From hot tubs to tires
Yk businesses new and old praise show for its benefits

Mike W. Bryant
Northern News Services

Yellowknife ( May 12/00) - The 18th annual Spring Trade Show is promising to be a boon for both newcomers and veterans alike.

There will be over 100 city businesses in 105 booths to greet shoppers for this year's trade show. For some of the businesses involved, this will be their first time attending the show, while for others the annual fair has become a regular and much anticipated event.

For Jo-Ann Cooper, owner of Borealis Kennels, the Yk Trade Show has become an important event not only for meeting new customers, but also as a reminder to her regular customers as well.

"As we notice every year some people don't even know that we exist," said Cooper.

"This is our eighth year in business and we still get people that go, 'Oh, I didn't know you existed.' So we find that being part of the trade show enhances our exposure."

Borealis Kennels is a local business that specializes in pet grooming, food and supplies with two locations -- one downtown and the other on Nahanni Drive. Having participated in the last six spring shows, Cooper draws on the importance of offering the public something different every year.

"Every year we do different things," said Cooper.

"This year we're going to do more people gift items (T-shirts, mugs, lapel pins) and discount bins, which we haven't done before."

"We're also a contact for people looking for pruebred dogs. I have champion show dogs and that gives me a good handle on the whole dog scene."

Karen Pickering, owner of Joie de Vie, a local health spa, is taking part in the Spring Trade Show for the second time. With her business expanding, the trade show has been essential in enticing the public to give her aromatic therapy and massage services a try.

"Last year we talked to about a 1,000 people," said Pickering.

"We promoted a hair growth product and had an immediate response to it. Because we were fairly new, the trade show allowed us to make contacts faster and for a new business, that face-to-face contact is what people want."

Bill Aho, owner of Central Mechanical Systems -- a company specializing in hot tubs, fireplaces and stoves -- was so ecstatic with the results from last year that he signed up for more booths in this year's trade show the very next day.

"We had three booths last year and as soon as it closed up on Sunday, we phoned up on Monday and asked for six booths for this year," Aho said.

Linco Schoenne, owner of Linco's Pottery Nook, is taking part in the show for the first time. A particular speciality of her business is pottery painting, where customers take home already finished pieces of pottery and paint them and bring them back for her to fire in her kiln later. She is hoping that the trade show will help her novel idea catch on in Yellowknife.

"I get a lot of repeat business, but I'd like to see more people who know what I got out here," Schoenne said.

Another rookie to the trade show is Rod Lowen, owner and manager of the automotive repair and tire store Fountain Tire. Like Schoenne, he also has a pragmatic view of what this year's show can do for his business.

"It can't do any harm at all getting out there and getting our name out in the town," Lowen said.