Home And Cottage Show This Weekend

By John Swartz

The 26th annual Orillia Home and Cottage Show takes place at the Barnfield Recreation Centre this weekend. Glenn Wagner is the point person for the event, and always has been.

“When I came here there wasn’t really a decent show for people to come out and see local businesses. Of course I have a lawn care business (Wagner Lawn Care) and I wanted the show to be able to promote myself, so I thought, let’s do one,” Wagner said.

“I went to a company, walked and said, ‘what do you guys think?’ and they said, ‘yeah,’ and signed on the spot for two booths. I said to myself, it’s going to work.”

How does one switch hats from lawn care to running a trade show?

“I was in the corporate world in Toronto. The company I worked for, one of our divisions put on shows, one of them being the National Home Show,” said Wagner. He had involvement in several other shows including a national construction trade event.

Booths and business owners ready for action at the 5 p.m. show opening time.

Of course the obvious question is, with spring unfolding, over 26 years did he ever ask himself how hard does he have to work ramping up for warm weather work and running an 80 exhibitor event at the same time?

“Yes, I did, and it is our busiest time. However, realizing that I’m kind of a change agent in many ways and I like to keep busy, so once the show is up and running in maintenance mode, after all these years it’s pretty easy,” said Wagner.

Randy Klein of Taylored Home Improvement

Just inside the floor area, booth one is occupied by Taylored Home Improvement. Wagner said Taylored, having been in every show, gets the first booth. Randy Klein is looking forward to the weekend. He said 20 to 40 percent of his annual business comes from the show.

“Over the years I’ve learned how to work the show to get the best contacts and find out which potential customers were kicking and which ones were actually serious about buying. I think that was the key to the success of the show,” said Klein. Does he remember the first time 26 years ago?

“It was exciting. No more exciting than today, but for me in my first show I was so excited about the opportunities, the potential, and it was packed,” Klein said. He also said public attendance varies from year to year depending on how the weather is, but he’s doesn’t worry about crowd size.

“It doesn’t matter how many people, I just want the ones that are looking for what we offer.”

Gord Cooke of System 6 Stucco

Gord Cooke is back in the show after taking a couple years off. His System 6 Stucco did well with leads when he first took part ten years ago, but he’s launching a new side to his business, so he’s back.

“We got into the excavating business now. My son (Chad) is doing that business,”  Cooke said. Now they can fix up your home’s appearance, and go below grade to fix foundations, or dig trenches, and septic work.

The show is open to 9 p.m. Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is usually $3, but this year it’s changed.

“In lieu of admission, we’re asking for donations for Building Hope,” said Wagner. Making a donation will get entries into draws for $5,000 in door prizes.

(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia) Glenn Wagner at the door prize display for this year’s Orillia Home and Cottage show at Barnfield Point rec center.


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