Twelve years ago, on a late Friday afternoon, I got off a long-awaited, return-flight home to Des Moines after a 3-week Archadeck orientation training course with our franchisor in Richmond, VA. Two hours later, I was exhibiting Archadeck of Central Iowa’s deck and porch business at my first Des Moines Home + Garden Show. Talk about hitting the ground running!
Twelve years ago, all the exhibitors (and attendees) were crammed into Veterans Memorial Auditorium – both floors. The buzz and energy in the building was exciting – as was my experience as a first-time exhibitor.
Twelve years later, we are about to embark on our 12th consecutive Des Moines Home + Garden Show. The show starts at noon on Thursday, February 12th, and continues thru Sunday, February 15th at 6pm. Check the show web site for details; you’ll find us nearly where we started 12 years ago…on the lower-level of whats now a building with a name so long it would break the internet if I spelled it out here…but essentially, Vets Auditorium – or “The Barn” – as us old-time Des Moinians still call it.
A lot has changed in 12 years. Or has it? We’re still Archadeck and we’re still in the basement of Vets…and we’re just as excited. Why the excitement after all these years? We’re excited for all that has changed – and continues to change. Here’s the Top 12 exciting changes over our 12 year run at the Des Moines Home + Garden Show:
- Hy-Vee Hall…Iowa Events Center. The old Vets – newly repurposed and renamed a few years back – is now integrated with the new Hy-Vee Hall and Wells Fargo Arena facilities and grouped into the Iowa Events Center. None of these latter facilities existed 12 years ago. The addition of the Iowa Events Center complex is representative of the excitement and growth associated with Des Moines over the past decade. That buzz expands to the Des Moines Home + Garden Show every year and the growth and excitement of the show parallels Des Moines as a whole. The show now fills every nook and cranny of Hy-Vee Hall and the exhibition space at Vets. We’ve been in nearly all those nooks and crannies over our 12 years exhibiting there.
- Outdoor Living. I said on Sherry Failor’s Welcome Home Des Moines radio show last week that no one really invented “outdoor living.” But, Archadeck was in the “outdoor living” business over 30 years ago. We were always more than decks and porches and we knew that. But, Archadeck’s name – while a well identified and reputable brand – didn’t articulate that very well. What to do? About 6 years ago…Archadeck | Outdoor Living. Moving life outdoors. In stunning style.
- Pressure = Excitement. 4 days before the show and we don’t know what we’re going to put together for our exhibit. How exciting is that? Pressure-filled excitement is what that is. But, always exciting to see it come together.
- Lower-Maintenance, Wood-Alternative Products. 12 years ago – and for the first few years – our exhibits were composed of primarily cedar (wood)…cedar deck, cedar pergola, cedar walls. This weekend (as we have for several years), we’ve incorporated 3 –generations of wood-alternative decking into our exhibit as well as stone walls. No wood. Lower maintenance. No splinters.
Year-Round Exhibit. The Home + Garden Show demonstrates how beneficial an Archadeck exhibit is to both us and our clients. So, in 2009 we developed and opened a year-round home show, in effect. Our Urbandale office space has evolved with our products and services, and is now an interactive, collaborative, design studio for our clients.
- Product Evolutions. Wood-alternative decking and railing products change every year – new technologies, new aesthetics, improved performance. There are only about 3 boards we’re showing (and using) in our exhibit (in Central Iowa backyards) that existed more than 5 years ago.
- Technology, the Internet and Social Media. Twelve years ago I couldn’t write a blog about the Home + Garden Show. Today, I can not only do that, but I can also post photos and reports from the show on Facebook, live-tweet from the show and access our complete photo gallery on my iPad…but since that’s so small, we’ll just stream it on the 52” high-definition monitor we’ve got in our exhibit instead.
- Fleetwood Mac. They are opening the show this year! Next door…Wells Fargo Arena…the night before. World Turning.
Outdoor Furniture. To truly live outdoors, you need spaces, rooms and accessories for your outdoor life. We’ve designed, incorporated and provided accessories like lighting, outdoor kitchens, bars, fireplaces, fire pits and more in our outdoor living projects for many years. Later this spring, we’re rounding that out with a new, attractive, offering of Caswel outdoor furniture, with exclusive offerings through Archadeck | Outdoor Living and our other Outdoor Living Brands, Inc. family of outdoor-oriented businesses. Look for more news on this later this spring or talk to us about it at the show.
- Free Admission Tickets. Free. How exciting is that? Well, not as exciting as winning the nearly $500 million Powerball prize…but your odds are better. Just be one of the first 4 people to message or post to us on our Facebook page to receive 2 complimentary admission tickets to the Des Moines Home + Garden Show. After confirmation, we’ll leave them at Will Call for you. The only requirement is that you stop by our exhibit and say “Hi!”
- Valentines Day. Yeah, once in a while…3 or 4 times now, I think, the show lands on Valentine’s Day. Hershey’s Chocolate Kisses at our exhibit! And that’s not yet a name for a Trex, TimberTech or Azek deck board…but I bet its been considered. It would go well with Spiced Rum and Havana Gold (actual Trex Transcends deck color names).
- Home + Outdoor Living. Stay tuned for news on this one. Marketplace Events, the promoter of the Des Moines Home + Garden Show has just announced plans for a new (second) show in March of 2016. To be called…The Des Moines Home + Outdoor Living Show. See bullets 1 and 2, above. With (one of the only companies / exhibitors) “Outdoor Living” in its name, I think I know where we’re going to be next March. But, is 13 a lucky or unlucky number for us in regards to the Des Moines Home + Garden Show? Stay tuned for more excitement.
I hope to see you at the 2015 Des Moines Home + Garden Show.
Go Outside and Play!