Writing Sample: Portland Fall Home & Garden Show

From the November 2011 issue of the Home Building News

Portland Fall Home & Garden Show
The HBA Ask the Expert Booth at the Portland Expo Center Sept. 29-Oct.2, 2011

Recently, homeowners looking to improve the value and beauty of their homes turned out for the Fall Home and Garden Show at the Portland Expo Center.  “This year’s traffic was up nearly 20% over fall 2010,” says Dave Nielsen, CEO of the HBA.  “Members reported they had numerous solid leads and that the show was successful for them.”

This year’s show attracted traffic using billboards, a print media campaign with a weekday coupon, and special appearances by local morning show personalities. With 343 booths promoting household products, landscapers, builders and remodelers, attendees had a plethora of options and ideas to consider.

“Every couple who walks through the door is there for a purpose,” said Terry O’Loughlin, event producer with O’Loughlin Trade Shows. “They have a reason for attending the show. These people are here looking for a service, product, or to learn something,” explains O’Loughlin.

Home and Garden chair and fall vendor, Mitch Stanley of Stanley Renovation & Design, talked with several people looking for options for their upcoming projects. Because Stanley offers full-service remodeling, he appeals to a special clientele. “I had 7 or 8 conversations with qualified clients who are looking to start projects in the spring,” he said. Stanley plans on returning to the Expo center in February to continue building relationships with potential clients at the Spring Home and Garden Show.

“The Home and Garden shows are for vendors to market, brand, and follow up leads from the last show. If you make an impression on these people they will come back looking for you,” said O’Loughlin. Stanley agrees the show is good for branding and getting his name out there.

For the last three years Steve Heiteen from Portland Remodel has held a booth at the Home and Garden shows. “Most people want information,” said Heiteen. It’s about “connecting with people as you talk to them. Let them understand we can be a resource for them. A lot of people will call when they are ready,” he explained. Heinteen secured three appointments during the show.

Returning this year was the design showcase Serving Up Style, which featured dining room designs from twelve of the best local designers in the business. The exhibit helped raise over $100,000 for Molly’s Fund, a local nonprofit that supports lupus awareness, education, and research for a cure. This was a 150% increase from funds raised in 2010 used in the fight against this debilitating disease.

The first place award for both the designer’s choice and people’s choice of Serving Up Style went to Portland interior designer Wendy O’Brien, an HBA member. Her design, incorporating a life-sized giraffe made from rusted metal, impressed the attendees as well as the fellow craftsmen at the show.

Other features included a plant sale benefiting Leach Botanical Garden and dozens of animal adoptions through the efforts of Oregon Friends of Shelter Animals.

The Portland Spring Home & Garden Show is coming this February.  Be sure to visit www.otshows.com  for the latest information about how to get involved.

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