Novi Home & Garden Show brings hope of return to business as usual

Jennifer Chambers
The Detroit News

Anne Saltz and her husband, Steve Saltz, bought their new home in Waterford Township last year during the pandemic and have been waiting for the right moment to venture out for some inspiration.

It came on Sunday, when the Oakland County couple spent a few hours at the Novi Home & Garden Show looking at exhibits on outdoor brick pavers and outdoor fireplaces, which would go perfectly with their half-acre backyard near Cass Lake.

Paul Foco, 43, a salesman at Essential Sleep Solutions, talks about the features on a bed with Hanna Williamson, left, 26, of Livonia and Erin Foltz, 45, of Livonia at the Home & Garden Show on Sunday.

"We have a huge backyard, and they did have a really nice outside brick paver set up that you can do and an outside chimney you can build. That was really nice," Anne Saltz said. "And it was wonderful just be to out. Just to walk around and not be closed in."

The couple came home with a few new tools and some solid ideas for the future.

"We bought some gardening tools, hand-held trimmers for trees and shrubs," Anne said.

COVID-19 safety measures were abundant at the event, which  ended Sunday at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, including masking, the use of hand sanitizers and social distancing. Aisles, which are usually 10 feet apart, were spaced 20 feet apart.

"If you feel comfortable going to Kroger and Home Depot, you should feel safety coming to our show," said Michael Stoskopf, CEO of the Home Builders Association of Southeastern Michigan.

Aisles were widened from 10 feet to 20 feet at this year's Novi Home and Garden show.

The association, which has been producing home and garden shows in southeast Michigan since the 1960s, canceled last year's show because of the pandemic.

Stoskopf said he was pleased that this year's show drew 100 exhibitors offering a variety of home improvement, gardening and landscaping products and services. While the attendance was down 30% to 40% from "a normal year," Stoskopf said he was overwhelmed by how well it was received.

"People said, 'Thanks for putting this on. It gives us hope we're getting back to normal,'" Stoskopf said.

Zachary Gaule, 26, left store manager at Vegepod, talks about the large vegepod for growing vegetables with Ed Ford, 26, and Virginia Cloutier, 68, of Waterford.

The next show is planned for Oct. 8-10 at the Suburban Collection Showplace, and Stoskopf said the association hopes it will be a full return to "business as usual."

"We'll be back bigger than ever," he said.