To get an idea how a local home show can help drum up business, one needs only talk to Randy Klein.
The Taylored Home Improvement Ltd. owner participated in his 26th Simcoe Spring Home and Cottage Show this weekend at Barnfield Point Recreation Centre; a remarkable feat considering the annual homage to spring is now in its 26th year.
“We started out during a recession and the home show brought us some hope,” said Klein, who started the business 28 years ago.
“I was new to town and it was a good way to meet people face-to-face. We saw the success and kept on coming.”
And with 26 years under his belt, Klein’s obviously a big believer in what a business can gain from setting up at a home show.
“I get results and follow-ups from the show,” he said, adding he also gets business from his clients’ friends and relatives.
This year’s edition that featured more than 80 booths offering a wide array of goods and services began Friday evening and continues until 5 p.m. today, all the while raising funds through donations in lieu of admission for the Building Hope campaign.
This marked the second year Building Hope has benefited from home-show proceeds. Last year, during a wintry weather mix that saw lower-than-usual attendance, the campaign still received $5,600 in donations.
As of mid-day Sunday, the show had already raised more than $6,000 for Building Hope with that total expected to rise; funds will go towards the campaign to build a new homeless shelter and other related amenities on Queen Street.
Overall attendance, meanwhile, was predicted to come close to 2,500 by day’s end, according to show organizer Glenn Wagner.
Jamie Walsh of JW Painting Epoxy & Design has had a booth at the show for the past five years. He said it’s a great place to meet people and discuss possible projects.
“It’s really good for networking,” said Walsh, whose company does work in the Orillia and Barrie areas as well as Muskoka.
For home-show attendees, it’s all about getting renovation and design ideas for their abodes.
“We come every year and mostly we’re here getting different ideas and names of people we might want to use,” said Severn Bridge resident Richard Todd. “We’re looking to do some landscaping this year.”
Ramara resident Jasmine Boychoff gave a matter-of-fact answer as to why she decided to attend this weekend’s offering.
“I own a home,” she said. “I like to look at renovation project ideas so I’ll see what they’ve got.”
Gerard Rotar from QMR Excavating said the show provides good exposure for relatively small companies to get better known while local CAA Insurance agent Leslie Hewitt was hoping to get some potential client leads during the event.
“Some think that for us, it’s all about road service,” Hewitt said, noting the company actually features three separate entities by offering road service and membership services, travel and insurance.
Shane Kerwin, whose brother Derek owns the city’s Men In Kilts home-cleaning operation, said the show provides businesses with a lot of positive exposure.
“We’ve had a lot of good experiences by being here,” he said.