Dave and Devern Chmarney felt there was a real need to bring back a Home and Garden Show to Tillsonburg.
"I worked for the Aylmer Fair for eight years, and helped them start their first home show six years ago," said Devern, noting it had been 15-20 years since Aylmer had a home show.
"We have the experience – we know how to do it," she said. "And with the Kiwanis not holding the Home and Rec Show any more, we felt there was a real need for it in the community. We do a lot of home shows around the area – St. Thomas, Woodstock and Simcoe – and whenever people find out we're from Tillsonburg they say, 'oh, they had the greatest home show!' So that was kind of our incentive to get a home show going."
Devern and Dave, who own a local business, did their research and decided to introduce the first annual Tillsonburg Home and Garden Springfest.
"It's going to be at the Colin Campbell Community Arena on April 17, April 18 and April 19," said Devern.
A special floor will be installed over the arena floor.
"It insulates the ice and you can turn the refrigeration unit down," Dave explained.
Formerly held at the Special Event Centre, without access to that facility the 34-year-old Kiwanis Home and Rec tradition folded in 2012.
Many aspects of that popular spring show will be re-introduced at the 2015 Home and Garden Springfest.
"We've been working on this basically since last January (2014)," said Dave. "We put out the first invitations around the middle of April last year to a select group. Our original goal was to keep it more of a Home Show – builders, renovators, flooring. On the Garden side, landscapers, garden centres, property maintenance... And we are just now opening it up to home-base businesses.
"We did a lot of door-knocking.
"One of the things we're working on," he added, "is that we're trying to be local. But Tillsonburg handles such a large area. In most people's minds, the Tillsonburg home and rec show was second only to London. Which says a huge amount."
"When we put out our initial letters," said Devern, "we didn't know what the response was going to be. We did get a positive response, so we said, 'yes, I think we can do this.'"
Now, they're in the process of signing those businesses as exhibitors.
"Our goal for the future is to get both arenas," said Dave. "But we need the participation of local businesses to make that happen. That is a goal."
He estimated they had enough vendors to fill a good portion of the Colin Campbell Arena floor, about one-third the number of 'booths' space at the 2012 Home and Rec Show (165 vendors).
"We have 97 booths in the show."
Some vendors will occupy multiple 'booth' spaces.
Everyone is invited to attend on the weekend of the 17-19th of April – drop by the Home and Garden Springfest to talk to builders and contractors, heating and cooling, property maintenance, garden centres, insurance agents, roofing, home improvements, floor coverings and real estate brokers – and much more.