Published: May 20, 2003
CHICAGO, ILL. – Stella Show Mgmt. Co. and the Chicago Botanic Garden have joined forces for the past four years to create the Chicago Botanic Garden Antiques and Garden Fair. The most recent show was held April 11-13 and more than 15,000 customers came to shop.
“And did they shop!” said Leanne Stella, president of Stella Show Mgmt. Co. “We had four supervisors and six porters working nonstop at the customer pickup area all weekend servicing customers who purchased garden antiques, plants and unique decorative garden elements. The shopping frenzy began each day just 20 minutes after opening, which goes to show customers were there to shop, not just browse, a complete turnaround from the industry-wide show reports over the last few months.”
“The show was fabulous. Everything was perfect. This is the most incredible facility. I never saw so many people in my life and so many of them were willing to part with their money,” said Eleanor Billet who traveled from New York to exhibit in this show.
Elaine Steinberg exclaimed, “We sold a show and a half. Stella hasn’t lost it. We haven’t done a Stella Show in nine years because we moved to Florida. The gate was phenomenal and the people had money to burn.” Parrett/Lich Inc from Indiana, who travels across the country for many different shows, said, “No better show in the country!”
Janet and Tobin Townsend of Callicoon Center, N.Y. said, “We had an excellent show, with a good number of sales every single day. The gate was astounding, especially on Friday when such crowds were not expected. As usual, Stella Mgmt. did a terrific job with yet another substantial snowstorm right before setup. Every year the show improves in small ways; this year’s ‘You are Here’ floor plans made it easier for customers to navigate the grounds. It’s great to end our winter season in such an elegant venue and with such a turnout of serious buyers.”
Tim Brennan of Brennan and Mouillessaeux of Rochester, N.Y. said, “We were impressed all over again with the strength of the show, both in terms of the material on view, and the knowledge and enthusiasm of the buyers who attended it. It seems that even in uncertain economic times, the Stella organization can present, organize and most important, publicize a show that transcends its niche category. We couldn’t count the number of Chicagoans who told us that this is the one show in the area that they will not miss, year in, year out. And, the proof is in the deposit slips — we had our best Chicago Botanic Garden show ever.”
R.E. Steele of the Hamptons, N.Y., sold a giant pair of gates originally from the North Shore of Long Island and they now have a new home in Highland Park, Ill. They weighed 3,000 pounds. Russ Steele said he sold so well he was “emptied out.” Elliott and Elliott from Chicago commented, “We were particularly pleased with the number of interested and knowledgeable customers.”
Forge Furnishing, also of Chicago and a participant of many national garden shows, said “Finally, a great show!” Sands Orchids added, “The show works on many levels — gate, sales, organization and wonderful location!”
The company handling shipping and deliveries for the show noticed the trend this year is furniture for indoor garden rooms. Wicker was a popular rdf_Description. Ismael Colon of NJ Shippers said, “To keep up with the demand two trucks made deliveries each day and we left the show on Sunday night with two more packed-to-the-brim trucks. This was the busiest show of the year. We handled more deliveries at this show than we did at any show since January in New York, which is considered the peak selling season for antiques.”
“The great thing about this event is that it is a show for everyone,” said Leanne Stella. “It appeals to so many people on so many levels. There are rdf_Descriptions for the seasoned collector as well as the young gardener and everyone seems to enjoy the show with an equal passion.”
Next year’s event is scheduled for April 16-18 and most of the 115 exhibitors that participated this year are returning. For additional information, Stella Show Mgmt. Co. 212-255-0020 or www.stella shows.com.
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