FAIRFIELD — Nicole Arabia and Jodi McGuire set out to draw more people in Total Home & Garden Show. They were so successful, the owner offered to sell them the business.
Since July 2010, the twice-annual shows have taken place in Vacaville. Next weekend, the show comes to Fairfield at the old Walmart store, now a special events center, at 300 Chabourne Road.
The new venue offers about an additional 15,000 square feet, as well as a permanent structure. The Vacaville shows were in large tents that required equipment.
“This is so much easier than putting up those tents and having to bring in everything,” Arabia said. She believes it’s the largest event to occur in the special events center.
About 200 vendors will be set up inside. Another 50 or so will utilize the space outside. Among them is Can Do It, which offers video calls with trades workers to help do-it-yourselfers finish their projects.
The event is also billed as a Harvest Festival and will feature live entertainment, cooking demonstrations, a wine tasting event and after-hours haunted house.
“We want to make the show bigger and better,” McGuire said. “Every year we add four or five things so it will be fresh and interesting.”
They hope to bring in 10,000 to 12,000 people during the show’s three-day run.
There are challenges, McGuire said. The show called Vacaville home for so many years, McGuire and Arabia are hoping people will hear about the new venue and location.
“It’s almost like you have to rebrand yourself,” McGuire said.
Deciding where to set up exhibitors is another.
“It’s a new configuration,” McGuire said. “You want to make the flow work.”
“It’s lots of work,” Arabia said.
Cesar Chavez is the guest designer. Arabia discovered him on a Sacramento TV station doing a segment on transforming a dorm room for less than $100.
The Stockton resident spent five years in the banking business while attending design college. The middle of five boys, he learned creativity early, Chavez said.
“Can you imagine the hand-me-downs I got?” he asked rhetorically.
At 17, he gave his parents’ bathroom a new look, painting the tiles and countertop. After that, it was the living room, then the kitchen.
He calls his design style “chic, very detailed, clean and modern.” Chavez is also a design minimalist.
“When you buy something, you have to get rid of something you have already,” he said.
This is his first home and garden show. Chavez will show how to make an ottoman using rope.
His dream project is to restore a boarded up train station in Stockton.
“I’d love to take it and make it my own,” Chavez said.
Do-it-yourselfers are the target audience for home and garden shows. With today’s tight economy and social media sites such as Pinterest, Chavez, Arabia and McGuire said more people are tackling their own home improvement projects.
“I figure why pay someone when I can do it myself,” he said.
TV shows such as “Flip This House” have also bought attention to the market, Chavez said. “I used to watch Bob Vila,” he said.
He draws inspiration from trips to places such as the San Francisco Design Center.
“I like to think I keep style in mind,” Chavez said. “I really love the details. The details make the difference.”
Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.