Volume 45 Number 4
Website of the Month: Springing into Fair Trade -- Take Your Business Local for Easier Prospects
What better time to escape April showers than to head indoors and enjoy one of America’s growing pastimes—home shows and county fairs. Before running off to practice that “patented” ring toss, reverse spin on the softball-in-the-peach-basket trick or try to figure out why you had a second colossal, open pit barbecue sandwich, I’m talking about something closer to home—namely new water treatment customers.
But, you ask, where can I find more information about these events? At the risk of listing all 50 states’ websites here in a typical 3,539-result Yahoo! search (see FYI for a more regional flavor), I’ve selected three that encompass 1) the world, 2) the United States, and 3) the Northeast.
So, instead of selecting industry categories on the home page, I search by region, particularly for U.S. county fairs and home shows. To my delight, all 50 states pop up on the screen. California leads the way with 38 listings while several states have only one each. Let’s go straight to California. All 38 county fairs and shows have links to their websites in alphabetical order from the sublime (Calaveras County Fair & Jumping Frog Jubilee) to the ominous (Modoc—The Last Frontier Fair). The key here is to search by region, and not necessarily by industry.
Visitors looking for definitive information should be forewarned—if you’re looking for water-specific exhibitors and products, it may be a tough find. First off, many of these fairs are months away and haven’t finalized their exhibitor lists yet. Secondly, county or state fairs aren’t geared around filters and softeners and instead carry a “family” message rather than an industry-driven theme. This works to the advantage of water treatment dealers in that they can stress the importance of water quality for the whole family.
Cost is also an important factor. Booths at the state fair, for example, are a lot less expensive than, let’s say, a display booth at Aquatech with a couple of nights at an Amsterdam bed-and-breakfast. It also builds on your local customer base. Word-of-mouth is more apt to prosper in this type of setting. Who knows, considering the water quality issues of fairs in the past (think E. coli and salmonella), you may even want to think about contacting your local fair’s organizers to maintain their H2O supply.
A list of about seven shows, in chronological order, is shown as well as a link for each show. Each link gives the necessities—what, when and where with some pricing and, in some cases, what the TV ad looks like to the locals. Of course, at these shows, a reference will be made to the familiar suspects (Home & Garden TV hosts and the Duct Tape guys… no Homeland Security joke here) who serve as special guests.
Each listing also contains a “press release” link that gives visitors a run-down of what to expect at the show. It reads something like this: “The impressive list of exhibits will include building materials, contractors, decorators, doors & windows, pools & spas, heating & cooling systems, kitchens, baths, cookware, security systems, banks & mortgage companies plus so much more!” What else is there to know? Water treatment can be best described as “home improvement.”
Taking in the sites
FYI: Af-fairs of the states
A few other sites that may be of interest to those in specific areas of the United States include: