2018-02-28 / Featured / Real Estate

For some businesses, home shows are a game changer


Visitors to the Richmond Home & Garden Show can browse products from over 250 vendors, including many from Chester field. 
PHOTO COURTESY OF MARKETPLACE EVENTS Visitors to the Richmond Home & Garden Show can browse products from over 250 vendors, including many from Chester field. PHOTO COURTESY OF MARKETPLACE EVENTS When the Kellers took part in their first home show, even they were surprised at how much it improved their business.

“It’s been a life changing opportunity for us,” says Meredith Keller, who co-owns the Midlothian-based company, Sunspace of Richmond, with her husband, Paul. “There’s no exaggeration there.”

The Kellers’ company, a vendor for Canadian corporation Sunspace Sunrooms, specializes in converting screened-in porches and patios into full-fledged sunrooms, as well as building sunrooms and screen rooms from scratch. As their company’s process of using powder-coated aluminum and commercial-grade vinyl to seal these spaces is still relatively unfamiliar to many homeowners, the Kellers began attending home shows to reach new customers.

“The home show is an opportunity to see things that you might not have even known existed,” says Keller, adding that the demand for their product has grown to the point that she left her bank job a year ago to help run things. “It changed the direction of our business.”

This weekend, Sunspace of Richmond will be one of more than 250 vendors in attendance at the Richmond Home & Gar- den Show. The event is the region’s largest home show, taking place at the Richmond International Raceway complex. Dozens of Chesterfield businesses take part in the three-day expo in the hopes of drumming up interest in products and services related to the house, home and garden.

Refresh Cabinets of Chesterfield is another participating vendor, one that specializes in refinishing old cabinets and doors. Refresh co-owner Jamie Shea credits home shows with helping his business bloom.

“It’s the main form of marketing I do throughout the year,” Shea says. “It’s one of the things that really took our business off.” Refresh now participates in three or four home shows a year, demonstrating to customers the before and after effects of stripping down a cabinet, applying six coats of lacquer, and adding new hardware like soft-close hinges.

“I’ll average anywhere between 15 and 25 jobs a show,” Shea says. “They do very well for us. Even a year or two after a show, I’ll get calls, people who have picked up our cards [at that show].”

For Mobility Supercenter, a Chesterfield based mobility equipment provider, home shows are a way to teach people about their products. The company, which now has four locations, sells ramps, stairlifts, scooter lifts and wheelchair-accessible vans. Mobility Supercenter participates in two to four home shows a year, including the one next weekend.

“It’s a great way for the general public to see new products and applications,” says Greg Barlson, manager of Mobility Supercenter’s home products. “The big thing is to be able to talk to people about what their challenges are, what problem they are trying to solve in their home.”

In addition to vendors, the Richmond Home & Garden Show features a “Fresh Ideas Stage,” where expert presentations will take place all three days. Among other things, visitors can listen to renovation advice from Aubrey and Bristol Marunde of HGTV’s show “Flip or Flop Vegas,” hear landscaping and gardening tips from Ashland Berry Farm and enjoy a performance by Fred Astaire Dance Studio Richmond. ¦

The Richmond Home & Garden Show takes place Mar 2-4 at the Richmond Raceway, 600 E. Laburnum Ave., Richmond. $8, free/12 and younger.

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