line called American Honor by Tana Mueller of Western Denim & Dirt. The American Honor line evoked a lot of emotions pertaining to American Soldiers who lost their lives protecting this great country. With those emotions came the idea of creating a contest using the American Honor fabric line.  Here is a link to the American Honor line in case you haven’t seen it.  It is really something else in that it really hits home.

So, what I am here to tell you today, and for the whole month of March, is that the time has finally come for all entrants to start posting their projects on the contest landing page.   As of the first week of March, we have not yet received one submission… WAAHHH!  I am sure that everyone is putting the finishing touches on their masterpieces as they want to put their best foot forward to try and get their hands on one of the great prizes that are being offered.  One special feature of this contest is that not only do top 10 contestants win, but also the top 10 contestants’ shops of choice win too.  Go to this link and skip down to the prizes section to see what the winners will get.  You could also view all the rules and other info about the contest.

That is my message for this week.  Keep in mind also that it is only March 6, so there is definitely still time to get out there and buy some American Honor fabric to whip up a quick contest submission before April 1. Speaking of April 1, 2017, that is when the voting will begin.  So, even if you did not submit a project, you will still have the opportunity to vote on your favorite project.  Please make sure to exercise your right to vote.

Wishing everyone the best of luck!  May the best projects win! Thank you for participating and supporting this effort.  We greatly appreciate your involvement.  We hope you had fun.

Until Next Week,

This is American Honor Scott

The Blank Blog Bonanza (BBB): Monthly Specials For March & April 2017

Dear Valued Customer,

Below are the details for the newest BBBs.  These BBBs apply to orders that are taken in March & April of 2017 only, but the orders DO NOT have to ship in March or April (they can ship anytime).  Please note that all prior BBBs are now done and these are the only ones that are in effect. Here goes:

#1.  PRECUT SPECIAL (REPEAT FROM THE JAN./FEB. BBB):  If you buy 2 of any of the same precuts (excluding American Honor & Natural Treasures) at full price i.e. 2 orders of Splash 5x5s, you will get the third unit of the same item for free.  In other words, buy 2 and get one free. Please note that the order still needs to meet the 5 unit minimum order and the free unit does not count towards the minimum.

#2.   44″ QUILTING COTTONS:

FULL COLLECTION SPECIAL:  If you buy any full collection in 15 yard cuts, you will get free freight on that order as well as anything else that ships with it.  If you buy a full collection in 12 yard cuts, your freight will be 10 cents per yard and anything else you order will also ship for the same price per yard.

SUMATRA BATIK 2 SPECIAL:  If you buy 8-30 bolts of the Sumatra 2 Batiks, you will get 20 cents off per yard.  If you buy 31-50 bolts of the Sumatra 2 Batiks, you will get 40 cents off per yard.  If you buy more than 50 bolts, you will get 50 cents off per yard.

METALLIC COTTONS (44″ & 108″):  If you buy any 6 metallic bolts from the same line listed below, you will get the 7th bolt from the same line for free.  No mix and match please.

#3.  108″ FABRICS (REPEAT FROM THE JAN./FEB. BBB): :  For every 5 bolts of full priced 108″ fabrics that you purchase, you will get 10 cents off per yard. That discount increases with every 5 bolts ordered.  In other words, if you buy 10 bolts you get 20 cents off per yard, 15 bolts gets you 30 cents off per yard, 20 bolts gets you 40 cents off per yard, 25 bolts gets you 50 cents off per yard, 30 bolts gets you 60 cents of per yard and so on. The maximum is 50 bolts for $1.00 off per yard.  This special cannot be mixed with the metallic 108″ special immediately above.

We hope that you continue to take advantage of the BBBs.

Contact your Blank sales rep to place an order.
Contact customer service at 800-294-9495 x245 (Renee)
To Monthly Specials!
Your Blank Quilting Sales Team

 

Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: Love Thy Neighbor….Or Not?

As I ponder the idea of continuing to blog for years to come about the fabric industry, it seems that I am going to have to venture away from the quilting related blog path every so often.  It’s just that I need to mix things up a little for your sanity and mine. I don’t want my blah blah blogs to become too ba—ba—boring.  With all that being said, this week I am going to tell you a personal story that some might consider funny and others might consider to be sad.  In any case, there are lessons to be learned.

2 weeks ago I was at the Vacuum & Sewing Show in Vegas (more about that in another blog).  Monday morning I got a frustrated call from my wife.  Go figure, as always, whenever I am not home, that is when all the drama happens.  She called to tell me that at 745 am someone took our garbage bags from the curb and spread our garbage allover our driveway.

My wife posted this on local social media sites, but no one knew who it was.

My wife looked at our security cameras (see photo above) and unfortunately could not determine who it was.  She called the police and filed a report.  Of course, she and the kids were a little worried because who does such a thing in a so-called civilized society?  The police thought it was someone with a couple screws loose.  I thought it was just someone that didn’t like how our garbage smelled.  My wife wondered out loud if it might be our neighbor.  Turns out, we unfortunately didn’t start off on the right foot with them when they moved in to the neighborhood not too long ago.  Long story short, there was a property line issue and I had to take down and replace 25 bushes and put up a new fence.  Their moving in was definitely not an inexpensive venture for me and that didn’t even include the legal bills and unnecessary drama.

This is an action shot.

Fast forward 2 days when I returned home from Vegas.  I was driving home and saw my neighbor putting out his garbage. In spite of our differences, I thought I would ask if he knew anything about the garbage incident for the sake of everyone in the neighborhood. Immediately, he said that HE DID IT!  I was totally stunned and asked,”Why would you do something like that, psycho?” (Ok, I didn’t actually say the ‘psycho’ part).

He told me that over the last couple of weeks that he found my garbage allover his driveway.  So I said, “And you think that I did this?”  I went on to say, “Buddy, I am a nice 44 year old gentleman, you think I am getting up in the morning to get myself dirty and scatter my garbage on your driveway?”  “Are you insane?”  In any case, he said that this was like the third time it happened. That combined with a bad night of sleep with a sick child caused him to loose his cool.  I asked him, “Why didn’t you just come over and ask?”  He just presumed that it was me trying to mess with him because of the long past property line issue.  As if I don’t have better things to do with my life.

There was an easy explanation after all.  Our garbage collectors walk through the neighborhood emptying all the garbage cans and then the truck drives around and then they throw the trash in the back.  It turns out that my garbage collector was moving my garbage to my neighbor’s driveway and I guess it spilled out a couple times.  In other words, it was a big misunderstanding that went haywire.  In the end, I think there are a couple of lessons to be learned.  Never assume because that makes an ass out of u and me (ASSUME).  Also, it shows how important it is to communicate with people.

Enough of the story, but I did want to tie this in to our industry and my business experiences.  We often run in to situations where our customers assume certain things that are not true or not totally true.  Rather than calling us to discuss, they just take a position like we don’t want to do business with you ever again or any of your other companies and cancel all my orders. This really isn’t a great way for anyone to do business and a lot of times there is an easy solution. We value all of our customers very much and as I always say, our business and industry is not perfect.  We do the best we can all the time.

All the being said, please consider how you would feel if every time you made a little mistake or had a misunderstanding with a customer that they told you that they would not do business with you ever again.  It is a little extreme if you ask me. I would venture to say that the error would have to be egregious for me not to want to do business anymore. Please keep that in mind going forward and remember that a lot of lives are affected when you make grandiose threats about not doing business with our companies any more.  To be honest, it hurts when this happens and unfortunately it happens all too often.  We didn’t make it for 87 years in the business by treating customers poorly.

By the way, I thought it would have been nice for the neighbor to show up at my house the next day to apologize with some wine or a cake or even just an apology.  That is what I would have done, but then again I wouldn’t have tossed the trash allover.  Live and learn my friends and love thy neighbor or not as you choose.

What do you think about that?

Rational Neighbor Scott

 

 

Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: Our Industry Is Under Siege…By Hasbro Toys

What’s up folks?  Happy Monday and Happy President’s Day!  As if things in the quilting and sewing industry have not been challenging enough lately, we now have a new enemy knocking down our door and picking on our favorite American past time…sewing.  It’s like we are under siege from all directions…all the time.  Next thing you know it, our dear president will start picking on us too.  In any case, the newest twist, in case you haven’t heard, the people of Hasbro are moving towards getting rid of the thimble. Ahhh!!  This is a real kick in the thimble if you know what I mean.

As if it wasn’t bad enough already that the people of Hasbro got rid of the iron in 2013 in exchange for no other than a……..cat?!?!  Someone really has it out for our industry and we need to defend ourselves before we are no longer represented.  I mean, what about the freaking wheelbarrow? Does anyone even use wheelbarrows anymore?  I haven’t seen one lately in New York City. Or what about that weird looking shoe?  This looks like a shoe from 1935 when Monopoly was invented.  It sure doesn’t look like any shoe that I have ever seen or worn…thank god.  I vote for the shoe and the wheelbarrow to go. I also vote for the iron to come back and I think a quilt should be added.  How about them apples? (Good Will Hunting reference.)

As you probably know, I am all for change, but I am not for this change. As far as I am concerned, if it isn’t broken it doesn’t need to be fixed and this isn’t a broken…it is a classic. What could possibly replace our dear thimble?  A poop emoji?  An iphone?  An electric car?  These things will come and go, but the thimble….never.

Unfortunately, I think it is too late to save our beloved thimble, but at the least, we should let the people of Hasbro know that we are up in arms about this.  I am sure that you can figure out how to protest this on your own.  If in doubt, google it.  Good luck!  Let me know what you do.

Until Next Week,

This is Sad Scott

 

Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: Just One More Reason To Keep Quilting, Sewing & Crafting!

 Happy Monday

I hope that your team won the Super Bowl.  If not, better luck next year. Assuming that all my readers are hung over from all the football, greasy food, chips & dips, betting pools, amazing commercials and perhaps alcohol (but I would guess that my readers aren’t drinkers, or are they?), I am going to delve in to a short and sweet blog that won’t mess too much with your hangover.

This past week I was reading the very reputable (note sarcasm) New York Post on the train ride in to New York City to work.  I came across a short article called Warding Off Dementia based on a report from the JAMA Neurology Journal.  The part that caught my attention was the conclusion that senior citizens benefit from simple activities to keep their brains sharp.  Lo and behold, one of those activities listed to keep the brain sharp was craft making.  This would include:  arts & crafts, quilting and sewing. Amen to that!  Just another of the many reasons why our great industry will not be going away any time soon!

Anyway, have a great week.  I am going to be taking a day off from blogging next week as I will be at the VDTA show in Vegas.  Please come visit me at booth 855 if you plan on attending.

Until Next Time,

This is Scott Fortunoff signing off

 

Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: Quilt Market Credentials

Dear Quilt Shop Owners & International Fabric Customers,

Happy Monday!  As you may or may not know, ALL quilt market business credentials expired last year.  As such, it is time to resubmit your credentials which will be in effect until December 2019.  I am sure that it is a little bit of a pain to have to submit this, but fortunately this is only necessary to submit every 3 years.  Also, it probably won’t take you more than 5 minutes to collect all the paperwork and submit to the people of Quilts Inc.  If you didn’t receive the email about having to update your market credentials, you can contact the people at Quilts Inc. or you can email me (scott@jaftex.com) and I will forward a copy to you.

We vendors truly need your support by having as many quilt shop owners as possible attend the market.  Don’t forget that we are all in this together. This year the market is in St. Louis which should be a different and new experience as I don’t believe there has been a quilt market there before.  I imagine that most people are excited to be able to explore a new location so that they can enjoy what the city has to offer.  Check out this link to see 25 things to do in St. Louis.

Believe it or not, I am looking forward to the St. Louis market especially as compared to the Houston market.  The Houston market is getting kind of stale and I think most would agree especially being that the place was under construction for the last 2 years.  The problem is that Quilts Inc. has a long term contract with that location and that is also where the Quilts Inc. headquarters is located.  In any case, I am looking forward to the fresh new locale and all that it has to offer.  I am also looking forward to the increased number of school houses that our companies are putting on.  We realize that quilt shop owners put great value on the school houses. As such, we are bringing them.  So please come on down and enjoy!

All that being said, please get your credentials in asap and start putting plans together for what should be an amazing market.  Finally, if you are attending the St. Louis market and want to be eligible to join myself, our stylists, associated licensed designers, other quilt shop owners and sales reps for a dinner on Friday night, please email me at scott@jaftex.com. You must be an existing customer of one or all of the Jaftex Companies to be eligible.  Thank you for your time.  See you in St. Louis!

Have a great week!

St. Louis Scott

Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: More Baby Steps For Quilts, Inc.

Dear Readers,

I hope you had a nice weekend.  Also, I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Martin Luther King Jr. day.  Our offices are open today if you need anything.  I will only be in the office until noon as I have the pleasure of attending the Knicks basketball game with my sons, my brother and my nephews as the kids don’t have school today.  In any case, for lack of something better to write about this week, I am back on to the Quilt Market.

This time around, I wanted to acknowledge the baby steps made by the people at Quilts Inc. to try to make the market better for everyone. Recently, all vendors received an appreciation and suggestion email from Quilts Inc. a copy of which is below.  This is yet another step in the right direction, but what concerns me is that they are relying on the vendors to solve their problems.  By asking for ideas, my feeling is that they are going to get bogged down with a lot of the smaller picture issues because I imagine each person that replies will be suggesting something that will most likely just help a few and not the masses.  We really need the big picture ideas to make Quilt Market great again, but I am doubtful those are going to surface as they really never surfaced when I was making my own efforts to improve market.  I hate to be a pessimist, but I truly think I am being a realist here.

In the end of the email from Quilts Inc., they say, “I promise we’ll read them.”  The problem is that reading them and taking action are two totally different things.  I know that I am being literal, but based on my interactions with the big shots at Quilts Inc., I don’t see any worthwhile change coming soon.  They are like deer in the headlights right now which is very concerning for me and should be concerning to you too.  Once again, I urge the people of Quilts Inc. to take some meaningful actions fast because the Quilt Market numbers continue to fade for attendees and vendors.  Time is running short and as each market passes, more and more vendors are dropping out.  For the Jaftex Companies, this will be a critical year for us to determine our future with Quilt Markets.

To our Quilt Market Exhibitors,
As we prepare for another exciting year in the quilting industry, we want to thank you for making International Quilt Market an important part of your business plan. Whether you exhibited at our Spring show in Salt Lake City and/or our Fall show in Houston, your participation and support are very important. Without your taking your valuable time and money to exhibit, we wouldn’t have a Market to support the retailers from around the world who come to do their buying and see what’s new. We know there are many options for you to market your products, and we very much appreciate your making Quilt Market a part of your plans. Thank you from all of the Market team! We look forward to welcoming you back to St Louis this May and/or Houston this October.
In the meantime, if you have any ideas or comments to make Market even better, please do send them to ideas@quilts.com
and I promise we’ll read them!

Have a great week.  And by the way, if you read this far and plan on attending the St. Louis Quilt Market (this applies to customers that did business with any of the Jaftex Companies in 2016), I would like you to email me (scott@jaftex.com) if you are interested in attending the Studioe/Blank Quilting Corp. quilt market dinner with management, in-house designers, licensed designers, sales reps and other customers.  In the email, tell me in a very brief paragraph why you would be interested in attending the dinner aside from wanting to hang out with me (LOL).  I don’t have a date yet, but this will be on a first come, first served basis. Space is limited.  Good luck.

Regards,

Scott