FAIRFIELD — Nicole Arabia and Jodi McGuire are busy women most of the year.
They’re the hidden faces behind Vacaville’s Total Home, Garden & Outdoors Show, which is held in the dirt lot at the Nut Tree Complex.
The women bought the show in 2010, after helping the previous owner with marketing. They have been in full-speed-ahead mode most of the year – wooing vendors, organizing, strategizing, advertising, setting up and a host of other tasks involved in the local show that attracts about 300 exhibitors and up to 18,000 visitors.
The show each year begins with a “blank piece of land,” Arabia said. Everything from the electric hookups to the water and portable toilets are hauled in, and then hauled away again.
“We had no idea what it entailed to put on a home show – even after we helped the previous owner,” McGuire said. “It was a steep learning curve when we first started. But it’s nothing we couldn’t handle. It was a living and learning situation, but with every year we’re learning how to make the home show better than it was the previous year.”
Arabia said they’re always looking for ways to expand and mix it up each year.
In 2012, they introduced a fall show that Arabia said “went really well.” For that show, they also brought in a sports bar beer garden. They also brought in evening music with local bands.
For the spring show, April 12-14, they’re adding more family elements, such as partnering with California Education Through Animals to bring animals to the show. Visitors will be able to buy chicks and a set-up to raise them. There will be paintball demonstrations, human hamster balls and an obstacle course for kids using tricycles without pedals.
“We always try to make it bigger and better,” Arabia said.
Both women said it’s been hard to attract local vendors and they say they have had to do what they didn’t want to do: continue the use exhibitors from outside Solano County.
“We’d like to get as many local exhibitors (as we can) . . . that’s what we strive for,” Arabia said.
The two women met in a Vacaville Chamber of Commerce group. McGuire was an interior designer and Arabia worked for family members in the electrical contracting field. Arabia asked McGuire some home advice and they became friends. They started a marketing company, Queen of Marketing, and one of their clients was the previous home show owner. When they bought the show, they formed JN Productions in 2010.
They will soon have to move to a new location because some of the land was sold, Arabia said. The spring show will be held in the original spot, but the fall show location is up in the air while they search for a permanent location.
One with water and electrical maybe, Arabia said.
Reach Susan Winlow at 427-6955 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/swinlowdr.