If you’re 34-64, a working professional (or retired), and own a home, chances are you’ve been to the Ottawa Home + Design Show at least once. Now in it’s fifth year at the Ernst + Young Centre on Uplands Dr., the show brings together over 200 exhibitors from the design, decor, and home improvement industries. Whether you’re renovating, landscaping, or replacing key systems – the Home + Design Show is your one-stop shop.
It can also be crowded. And exhausting. And downright overwhelming.
Roaming aisle after aisle, confronted with too many choices, it doesn’t always feel leisurely. So, here are a few tips for making it through:
Stop + Talk: At any trade show, there will be the hyper-aggressive sales types that accost shoppers, relentlessly pitching there wares. This is inevitable. In a crowded space, with so much competition, it’s no wonder some try extra hard to stand out. Most of the time, I wish they would stand down instead. I prefer to say hello to vendors exuding quiet warmth, friendliness, and just a hint of confidence - based on knowledge, experience, and expertise. These are the conversations that eventually turn into relationships.
Approach Methodically: There is a lot to see, and much of it won’t be relevant to you and your circumstances. You might not need a new furnace or roof, and be tempted to cut your visit short. However, try to resist skipping rows. Instead, take a methodical approach – so you don’t miss a thing. I find the newest vendors are in the smallest booths – and often, these are new businesses with interesting, innovative solutions.
Take a Seat: With 200 or so vendors to take in, you’d think they were the main event. Except, the Home + Design show also features special programming, including seminar presentations, interactive events, and contests. Learn from local experts, meet an HGTV celebrity or two, and yes – take seat. There are plenty of chairs.
Enjoy the Treats: Last but not least, don’t forget to enjoy a few treats. Many vendor booths include food-related enticements to encourage customers to stop and talk. Candies, chocolates, and even cookies are shamelessly displayed, so why be shy? These yummy tidbits are great conversation starters, and yes I confess, sometimes prevent me from walking by…
The Ottawa Home + Design Show runs until 5pm this Sunday, September 29. For more information, click here.