Over the 29 years of its existence, the P.E.I Provincial Home Show has become much more than just the differences in indoor/outdoor carpeting and now is a one stop shopping place for someone doing or planning home renovations.
Believe it or not the internet has had a huge influence on how the home show consumer, the majority being homeowners or future homeowners, use the show to their advantage. In the past this was not the case, said Brian McKiel, of Master Promotions, the organizer of the show that along with partners, P.E.I. Special Olympics and P.E.I. Crime Stoppers, hosts the show.
“What has changed dramatically is that the consumer today is much more educated and that is because of the internet…any product or service they want to know about they can educate themselves on the internet and when they come here they can do business. Five years ago 80 per cent of the people who came to the show were socializing and today 85 per cent of the people are here to do business,” he said in an interview Saturday.
The majority of the consumers coming into the show are homeowners or “wannabe” homeowners, said McKiel. “They are either looking to renovate or build something inside or outside of their home.”
“This year without a doubt the content that is in this show is second to none and I would hold it to any show we do in the Maritimes…not necessarily the largest building, but it has some of the best content of any our shows.”
Awarding winning Cows cheese on display -
The exhibitors are mostly Island companies that have the support of manufacturers and distributers who have come to the show with products and services to assist the businesses.
McKeil said the show is important to local businesses because when they come to the show and set up a booth it becomes “not only their showroom for the weekend where they talk to customers they had previously and are renewing those contacts as well as talking to new customers.”
The show had its beginnings in the Sherwood Sportsplex with 45 exhibitors and 100 booths while the show this past weekend had more than 120 exhibitors with more than 325 booths. It moved to the Charlottetown Civic Centre in 1990.
One of the well-known Island companies with a booth was Cows Ice Cream that was exhibiting its award winning cheese made at its creamery on the North River Causeway.
Its three cheeses – Avonlea clothbound cheddar, Cows Creamery extra old and applewood smoked – are finalists in the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix sponsored by the Dairy Farmers of Canada. The winner will be announced in April. Cows Creamery is competing against some of the best cheese in Canada, but its extra old has a history of winning – it took top spot in 2009.