© Nigel Armstrong - The Guardian
Alex MacCaull, left, joins Jackie MacCaull who holds an ice cream she purchased at the ADL booth, with proceeds going to P.E.I. non-profit groups, while Scott Cameron samples free beer at the Island Brewing Company display at the annual P.E.I. Provincial Home show now underway at the Eastlink Centre, formerly the Charlottetown Civic Centre.
Eustace Reeves wasn’t exactly feeling 100 per cent on Friday but that wasn’t going to stop him from being at the P.E.I. Provincial Home Show in Charlottetown.
He’s been manning the Reeves Water Treatment Systems booth for the past 29 years and wasn’t about to break the streak this year.
“Results,’’ Reeves said bluntly when asked why he keeps coming back to the show every year. “This is the best show on the Island and has been for years. It’s promoted best and it is done professionally.’’
The provincial home show, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, has become a must-attend event for homeowners and prospective homeowners or simply those considering making some changes in their home.
Brian McKiel, senior show manager for Master Promotions, said there are more than 350 booths at the Eastlink Centre — 250 inside the trade centre and another 100 in the main arena.
“We’re really pleased to introduce the new woodworking show for the first year in the arena,’’ McKiel said.
He’s referring to Woodwork East, a new concept show. The goal of this particular event is to provide a platform for woodworking hobbyists and professionals looking for the latest tools, products and services available to the diverse woodworking industry in Atlantic Canada.
“This is a natural fit with a home show because most homeowners do a lot of their own repairs and dabble in woodworking.’’
Exhibitors will feature entry level products and tools that the average homeowner would need right up to speciality tools for the pros.
More than 12,000 people are expected to take in the home show this weekend.
“You meet your own customers. After 37 years in this business we’re now selling to (our customers’) grandchildren and you don’t survive without it,’’ Reeves said.
Mike James with Metro Building Supplies said there is no other way to expose a business to so many people at one time.
“We get 12,000 people, roughly, through here every year so we are set up for new homes, renovations, we have bath and lighting section, we have a building section here, we probably have the largest booth in here,’’ James said.
“We do get some good business out of here and we’re meeting and greeting people. It’s worth the effort to come out. You meet people face to face that you wouldn’t necessarily see in your store.’’
McKiel said there are products on display that haven’t even been seen in show rooms yet.
He noted the Internet is making the shows stronger every year.
“The Internet has changed the focus of the show. Joe Public can be more educated today by learning everything they want to learn about a produce or service on the Internet and come here to do business. That has given us longevity … because it has now turned into quality customers talking to quality exhibitors. It’s not a social event anymore.’’