VACAVILLE — Just four years after buying the Total Home and Garden Show, Jodi McGuire and Nicole Arabia have grown the show to the point where they had to move it from a series of tents by the Nut Tree Airport to its new location in Fairfield.
McGuire and Arabia have also transformed it from a specialty event to a community event by adding elements that are not typical for the average home and garden show.
“We’ve taken the home and garden show and turned it into more of a fun family atmosphere,” McGuire said.
By adding a kids corral, a petting zoo and even an Easter Bunny for the spring show scheduled next month, McGuire said the pair have drawn in a new demographic, which was the goal.
“It’s not just the typical home and garden show. We have a lot of different things to offer,” she said. “We expanded the food court, added a margarita lounge, a sports bar and beer garden – that’s the adult corral.”
The April 11-13 event will be McGuire and Arabia’s second at the Specialty Events Center – the former Walmart building at 300 Chadbourne Road in Fairfield.
“It’s working out really good,” she said. “Everybody loves the building rather than being in the tents.”
Things like water and electricity, which were issues at the old site, are no longer issues.
“We had a really, really good fall show and typically fall shows are smaller,” McGuire said.
Using their marketing expertise was key to expanding the show for McGuire and Arabia. In fact, it was also key in their acquisition of the show.
“Nicole and I owned a company called Queen of Marketing,” McGuire said. “The previous owner hired us to market his show in Vacaville.”
The pair used their contacts with the Vacaville Chamber of Commerce and the area business community to boost the show’s attendance, and it was a success. At the same time, the owner of the show was looking to retire.
“He proposed for us to purchase it,” McGuire said.
That marketing experience played a big part in getting more people to come to the show, which then boosts the vendors’ profiles, McGuire said.
“It didn’t bring in many more businesses, just trying to get more attendees,” she said. “The exhibitors know we put on a good show.”
Along with all the fun stuff, people can still check out air conditioners, roofing, siding and plumbing, she said. Part of the difference was also increasing local presence at the show.
“We definitely get a lot of local families and exhibitors at our show,” McGuire said. “We advertise up and down the local corridor, from American Canyon to Dixon.”
Moving the show from Vacaville to Fairfield also made the show more accessible to people from the rest of the Bay Area.
“It was a good move,” McGuire said. “There’s nowhere big enough to hold us in Vacaville.”
Reach Mike Corpos at 427-6979 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/mcorposdr.