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Off to the Show – Red Dear

I thought it would be fun to share what we do before, during and after “a Show”. A Show generally means a trade show (one of our larger events each year).

Like most of the world, the interruptions of the past few years has distorted nearly every part of our life, including how businesses are run. I thought it would be fun to share what we do before, during and after “a Show”. A Show generally means a trade show (one of our larger events each year). We choose which shows to attend, plan and order inventory, draw a layout and off we go!

It is without fail each time, exciting, fun and nerve wracking all at the same time but still something we look forward to doing every year.  As there were no trade shows to attend the last couple years we were even more thrilled to go this year…so we thought we would make something special of it to show how much we love it. We have so may new styles of crewnecks and pullover hoodies in such unique colours this year. This past April 2022 we went to Red Deer Alberta for the Horse Expo 2022 and it was simply terrific!  Let me tell you about it…

First things first, we chose this show well in advance so that we are prepared as the time flies and there are oodles of things to do!! This not only builds the excitement for us and our attendees, but it gives us our needed preparation time to sort out all the little details. We also must choose a spot to set up that suits our booth style best…the early bird gets the worm (wink).

We have been home over a month and I am already excited for the next show just writing this!!

The preparations that go into a show can be as little or big as one wants. We basically use the same template for each show adding new things we have learned each time making it better for our customers and for us. Our Solo-Ride, hoodies, shirts all have their place.

Now that we have chosen the show and chosen our booth, it is time to decide our set up. We like to use a big, long piece of banner paper and draw out our plan. We do a mock set up right in our shop warehouse just to be sure it all fits together, makes sense, and looks nice for our customers.

Once it is all set up and good to go…..time to pack it all up!

Box by box it all gets tucked in. The boxes are all numbered to make it easier when we unload the truck. The number represents the section of the booth it will be in…might seem kind of extra… but it works perfectly as it is usually just Anita and I setting it all up…things are easier if everything is all where it is supposed to be when it gets unpacked…easy peasy!

The few days before a show it’s a bit hard to sleep, Anita and I both come to the shop each day with a new idea or something we want to be sure we packed…. just like going camping or a horse show!!

Aaaahhh the morning of departure, when that day comes it is hard to believe it is finally here…we jumped for joy that morning!

With beverages of choice in hand (coffee, tea, carrot juice…) and of course a multitude of snacks, we are on our way!!

We pull out of the driveway and the most difficult part begins, the long drive. This particular show is in Red Deer Alberta so our drive is approximately 11 hours. We pretty much stop for food and fuel, other than that it is full steam ahead, so let’s skip way ahead and just get there…

Yay, we are here. We drive straight to the hotel and park the rig as set up day begins early tomorrow morning.

Eat. Bedtime. 😊

It never fails, I am so excited to set up our well-planned booth that I can hardly sleep the first night, I toss and turn and then finally out like a light. I do set an alarm but know I will not need it as that is one of those mornings… I will wake up easily well before the time!

Off we go… once again I want to speed to the showgrounds… I love being there early. We have learned that if we don’t get in early, we will have a hard time getting out trailer close to our booth to unload, nothing is worse than having to carry everything a long distance(that only happens once)!!

We back in and begin our unload, this usually takes about an hour to get everything out of the trailer. This year my husband Allan, was our driver, it was our first time having an extra person… he was an amazing help (plus an awesome trailer backer-upper, 😉).

Anita and I had rehearsed our booth set up at home, so we got right to work. With Allan’s extra hands moving things and giving us moral support (and snacks), we were rolling right along.

As you can see in the video below, there is a lot of finicky things to do but it all comes together. Hoodies, Jackets, Shirts all get put into thier proper place ready to go. Once the booth is physically completed, a brand-new excitement begins the very next day.

This is when the 3-day routine begins, Show, Eat and Sleep. Believe it or not, it is much like a holiday. The Show is so much fun meeting new people, eating when hungry and then sleeping like a log, exhausted from a wonderful day!

*Aside …When I was younger, I always wanted to have my own corner store and I also loved the sound of the beep when a cashier passes an item over the scanner at the grocery store…I wondered if I could maybe do something like that when I was grown up.

Selling our very own branded apparel at a trade show checks off some of the little boxes in my heart from when I was younger, and seeing our HBR Branded clothing being worn renders me speechless.  💛

As the 3 days pass the excitement changes to “aw darn its almost over”. Day 3 is usually a Sunday, as the day draws to a close, people rush in to get their last purchases, and we know it is almost time to begin packing up. Over the years, 5pm (or whenever closing is announced) signifies almost a craze. It is TRULY AMAZING what happens after all the people leave…the Exhibitors (almost all of us😉) seem to go from a little pooped-out from 3 long days to an overdrive state of craziness with renewed energy to get cleaned up and get the heck home!

It is an amazing phenomenon and can be even more exhausting than the show itself!! We decided to simply try packing up at a normal pace and be done when we were done. It turned out we finished the same time as we usually do…without all the craziness. 😊

I have to say though, having an extra helper makes a world of difference cleaning up our 15×50 booth!!

Now that everything has been stuffed back into the trailer, we look back to be sure nothing is left behind. We want to be sure we have no mess left for the people that work behind the scenes at the venue. Many of the people at Westerner Park in Red Deer have been there for years, putting up and taking down everything needed for the show. They quietly take care of so many things. They are accommodating, kind and helpful at a moments notice. (just had to mention them as no show could happen without them 😊)

The other people that we are so grateful for is our customers, aaahhh our customers. We have met so many people from far and wide from all different backgrounds most of all who come together for the love of horses. Without our customers we would not be able to do what we do. Thank you for visiting us at our Hairy Back Ranch® Tradeshow Booth, our Website, and our HBR Trailer.

We are truly honored to have you visit us.

Off we drive with trailer in tow,

time to get home,

to plan the next Show!! Sincerely, Randell + Anita 💛

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