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Sarnia Modern Women Show goes for quality over quantity

Published on

Cathy Dobson

Leanne Fera and Julie Jenkins are out to prove that the single most important goal for a trade show exhibitor is not to sell product but to build relationships.

“For me, that’s what business is about,” says Jenkins, owner of Exit Realty in Sarnia and co-organizer of the Sarnia Modern Women’s Show.

Jenkins says she and Fera have developed a formula for the annual trade show that makes it unique for the 70 businesses that pay for space, as well as the 1,000-plus people who attend the show.

“If you make a connection with someone, your business is top-of-mind when they’re looking for a service or asked for a referral.

“Your business will grow if you focus on making personal connections,” said Jenkins.

To that end, exhibitors at the Sarnia Modern Women’s Show are encouraged to leave a lasting impression by making their display booths an attraction.

“You’ve got a three-to-five second window to bring someone into your space as they pass by,” explains Fera.

“It’s not good enough to throw a table up and hand out brochures.  You’ve got to do demonstrations or hand out samples.

“Otherwise you’ve lost them and you’ve lost an opportunity.”

The third annual Sarnia Modern Women’s Show is on Saturday, Sept. 30 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Exhibitors and attendees tend to be women but some men do participate.  Most exhibitors are small business owners from the local area but some larger companies are represented, such as Costco and the Lambton Mall.

Attendees can see and experience everything from yoga and makeup demos to a new fashion show at 2 p.m.

The fashion show is hosted by the Lambton Mall and features clothing from all its retailers.

Exhibit space was limited to 70 this year and sold out weeks ago.

“We’ve gone for quality over quantity,” said Jenkins.  So many exhibitors wanted space they had to apply and were chosen based on what they could bring to the trade show.

An 11 a.m. keynote presentation is by Dan Edwards, a local man paralyzed from the neck down by a spinal cord injury at the age of 18.

The Sarnia Modern Women’s Show does not charge an entry fee but collects donations for a local charity. This year, the money will be given to Edwards’ Do It For Sarnia campaign, which raises money for mental health programs at Bluewater Health.

“We know there are a lot of mental health issues in Sarnia and wanted to help with that,” said Jenkins. “So we decided to invite Dan to be our speaker and keep it local this year.”

IF YOU GO:

WHAT:  3rd annual Sarnia Modern Women’s Show

WHEN:  Saturday, Sept. 30; 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

WHERE: Hiawatha Entertainment Centre at 1730 London Rd.

TICKETS: Free. Donations accepted at the door for Do It For Sarnia in support of mental health programs at Bluewater Health.

Got a good business story idea?  Contact Cathy at [email protected] or call 226-932-0985.

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