Atlanta Home Show survival tips

If you're an Atlanta homeowner, chances are you've got a nearly infinite list of home projects. Well,...

If you're an Atlanta homeowner, chances are you've got a nearly infinite list of home projects. Well, the Atlanta Home Show will be taking place September 21 to 23, 2012 at the Cobb Galleria, and it's exactly what you need to take your next step!

The Home Show is a three-day event that's packed with workshops, prizes and vendors marketing every kind of home-and-garden-related service or product you can imagine--and probably some you didn't even know existed! It's fun and productive, but it can leave you exhausted.

Here are a few tips and tidbits to help you make the most of your Home Show experience.

1. Wear comfortable shoes: This is the most important advice you can get, and it cannot be stressed enough. After a day of walking around on concrete floors (don't let that thin carpet fool you!), the only thing you'll really feel like doing at the end of the Home Show is sitting down for a long, long time. A comfortable pair of shoes is the difference in whether you come back for all three days and pore over every exhibit or don't even make it all the way through the exhibits during your first day.

2. Tickets: The Home Show is well attended but doesn't usually sell out, so you can buy your tickets in advance or wait and get them at the door. Be sure to check for discounts and coupons online or in your local newspaper or magazine.

3. Parking: There is plenty of free, easily accessible parking at the Cobb Galleria. Valet parking is also available and can be nice if you have a limited-mobility person in your group.

4. Food: The showroom food is limited, generic and not-surprisingly overpriced, so consider bringing a bottle of water and a light snack. There is a modest food court downstairs at the Galleria that offers more seating and a nice lunch environment. Your ticket does allow for re-entry throughout the day, but the food court's hours are somewhat limited, so make sure you don't miss your window!

5. Other essentials: You may want to bring personal comfort items such as hand sanitizer or the bottled water and snacks already suggested, but don't worry about bringing things like handbags for postcards and samples because there are complementary bags at the show.

6. How free should you be with your personal information? All vendors you interact with will ask you to leave your contact information and/or join their mailing list before your conversation ends. That's one of the main reasons they're at the show! It's not just a day of high-pressure hard-sell attempts, though, and most are very nice if you tell them you'd rather not give out your information at this time. It doesn't appear as though any of them abuse any of the information you give them by selling it or even bombarding you themselves with phone calls, junk mail and emails afterwards. They will probably ask you to take their card or brochure in case you change your mind, but you know what? By the end of the day, you actually might change your mind, so there are worse things!

There are a couple of real advantages to giving out your contact information in select cases, as well:

  • Quite often, exhibits will have raffles and giveaways. Pretty much across the board, you have to provide contact information to participate. But usually you can get away with an email address. And these days, it's very easy to unsubscribe to email lists when you don't want to receive them, so you may as well take the chance and possibly win something fun!
  • Most exhibitors who offer services and products directly to homeowners offer Home Show attendee incentives. But you have to give them your contact information at the show so they can have a record that you were there. Typically, they will follow up with a phone call or email in the week or two after the show, and if you're no longer interested, they thank you for your time and move on, bothering you no further.

7. Plan your day: It's easy to lose track of time as you wander up and down the aisles of exhibits, getting more and more great ideas for your next projects. To make the most of this barrage of information and opportunity, spend some time planning your day before you get started. Be sure to schedule several breaks. Start by looking at the seminar schedule. See which ones you're interested in and plan to attend them. Decide before you go into the Show what time you want to have lunch, and don't forget about bathroom breaks! It sounds simple, but you'll be glad in the long run if you think about these things before you start your day.

8. Check out the speakers: Seminars are given by everyone from local industry professionals to TV celebrities and are fun, informative and--if nothing else--a great chance to sit and rest from time to time without losing momentum! Often there are giveaways within the seminars, and there is usually Q&A time set aside at the end. If there's not, the speakers almost always stick around to answer questions one-on-one beside the stage.

9. Talking with exhibitors: If you have a remodeling project on your horizon, the Home Show is your best chance to interview and compare a lot of people offering the service you need, speed-date style. You won't walk away with an estimate in hand, but there's really no other time or place where you get a chance to compare so many contractors side by side, first-hand. Be sure you leave your contact information with any exhibitors you particularly like.

There's a lot to see and do at the Atlanta Home Show. If you have remodeling projects in mind, this is a weekend you don't want to miss, and these easy tips will help!

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