Homeowners packed the Michigan State University Pavilion in search of builders, home improvement experts, landscapers, and new ideas on how to update their homes’ interiors and exteriors.
The March 16-19 show attracted thousands of homeowners and more than 250 exhibitors.
Local businesses tried to help homeowners find solutions and gain a year’s worth of customers.
Carolyn Alt, senior show manager and publicist, has worked on planning the show for years.
“A lot of these businesses don’t have showrooms, so this is the opportunity for them to have their once-a-year showroom,” Alt said. “They can talk about what is new with their business, as usually people that come to the show are new to the area. It’s a great way for them to connect with businesses that they are going to need.”
Jen Lewis attended the show for the second time after moving back to Michigan. Last year, she found an electrician at the show.
“I have been away for about 20 years, so I don’t know any vendors in this area, so it’s a good place, if you’re not familiar or just don’t know where to get an electrician,” Lewis said. “It’s nice to see people face-to-face to kind of judge the company.”
The Home Builders Association of Greater Lansing is the show’s sponsor of 10 years and has brought many of their members into the show.
Cindy Kosloski, association CEO, has found ways to help homeowners during the show.
“At the HBA booth we handout our building and remodeling guide, which is a resource for homeowners to be able to make sure they are using qualified licensed and professional contractors,” Kosloski said. “We also make sure that we are telling the consumer to use an HBA member when they are having something done on their home.”
Kosloski found that the show serves as an entrance into the springtime and stressed the importance of different companies’ presence at the show to line up business for the spring and summer.
Sarah Musson, owner of Musson Designs LLC, worked at the association booth to hand out directories.
“It’s a great way for members to get their names out there and interact with people who are interested or looking at remodeling,” Musson said. “It’s a good idea if you are going to hire someone to work on your house because we are all licensed and have credential meetings that we have to go to.”
Many businesses find the show helps them remain memorable even if customers are not ready for their service at the time.
Pam and Ron Sosebee, owners of Amish Interiors by North Star Trader, have noticed how customers have returned to them.
“We’ve had people that have seen us at a show and maybe they were not ready for furniture at that point but we have had them come in and say that they saw us at the Home and Garden show three years ago and now they are ready to buy furniture,” Pam Sosebee said.
Matt Harmlaw, works the service end of Hedlund Plumbing, has noted the exposure the show gives the company.
“We may not see it all at once. We will see it over the course of the year,” Harmlaw said.
“People say six months down the road, ‘hey I saw you at the Home and Garden show and now I’m ready to do my project.’”
Wendy and Mark Koerner have attended the event for four years and have noticed slight differences in the show.
“I think it gets a little bit fancier than it started out as in the beginning,” Mark Koerner said. “I think the vendors have really nice displays of what they are trying to sell you, as they have improved their products. They have sunk some money into their sales promotions.”
Dianna Miller, owner of A-1 Upholstery and Repair has been coming to the show for nine years and just increased the size of her booth.
“We increased our booth area this year to a double booth, instead of one. It really has made a difference and they really worked with us well to be able to get the extra booth,” Miller said. “We added to the booth and had a lot of repeat customers come back.”
Mike Wilbraham, the show’s producer, started the show 27 years ago and worked on creating a structure that works well with exhibitors.
“We give recommendations and advice, we try and encourage people to develop as smooth and sophisticated of an operation as they can to create a frictionless relationship with the patron,” Wilbraham said. “But we can’t take credit for what they do, the great majority of the effort is on the side of the exhibitors.”