For Nichole Peterman, the pandemic put a damper on her recent move to Holmes County. She couldn’t remodel and decorate her newly bought house as she wanted.
Now, with the return of the Wooster Area Chamber of Commerce Home & Garden Show, she’s able to buy all of the flowers and make the right connections to transform her home.
People from as far afield as Cleveland planned their weekend around the home and garden show in the season’s first major event.
Hundreds of visitors enjoyed the mostly dry 50-degree weather Saturday, at the usually rained upon event, to celebrate its return after it was canceled last year due to COVID-19.
‘Nice to get out’
Everyone was happy to have an excuse to get outside, especially Peterman.
“It was nice to leave the house after this last year,” she said, holding nearly a dozen flowers, plants and herbs.
Her mom helped choose the garden variety she held, she said.
Like Peterman, Angela Smith of Orrville is glad things are starting to get back to normal.
“Of course, I’m so glad we’re all out here as a community wearing masks,” said Smith, who attended the event with a friend.
Smith has been a regular at the event for as far back as she can remember. Every year she drives to Wooster in search of home renovation inspiration.
“I’m looking to remodel my bathroom a bit, so we stopped by a bathroom exhibit,” she said. “I don’t want to do too much, just some odds and ends.”
With the onset of warmer weather, Smith is most excited to get her backyard set up for guests, so she hoped to find some booths with patio and stone landscaping vendors.
A chance to increase business
One such landscaper was Derick Kimmell of Kimmell’s Premier Landscaping.
He stood next to stone constructions and pictures of freshly mown lawns. Kimmell initially bought the props for the 2020 Wayne County Home & Garden Show. When that was canceled , he made sure to attend this year.
“It’s really exciting to get some sense of normalcy back and to see people out of the house,” he said.
Kimmell, the Ashland-based landscaping company owner, hoped the event would help the company expand into Wayne County.
“We’ve met a lot of great people and have been getting quite a few contacts,” he said.
Jennifer Hartzler of the Wooster-based Smokin’ Dave’s Meats stood a few stands down from Kimmell, and like him, she hoped to make the most of Smokin’ Dave’s first home and garden show.
The meat shop on Armstrong Road opened in October, mid-pandemic, Hartzler said. While business has been good, they want to expand.
“We’re hoping to capitalize on the Menard’s and Meijer’s employees that will be coming to Wooster,” she said. “Here, we’re hoping to make a lot of contacts and meaningful relationships.”
In her opinion, the day went well and could only get better, she said, stopping to give customers samples of their smoked meats.
In any normal year, advertisements for the show would go out in the fall, giving vendors enough time to organize the manpower, money and time to attend.
This year, business only owners were given two months to prepare.
The cause for this delay: uncertainty about the pandemic and people’s safety.
“We had no idea how many exhibitors would show up,” said Fred Troyer, chairman of the home and garden show committee. “Some didn’t sign up because of workforce issues.”
Because of fewer vendors, the event was smaller than in previous years, so it’s easier to navigate, he said.
“We’re happy that as many people turned out as they did,” Troyer said.
For Samira Zimmerly, president of the Wooster Area Chamber of Commerce, the Home and Garden Show really kicks off the event season.
“The community is just ready to come out,” Zimmerly said. “We were thrilled to give people something to do.”
This year also marks nearly 15 years of the Apple Creek Banking Company’s support for the event.
The Wayne County Home & Garden Show will continue Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Wayne County fairgrounds.