We are suspending the Historic Home Show scheduled for February 2018 in Valley Forge, Penn. The decision comes after consultation with exhibitors and sponsors, the local preservation community and previous attendees, editors and our show personnel.
Many of you already have offered good ideas for a replacement event or a new initiative. I’m confident that whatever replaces the Historic Home Show will be bigger and better—targeted for and planned to serve today’s market.
Reasons for the suspension? First and foremost is attrition in the ranks of the region’s craftspeople. You’ll remember this event started as the Designer Craftsmen Show decades ago. At its peak, 80 craftspeople had space on the exhibit floor. This year, there were just 8. Some have retired, others are now selling online only, or through nonprofit crafts fairs. Since 85% of show revenue comes from exhibitors, the attrition hit hard.
Second, the switch to a broader historic-home show was not entirely successful. The market continued to think of this as a “Greater Philadelphia” event, and exhibitors interested in a wider market have not bought in. Many of those potential exhibitors also are exploring marketing plans that do not include in-person outreach through shows.
Attendance, on the other hand, has held steady, having bounced back and more since the recent recession. We remain sure that there is a need for events that bring together dedicated homeowners, professionals, manufacturers, and artisans. It is our mission as a media and trade-show company to help build and inspire this community. Whether it is through a mobile show, online education, how-to workshops, or an expanded Old House University, we will continue to serve you.
In the coming months, expect to hear from us: We will be seeking your opinion. Which of our ideas serves you best? What specific details—timing, venue, media—do you want to see? Among the initiatives being vetted:
• Market-by-market regional events, business to business and also connecting buyers and sellers. These might be intimate mixers held in historic venues.
• An online, virtual Historic Home Show offering supplier contacts, photographs, and regular email prompts to our entire audience, which approaches 4,000,000 users.
• Online education featuring background and how-to information, plus product coverage, to the consumer market (homeowners and homebuyers). This would be in addition to our existing Traditional Building Conference Series online initiative, which serves the trade.
The reality of today’s market is that our buyers have busy lives. They select fast, affordable. convenient methods to plan their projects, do the research, and make buying decisions. The internet gives them endless choice and the occasional rabbit hole: It’s our job to curate information and guide them with trustworthy, inspirational, accurate education.
With your help, we will continue to do this. Thank you for all of your support, upcoming as well as in our shared past.