The Cottage Life Show and Booth Anxiety

Our company has just returned from exhibiting in our 10th Cottage Life Show at the International Centre in Toronto. There is always a level of excitement associated with the show. The show gives us an opportunity to showcase our latest projects, meet prospective clients, and see what our competitors are doing to promote themselves. Preparation for the show starts about a month before in discussions at coffee break. Usually 2-3 weeks pass quickly as we concentrate our efforts on jobs that are “priority.” Suddenly we find ourselves with only three days to get ready. I let the office work slide for a couple of days, go to the shop, dust off the picture plaques, touch up the paint on the displays, and review our photos and promotional literature.

I think about our booth display for a moment and remember one of our competitors telling me he handed his booth design over to a marketing company staffed by 20-year-olds who completely revamped his booth by streaming video images from overhead cameras, adding black leather furniture and chrome décor. He said the results were strikingly positive for his business. “Should we change our booth? ” I ask myself. Should it be revamped to appeal to the younger client? Are we adapting enough to the times? After all, I’m not connected to social media.

Following the show, we returned to work on Monday morning, tired but generally feeling very positive. A customer that we met one year ago at the show returned to sign a design agreement. Another wants to visit our shop and see a “tower” that is under construction. Several said they were interested in having us quote on projects for them.

In spite of my concern about our booth, we likely made the acquaintance of at least one stranger at the show who will put his confidence in us, sign a contract, and build a beautiful cottage. We will gain a new long-term friend at the end of the process. It has happened many times before.

Ten shows have passed since our first Cottage Life Show in 2004. Our booth has changed modestly over the years but it continues to bring us clients and give us a reason to keep coming back every year. But watch out next year ….maybe you will see a new booth after all.

Portico Timber Frames, a modern construction company, “…on the cutting edge of ancient technology”