Good timing is being credited for the success of this year’s Kootenay Home and Lifestyle Expo.
Pam McLeod, executive director for the Castlegar & District Chamber of Commerce, said 1,100 people came through the expo’s doors on Saturday alone.
“I’d say we were around 2,500,” McLeod said of the entire weekend.
“Last year our numbers were much lower, but I would still like to get back up to the 3,000-mark.”
The Expo was moved to a later date last year in order to have some exhibitors set up outdoors if they so chose.
“Last year we tried to move the show into April to see if there were benefits there for not only the chamber but people involved, and it didn’t seem to click,” McLeod said.
She cited many reasons for low attendance last year: a free ski day at both Red Mountain and Whitewater Ski Resorts, five weddings in the region, the AM Ford fight night, a local hockey tournament and the struggling economy.
“The vendors said it wasn’t just our show that suffered last year, it was all the shows, so that really tells me it was the economy,” McLeod said.
With over 70 vendors, the Selkirk College gym was packed.
Robert LaRush of Kootenay Outdoor Lifestyles said he noticed a visible difference this year compared to last year.
“We’ve had more traffic this year,” he said. “I think the chamber has done a great job.”
Based out of Calgary with a showroom in Cranbrook, LaRush said the Kootenays have been a hard market to crack, but he was hoping the exposure at the expo would help.
“Living in the mountains gives you that sense that you’d want to spend more time outside,” he said of his business, which sells Perfect Turf, patio furniture, outdoor appliances, patio rock and other items to renovators and landscapers. “Anything you do in your yard … will add value to your home.”
Deborah Wandler brought her business, Bizzarios and Glitters, to the expo for the first time.
Based in Fruitvale, Wandler sells her bizzarios, which are 3-D art pieces, in her gallery.
About five months ago, she started to make glitters, which are window jewellery and can be hung on the deck or in any room.
“I thought they’d be kind of nice to hang in a window,” she said, adding she first got the idea because she’s a wind chime collector.
On Sunday afternoon, she said her first expo experience was going well.
“When the gym is as full as it can get it creates a positive buzz,” McLeod said. “When we have successful shows like this one, the ripple effect will show through.”
McLeod said the event was as successful as it was thanks to the volunteers and sponsors.