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Tucson show 2018 - Newbie tips required!

Posted by Wendy L Smith  
Wendy L Smith December 30, 2017 10:46PM
I'm a small sole trader business in the UK and planning to visit Tucson for several days whilst holidaying around the area in the first 2 weeks of February. My retail audience is more general than 'true' collector. Does anyone have an advice/tips/info which would help?! I've only just started researching as flights have only recently been booked. Unclear on export/import tax situation and shipping options. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.
Kevin Conroy December 31, 2017 03:07PM
The Tucson shows are spread through the city so there's sometimes several miles between venues. It's absolutely impossible for you to see all of the shows since you'll only be there a few days, so research which shows have dealers that will most likely have the type of material that you like, then plan accordingly. There are several sources that list the shows, but to get you started HERE'S ONE.

If you plan on buying from wholesalers you should bring proof that you own a business. Some of the vendors are rather lax on who they will sell to, but others are quite strict.

The quantity and weight of what you plan on buying will impact your shipping needs. If it's a lot then you may want to establish an account with an international freight company who has a presence in Tucson. They should know the import/export tax situation for the UK. A moderate amount can be handled by any of the postage companies, including the US Postage, who will have offices throughout Tucson. I would put the most fragile and/or valuable items in carry-on luggage. The folks at the airports are familiar with seeing pieces from the shows being carried onto the flights. Of course, use common sense and don't carry on anything that may be construed as any sort of hazard.

When you make purchases have a plan on what you are going to do with the items. Some of the vendors will allow you to leave purchases at their booth while you continue to shop at the show, others will ask that you take the items with you. Will you have a vehicle at the show that you can put things in? Note, sometimes finding a parking spot near the show that you're interested in is difficult. Do you plan on riding a shuttle from show to show? These are very good for getting yourself around, not so good for hauling a large quantity of stuff around. If you carry/wear a backpack you can pack smaller items in it while keeping your hands free to examine other items as you shop. If you buy things and leave them in booths/rooms, have a way to make note of the booth/room and the show. No use buying something and then forgetting where you left it!

There are lots of places to visit in the Tucson area while on holiday. Some are fairly close to town, some not. Prioritize your time and trips according to what you want to see. Many more stops can be made in a day if you plan your routes.

Perhaps my best advice is: have fun! Many folks get so caught up in the business side of things that they get worn out or stressed out. Think of it, you're going to see world-class geologic items at the shows, as well as enjoy some of Arizona's natural and historical heritage.
William W. Besse December 31, 2017 04:43PM

If you do not have a hotel yet, you are already too late. Try and get one now! You may get lucky.

If none available try: Marana, 30 minutes north; Green Valley, 30 minutes south; Benson, 45 minutes east. After these you are going over an hour. I know some people in past years that had to stay in Phoenix, over 2 hours away.

That said, like Kevin said, try and enjoy it. Do not get stressed by trying to see too much. There is a Buyer's Guide, actually several, that are free. You can usually find them in hotel lobbies. When you get there grab a set. They will help you plan.

Susan Robinson December 31, 2017 06:05PM
Dress casually and for temps in the mid-60s to mid 70s (fahrenheit), and with the most comfortable shoes you have, which i cannot stress strongly enough. You'll be doing a lot of walking and looking, and having a purse slung across your body or one that is on a belt, is a good idea. The less you need to carry, the better. A small notebook might be handy, too, to keep track of where you saw some minerals that you want to see again.

Enjoy Tucson and its nice weather.

Susan Robinson
John Montgomery December 31, 2017 06:26PM
Hello Wendy
I found John Betts' article very helpful



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/31/2017 06:49PM by John Montgomery.
Owen Lewis December 31, 2017 08:37PM

Importation into the UK. Whether or not your business is VAT registered, you will be charged VAT at 20% on your imports. As Kevin said, if you ship via DHL (or similar), they will act as your VAT agent, collecting the tax due from you before they make delivery in the UK. Use USPS and you make a customs declaration before posting that is attached to your parcel(s). Royal Mail/Parcelforce will then act as your VAT agent and will collect from you the tax due before making delivery in the UK, having taken over your shipment(s) from USPS at the port of entry. Stuff you carry home with you (diamonds etc. :-) ) you are obliged to declare to customs in the usual way.

There should be no export taxes out of the USA. but, if you are into organics as well as minerals, watch out for CITES export/import bans. Check the regulations thoroughly before you buy.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/31/2017 08:43PM by Owen Lewis.
Robert Rothenberg December 31, 2017 11:05PM
Hi Wendy,

While temperatures may normally be in the mid-60s to mid 70s (fahrenheit),as Susan stated, I have been there when it was much colder and there was snow (at least at night). So you should be prepared for this as well.

Wendy L Smith January 01, 2018 07:12PM
Oh Wow! Thank you so much for all that information - extremely helpful! I've had a look at some of the info for the shows listed Kevin so I'm starting to form a view on what I'd check out. Though I guess some of the pre-planning may end up going out of the window once we actually get there!

Sounds like logistics and shipping needs a bit of careful consideration - thanks for all the info on this Owen - I will research further.

We've just managed to find a room too for 3 nights! Was a tad concerned, from the comments, that this might not be possible. Thanks for the heads on on getting a move on with this Bill!

Great tips on the potentially changeable weather Susan and Bob! Sounds like everything from bikinis to snow suits may be required for our trip! Testing out comfy footwear already!

Thanks for the link to John Betts's article John - again very useful indeed and I dropped him a line by email too, to which he has kindly responded.

I now feel like I'm almost set to go have fun and go shopping!

Thank you all so much indeed.

Warmest wishes and a happy new year to you all!

Kevin Conroy January 11, 2018 01:18AM
Wendy, the Tucson shows are getting a bit closer, and I just got an email with some links that you may find of help/interest:



Have fun!
Edward Bayley January 13, 2018 11:09PM
I spent 4 days in early feb last year for the first time, and it is impossible to see it all, but the following shows I was able to see and plan on returning to: My top two picks: The Arizona Mineral & Fossil show at the Hotel Tucson City Center, and The Tucson Gem and Mineral Show (at the Tucson Convention Center). Others I enjoyed were the 22nd Street Show and the Mineral and Fossil Co-Op on Oracle Road (the Coleman Mine quartz there is mindblowing if you've never seen it). I am adding the Pueblo show to my list this year as well.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/13/2018 11:09PM by Edward Bayley.
Wendy L Smith January 17, 2018 01:25AM
Wow, thanks for the links Kevin - really useful.

Thanks for your top picks Edward. We're planning to go to the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show on our last day....which is the first day of the show. Hoping that'll be a great way to end our few days there.

It's going to be awesome! And one thing's for sure is that I'll be wanting to go for the full 2 weeks next time from the sounds of it!

Thank you everyone for all your help and fantastic information.
Wendy L Smith January 17, 2018 01:26AM
Wendy L Smith February 15, 2018 09:52PM
All I can say is WOW!

Saw a fraction of the shows, spent loads of money, bought 2 more suitcases and flew home with some lovely crystal goodies!

Thank you all so much for the info and heads up on everything - it was sooo helpful!

And now I want to go again! And for longer! Maybe in a couple of years.
Kevin Conroy February 16, 2018 12:31AM

I'm glad that you had a great time! Folks who have never been to the Tucson shows ask how they are, but words just can't describe it. You simply HAVE to go and experience it. It's simply a "must do" for anyone interested in minerals/fossils/meteorites/jewelry.
Wendy L Smith February 17, 2018 12:39AM
You're absolutely right there Kevin! Photos and words give a flavour for it but it's a whole different experience 'in the flesh'!
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