NCC Chamber of Commerce hosts Home & Product Show
By Tom Phelan - Staff Writer
Enfield - posted Wed., Mar. 23, 2011
With the spring-like weather calling people to stay outdoors, the North Central Connecticut Chamber of Commerce was hoping that many would ignore that call long enough to take in the sights of its 42nd annual Home and Product Show.
Asnuntuck Community College in Enfield was the host site Friday through Sunday, March 18 to 20, with exhibits from 50 local businesses and organizations. According to vendors around the hall, traffic on the show floor was steady on Friday evening and for most of the day on Saturday. Many people waited until Sunday afternoon to visit the popular show.
Rockville Bank was the show’s major sponsor. Four heating oil companies had double- or triple-booth space at strategic locations on the show floor. There were two providers of gutter products, two gymnastics schools, as well as providers of fences, landscaping services, windows, siding, home security and financial services. It seemed that there was a booth for every aspect of the home and family living somewhere in the exhibit area.
Carl Philbrick, owner of Carl’s Appliances, said he has taken part in the show for about 20 years. “It’s a good opportunity to meet a lot of customers in a different forum,” he said. “Many of our customers will see us three or four times in a year, and then go eight years without having to call us.” Philbrick said that at the show he meets a lot of customers whose name he has only seen on a computer or in print, so the face-to-face encounters help to enhance his business. The geographic area of the NCCCC overlays the footprint of Philbrick’s sales and services business. “The show is perfect, because the clientele is in the same market area that I serve,” he said.
The show was organized to satisfy adults and children at the same time. Adults were able to make inquiries while moving from booth to booth, while children were attracted to the show’s scavenger hunt and booth freebies. Larger-than-life characters, such as Cookie Monster and Clifford the Big Red Dog, were familiar to the children in the crowd.
From time to time, show co-chairman Gary Cote’s voice announced booth attractions, Chamber awards and show reminders. “We’re all pleased with the show,” Cotesaid, taking a few minutes from his near-constant movement around the show floor. “We have exceeded last year’s turnout.” Before the event ended on Sunday afternoon, he said more than 1,000 people had come through the door. “It’s Sunday afternoon, and there are still a lot of people here.”
In a special effort to drive attendance on Friday evening, Cotesaid they tried something new. The first 100 people through the door were given lottery scratch tickets, with a chance to win $1 million. “We needed something for Friday night bring them in, and it worked,” he said. “It’s guaranteed there will be a 43rd annual next year.”
“The show is popular because it’s community,” said Cote. Although vendors at the NCCCC show might also exhibit at home shows in Hartford, Cote said they knew if they generated business from the NCCCC show, the customers would be local.