By Elizabeth Sears
The home-improvement industry has gone through a dramatic increase in demand over the past few years, which has been challenging to fulfill at times due to product and labor shortages. Businesses and consumers alike have felt the resulting stress. The Western Mass Home & Garden Show on March 24-27, produced by the Home Builders & Remodelers Assoc. of Western Massachusetts, offers a solution — a diverse array of reputable vendors and a crowd of eager customers, all in the same building.
“As the Home Builders Association in Western Mass., we have had many conversations with homeowners that have expressed their frustrations and offered them support to navigate through the process,” said Andrew Crane, Home Show director and executive director of the association. “As we don’t see a decrease in demand in 2022, we know how essential the Home Show will be for these individuals to increase their opportunity to get in the queue for the upcoming building season.”
“As we don’t see a decrease in demand in 2022, we know how essential the Home Show will be for these individuals to increase their opportunity to get in the queue for the upcoming building season.”
A wide range of vendors are exhibiting at the show this year, running the gamut from builders, painters, landscapers, remodelers, cleaning services, HVAC services, and more. Oftentimes, people undertaking a home project need not just one service, but several different ones — and the Home Show is able to connect clients to all the services they may need, all at the same time.
“What I’ve found is that a lot of the people who come to the Home Show have more than one thing that they’re looking for,” said Christopher Grenier, owner and head painter of Christopher J. Grenier Painting & Finishing, LLC. “They’re not just looking for a painter; it’s part of a larger project, and of course, with all the different contractors that are there, they can find just about anything that they’re looking for.”
Grenier’s Chicopee-based business offers services like painting, wood finishing, wall repair, and ceiling repair, for both private clients and local contractors. This year will mark his fourth time exhibiting at the Home Show, and he expressed how much business vendors receive by exhibiting at the show, as well as how much they felt it when the 2020 show was canceled and the 2021 edition scaled down and moved to late summer, both due to the pandemic.
“Last year was an anomaly because of COVID, because of the rescheduling of the show. I still came out with 20 or more requests for follow-up,” he told BusinessWest. “The year before that was much higher because we weren’t in COVID. I think I came out year one with almost 90 requests for follow-up.”
There is certainly something to be said for the value of marketing to an audience of thousands at this show, as well as the cross-promotion and networking that occurs between the exhibiting companies. The ability to bring everyone together in person has shown itself to be an invaluable resource for both vendors and attendees throughout the years.
“Everybody just Googles everything now and buys on the internet,” Grenier said. “When you get people to the Home Show, they get to stand there and interact with the professional, touch the product, get feedback, get the right advice from whomever it is … actually being there in the physical space and not the metaverse has clear advantages. Anybody who attends the Home Show has an advantage to make their project more successful.”
Crane echoed this sentiment, emphasizing just how beneficial and convenient the Home Show is for attendees.
“Everybody just Googles everything now and buys on the internet. When you get people to the Home Show, they get to stand there and interact with the professional, touch the product, get feedback, get the right advice from whomever it is … actually being there in the physical space and not the metaverse has clear advantages.”
“This is such a time saver compared to traditional methods of calling and setting up individual appointments,” he said. “Many people feel more comfortable meeting with a few vendors before deciding, and doing this at the Home Show can save weeks and weeks of time.”
The annual show sees all types of attendees who visit for a variety of different reasons. Attendees typically fall into one of several categories:
• People planning to buy or build a new home, who may visit with builders, real-estate agents, financial institutions, and sellers of component products, such as hardwood flooring, tile, and appliances;
• People planning to remodel or renovate, who may want to check in with all of the above, plus vendors of replacement components such as windows and doors, as well as appliances, wall treatments, and home furnishings;
• Yard and garden enthusiasts, who tend to be interested in lawn and landscaping services; wall, walk, and edging components and materials; and trees, shrubs, flowers, and seeds;
• Lifestyle-conscious individuals, who like to check out trendy, high-tech, or time-saving products, as well as home furnishings and products focused on self-improvement, fitness, and health;
• Committed renters, who have no plans to own a house, but may be interested in space-conservation and space-utilization products, as well as home furnishings;
• Impulse buyers, who flock to vendors of home décor, arts and crafts, cooking and baking products, jewelry, and personal goods; and
• Those who attend the show purely for fun, who may arrive without an agenda but often develop ideas for future purchases and home products. “More than any other group,” the association notes, “these people are the ones who have come to rely upon our show on an annual basis and who perhaps have the greatest impact upon our vendors.”
No matter the reason someone has for attending, the Home Show prides itself on helping both attendees and vendors with an abundance of opportunities.
“Our objective is to provide a venue with multiple vendors and a robust representation of products under one roof,” Crane said. “This show will help homeowners minimize the time it can take to decide on the best products and remove frustrations that can come with trying to meet and decide on a home-improvement company.”
The 67th presentation of the Western Mass Home & Garden Show will take place in the Better Living Center building at the Eastern States Exposition. This year’s show hours are Thursday and Friday, March 24-25, 1 to 9 p.m.; Saturday, March 26, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday, March 27, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. General show admission is $10 for adults, and children under 12 are admitted free. A coupon reducing admission to $7 can be found on the show’s website. Parking on the Eastern States Exposition grounds is $5 per vehicle.