Every year the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly is visited by hundreds of thousands of people from the Mid-Atlantic region for various trade shows.
Thousands show up for home and gardening shows, gun shows, career fairs, craft fairs, camping expos and flea markets almost every weekend.
From Jan. 18-20, tens of thousands of homeowners and potential homeowners will descend upon Dulles to get information about everything relating to their homes.
Representatives from a variety of companies will be available to discuss home appliances, mortgages, home décor, construction and renovation, heating and air conditioning and roofing plus much more.
Additionally, several high profile TV personalities will be attending.
Charlie and Diane Gallick are a small business based out of Sterling that will be attending the show as vendors with their remodeling and renovation company, The Gallick Corp.
The Gallicks have attended shows for five years and usually attend two shows a year, both at the Dulles Expo Center.
It is a yearlong process to prepare for each show. The Gallicks are the only two from their business to work each show.
Husband and wife form great team
Charlie Gallick has been working as a general contractor remodeling homes in Loudoun County for the last 30 years and started the company in 1989 in Sterling.
While originally located in Sterling, the Gallicks recently cut overhead costs due to the economy and sold their property last year, moving their offices into the basement of their home in Herndon.
The couple acknowledged they had to cut back on staff due to the rough economic times, but there are some advantages to working in just a two person team.
“There are advantages of having another office staffer, but then that means the customer has to pay more to cover the overhead costs,” Diane Gallick said. “It seems to work out this way that we are able to keep it tight and everybody is happy.”
Diane Gallick met her husband in 1984. She started out just running computers and keeping the books for Charlie Gallick on evenings and weekends. Gradually, she worked her way into a full-time position in the office.
The Gallick Corp. will take customers through the whole process, from design, conceptual drawings and ultimately building. They build a variety of kitchens, bathrooms, or any other type of home renovations.
Many of their materials are purchased locally as they work frequently with companies like Tart Lumber. Any discount they receive in materials is reflected in the final price for their customers.
On average the company finishes about 22 projects a year ranging from a small bathroom at $15,000 to a complete home renovation at $400,000.
The company typically has three or four projects going on at a time and they are all in different stages. For instance, one project may be in the carpentry stage, one in the plumbing stage, one in the electrical stage and another could be in the roofing or siding stage.
While the company is preparing for the show all year, the week leading up to the event is busy with final details and set up.
“You definitely have to have a plan and we have a unique marketing strategy where we have total transparency in pricing,” Charlie Gallick said. “The home shows give us an opportunity to show the community our uniqueness in our open book pricing and I don’t know anyone else that is doing that.
“We actually show our overhead costs, our profit on the job, a line item and scope of work where they can see all their numbers like labor and materials in real time as we put them into the computer,” Charlie Gallick said.
Typically for a show the Gallicks bring brochures, blueprints and display photos of their work.
It is a hectic time leading up to the opening of the show as final preparations are finished.
“Well we have to get the rental truck rented and then load it up with the materials we need for the weekend. Set up and assembly takes about two days and then we clean the area and set up our displays,” Charlie Gallick said. “It’s pretty stressful and it’s very long days and the show itself is three days long.”
Diane Gallick takes care of bringing new photos of recent projects, brag books of projects and materials are available to make appointments with potential clients.
Charlie Gallick designed a custom booth for the shows that resembles a dining room with painted drywall and wood trim. He found it was an idea that kept things fresh in the eyes of customers and he wanted something custom made that showed the company’s style and individuality instead of the standard pop-up booths. During their shows they frequently receive comments about the booth.
Another aspect of the show that is important is the relationships vendors build with each other over the years.
“I have known some of these guys 20 plus years. We sit on boards together and meet monthly at the National Association of Remodelers and National Association of Homebuilders meetings. These vendors at these shows are cream of the crop,” Charlie Gallick said. “Usually we have some cross marketing for the show with Tart Lumber and Eurostone and if I am discussing something I can take clients to see the type of materials we use.”
Charlie Gallick estimates approximately 30,000 or more potential customers come to each show. Each show has roughly 160 vendors.
“I think we do a little bit better because of how we prepare and the materials we give to the homeowners that come through,” Charlie Gallick said. “All those people who attend are there to buy something. It might not be this year, might be next year or the year after, but that all has to do with your marketing and following up.”
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