Exhibitor Information for the Home Improvement Fair

This page is designed specifically for companies that are signed up to participate at the Southwest Journal Home Improvement Fair on May 2nd, 2020 at Burroughs School in Minneapolis.

The main event page for attendees can be found at southwestjournal.com/homefair.

Download a PDF copy of this information: 2020 Logistics for Home Fair

Thank you for your participation in The Southwest Journal’s upcoming 14th Annual Home Improvement Fair to be held on Saturday, May 2nd, 2020 from 10 a.m.–3 p.m. at Burroughs Community School.

*PLEASE NOTE: This even was originally scheduled for March 21, 2020 but has been postponed due to concerns regarding coronavirus/COVID-19. As of March 12, we have made the decision to postpone this event until Saturday, May 2nd.*

This event provides you with an opportunity to promote your organization in a professional yet relaxed setting. This correspondence is designed to facilitate your needs as an exhibitor and to help ensure that your participation is a success.



Burroughs School is located at 1601 W. 50th Street, Minneapolis 55419.

Set-up starts promptly at 8:00 a.m. on the event date. Please have your booth completely set-up by 9:45 a.m. Teardown is from 3–4 p.m. Please do not disassemble your booth early, as this negatively impacts the event atmosphere. If you are unable to attend the entire Fair, please contact your Account Executive.

Southwest Journal staff will be on hand to assist in loading and unloading equipment. We will direct you to your booth, and be on hand to answer any questions you may have.

After unloading, please move your vehicle to a reasonable distance from the school, so that we can allow as much up-front parking as possible for those attending the fair.


The event will be held is held in 2020 on Saturday, May 2nd from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. This is the 15th annual Home Improvement Fair hosted by the Southwest Journal.

Your booth will consist of one 6-foot table and two chairs. Each 6-foot table will have a black tablecloth provided. If your table is in the center of the gym, there will be pipe and draping behind your booth. Your actual booth space will be 8 feet wide by 7 feet deep unless prior arrangements have been made. Upon arrival, you are welcome to remove the table and set-up your own items. Southwest Journal staff will be on hand to assist with the removal of the table and chairs as necessary.

Electricity is available to power small items (i.e. laptop, lighting, etc). There will only be one outlet provided per booth. You may not run power tools or other high voltage equipment.

Wireless internet has been available in the past, though can be intermittent due to the volume of use during the event. It is best to have all digital materials downloaded locally should you choose to display information with a laptop.

Southwest Journal will be providing breakfast items, coffee, and water in the morning, as well as pizza, salads, and beverages for lunch. These items are for exhibitors only.


We’re hard at work promoting the fair. You can help ensure a successful event by getting the word out to your networks and communities. Tell your customers about the event, hang posters in your place of business, and promote it on your social media channels and in your communities.

Facebook event link: www.facebook.com/events/181433409622097

Use these promotional materials to get the word out, and email [email protected] if you have questions.



  • Print ads in the Southwest Journal, Minnesota Parent, Minnesota Good Age, Minnesota Monthly, Midwest Home and Sun Publications.
  • Glossy promotional flyers delivered to 28,000 homes in Southwest Minneapolis
  • Online ads on southwestjournal.com, minnesotamonthly.com and midwesthome.com
  • Exposure on Southwest Journal weekly e-newsletter, Facebook, and Twitter pages
  • Targeted email blasts to nearby residents
  • Community calendar listings
  • Radio campaigns on KNOW 91.1 and 89.3 The Current
  • Posters in community locations, such as cafés and community centers.
  • Lawn signs at high-visibility intersections
  • Banners near the event location


Before the show:

  • Create a buzz. Spend time informing existing clients and your market of the upcoming show.
  • Train your team. Trade shows are unlike other sales environments. Limited time and attention of attendees requires quick qualifying, and lead generating tactics.
    • Make sure your staff is prepared and has a clear goal for each day
    • Stress the value of friendly greetings, professional etiquette, and appropriate body language
    • Ensure personnel are well-informed of your organization’s details
    • Determine your organization’s core selling proposition – what sets it apart from others
  • Design your display in advance. The key is to engage the audience with a visually appealing and interactive table so they stop at your booth and have a conversation.
    • Bring tactile items that show the products you use, if applicable.
    • Keep messaging short and simple
    • Make sure your table is neat
    • Represent your organization effectively: logo prominent, company colors used
    • Bring promotional giveaway items, e.g.
      • Calendars, pencils, pens, folders, key chains, calculators, or clothing
    • Showcase testimonials (stories of successful jobs and happy customers)
    • Organize materials in an easy packet to hand out, such as pamphlets or brochures that contain:
      • Description of your organization
      • Contact information of those staffing event — more personal
      • List of frequently asked questions

During the show, it’s important that you don’t simply wait for attendees to approach you and ask questions. They may not.

  • Stand at or in front of your booth and initiate conversations with attendees as they pass
    • Guests will pass by your booth if they don’t feel welcomed or if you are seated
  • Use professional etiquette, e.g. say “thank you” often
  • Reference your visual aids such as a display or power point presentation
  • Have plenty of business cards handy of each staff member
  • Get audience to walk away with something representing your company
    • A pamphlet, business card, promotional item, etc…
  • Have a mailing list so you can capture names and home/email addresses
  • Offer a Fair special, e.g. “sign up today and get 20% off”

After the show, have a game plan for how you will follow up with leads.

  • Make sure your sales staff has extra time and incentive to follow-up with all leads within weeks of the Fair. Set time lines for follow-up
  • Use a computerized database for tracking
  • Have patience: It may take 3–5 months before results from the Fair are seen


Cancellations after Feb. 24, 2020 will not be refunded. Cancellations or no-shows for tables that have not been pre-paid will be invoiced for the full sale price.


Looking for a great way to increase your publicity? We are accepting donations for door prizes to be given away during the fair. Examples of door prizes include discounts or specials on services, t-shirts, tickets to sports games or concerts, tools or toolboxes, or free consultations.

If interested in donating a prize, or if you have any questions about the event or information contained in this document, please contact Amy Rash at 612-436-5081 or [email protected].

Thank you, and we look forward to seeing you at the fair!


Can I set up the night before? 

Unfortunately, as the elementary school hosts student activities throughout Friday evening in the event space, exhibitors are unable to set up the evening before. Set-up starts at 8 a.m. on the day of the event, allowing 2 hours for setup. If you need to arrive earlier than 8 a.m., please contact the Event Coordinator Amy Rash at [email protected] or 612-436-5081.

Will there be electricity available?

Each exhibitor will be provided with one outlet for small electronics.

What size is my display area? 

Your actual booth space will be approximately 8 feet wide by 7 feet deep unless prior arrangements have been made. Your booth will consist of one 6-foot banquet table and two chairs. Each 6-foot table will have a black tablecloth provided. If your table is not along a wall or is in the center of the gym, there will be black pipe and draping behind your booth which is approximately 8 feet tall. You may remove your table and chairs if you have other items.

Do you provide food?

Southwest Journal will be providing small breakfast items, coffee, and water in the morning, as well as pizza, salads, and beverages for lunch. These lunch items are for exhibitors only. There will be coffee and treats available for attendees throughout the day as supplies last.

How many people attend the fair?

We typically see a turnout of between 300–500 attendees. You can help us drive traffic to the fair using the promotional materials above.

Can you tell me where my booth is located? 

As we’re still signing up exhibitors for the fair, the event map is subject to change. There will be Southwest Journal staff members on hand to lead you to your booth when you arrive.


Still have questions about the event? You can contact Event Coordinator Amy Rash at [email protected] or at 612-436-5081.

Thank you for your participation. We look forward to a successful event!