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2014-04-06 at 17:53

Spreading the word

By Matt Vis,
St. Joseph FoundationGrand A Day Draw tickets are now on sale. $1,000 daily draws in November. Grand Prize draw is for $10,000. License #M738339Click Here

For business owners like Scott Malko, trade exhibitions are vital to their enterprises.

The owner and operator of The Shed Guy was one of approximately 300 exhibitors at this weekend’s three-day CLE’s Spring Home and Garden Show, which wrapped up on Sunday.

Malko estimates he had close to 200 inquiries at his exhibit in the Coliseum building on the final day of the show alone and says those interactions are critical to being a successful local business.

“If you don’t get your name out there you just won’t make it,” he said. “This is one of the venues that I use and it really promotes my business.”

The networking available at the shows essentially serve as free advertising, and there were a lot of eyeballs.

With spring weather finally making a long-awaited appearance this weekend, the entire CLE property was jumping.

Parking spots were few and far between by the middle of Sunday afternoon, with many having to park in the little-used spaces behind the Lowery’s Sports Dome.

Event chair Judy Anderson estimates they surpassed their goal of having more than 25,000 visitors over the course of the weekend.

Exhibitors were spread throughout the property, with the field of the Sports Dome being used as well as the CLE’s Coliseum, Heritage, Dove, Claydon and Scarnati buildings.

There were a variety of products available, such as home decor, patio supplies and outdoor equipment. Food vendors were also present throughout.

Organizers try to have something to cater to all demographics and give residents a reason to celebrate the start of spring.

“Originally when we started it out, and even today, we do it for the people of Thunder Bay,” Anderson said.

The business owners appreciate the opportunity to meet with prospective clients before the start of the spring season.

Despite the long winter, Malko anticipates a frenetic start once the snow melts and he can begin working on projects.

“This is going to be a big factor with all the snow we had this winter. We’re going to get hit hard at the beginning and it shows with the response we had at the show.”

Admission and parking were all free of charge.

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kensington says:
parking was so bad it soured the event! Will never go back! come on people get this fixed!! Otherwise pretty good.
4/6/2014 8:12:43 PM
RelaxinginMurillo says:
Really ? If you've ever been to any of the "big" TBay events (Winter Carnival at the Fort, Canada Day at the Marina etc ), you'd know that TBay-ite's dont like public transport ... so it's get there early if you want to get decent parking.
4/7/2014 8:14:54 AM
BetterThunderBay says:
It's about time that we get a little more creative and move past parking as an issue. Free and over-abundant parking in Thunder Bay creates an unrealistic expectation that there's always a public space to store private property.

The memorial bus ran every 15 minutes on Saturday, front door access, no parking hassle. Sure, that wouldn't work for absolutely everyone, but it could have helped significantly. Perhaps next year transit could collaborate with the home and garden show to promote service, or maybe run a shuttle from an additional location. I'm sure we can figure it out.

I can't possibly be the only person with a car who rides the bus to events because it's simpler.

Thankfully, it was also a nice day to walk.

I realize some people need access to handicapped parking, etc. but I didn't see that maxed out, so I think we're talking about the same thing.

There's more than one way to get places.
4/7/2014 10:16:17 AM
fastball says:
Parking was a disaster, giant lakes of water in the parking lot, and the bathrooms in the Golf Dome were an abomination. Having to go in and out from one cramped building to another was a pain.
Imagine if we had ONE large place were all the exhibitions could show their stuff?
I wonder.....
4/7/2014 7:48:42 AM
ring of fire dude says:
Ya , the Event Center would be all peaches and cream . No parking , not enough floor space , guaranteed admission prices , that ought to kill the show dead in it's tracks . Not to mention the fantasy anchor tenant would have to give up their hockey schedule for at least 4 days and the homeless shelter in the basement would have to shuffle all their clients to the streets .
4/7/2014 2:23:11 PM
fastball says:
I call BS on most of your points.
Not enough floor space in a 50,000 square foot convention centre? What are you showing - aircraft carriers?
You've heard of a concept called "scheduling", haven't you? Apparently, organizations do that when trying to book an event a year in advance. It is possible to book events when tenants are out of town. Why, I saw on TV the other day - that a basketball team played THE DAY AFTER a hockey game!!!
Why do you assume "guaranteed" admission prices? And so if it's a couple of bucks...big deal. The price of a Timmie's. They've charged for the Trade Show or the outdoors/RV show.
God, are you guys still whining about parking? Jeez, a handful of commenters said they parked at Intercity and walked over to the CLE. My God - they made it ALL THAT WAY without resorting to eating the weakest or slowest along the way!
As for the "homeless" bit....not sure what you're talking about there, son.
4/7/2014 7:56:37 PM
grazzroots says:
Yes it was a good show and yes parking was terrible . We went Saturday afternoon and were directed behind the dome where there was no parking and it too 20 minutes to exit. Went back Sunday and arrived 5 minutes after doors opened and again parking was 90% full,attendant told us 300 exhibitors X 2-3 workers per booth= 6 to seven hundred vehicles,maybe the exhibitors could try carpools
4/7/2014 8:27:16 AM
uptoolate says:
There is a perfectly fine parking lot at Intercity Mall. It's a 5-10 minute walk! Or like the other poster mentioned, go early! Use transit! Time to change your way of thinking. In the very near future there will be even more people, and more cars in this town. And yes if there was only a massive Events Centre in this town...
4/7/2014 11:17:36 AM
fastball says:
I should clarify - we managed to find parking at the CLE after driving around for a few minutes. My comment was more about the fact that the CLE is sort of 3 or 4 parking lots all melded together for occasions like these, with no real rhyme or reason to the whole affair. People parking indiscriminately anywhere - with seemingly little to logic or order. Going in and out was an exercise in chaos - and involved no small amount of good faith and prayer.
PS...Intercity was NUTS on Saturday as well. Their lot was jammed full as well. We decided to go early Sunday, and lucked out.
4/7/2014 1:37:25 PM
bttnk says:
A nice event. We parked at Intercity and enjoyed a nice 5 minute walk over to the CLE grounds.
4/7/2014 11:52:33 AM
brandon says:
The problem wasn't the size of the facilities at the CLE. Its the parking.
4/7/2014 1:04:15 PM
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