About three years into the business, and after presenting at several trade shows in Portland, Maine, we decided we wanted to crack a bigger nut. We attended a food trade show at the Javits Center in NYC and thought we would aim for that show. We decided to dip our toes into the bigger trade show world further away from us first, so that if we fell flat on our faces it wouldn’t impact us that much. We searched around and found a show in Chantilly, Virginia. It was a union show meaning that once we arrived in our packed-to-the-gills van not only didn’t we have to huff all our stuff to our booth but we drove INTO to exhibit hall and it was unloaded by union workers. This was the first indication that we were not in Kansas anymore. We didn’t have professionally fashioned crates. We had various odd-shaped containers, collapsible tables, hangers with curtains and table skirts, white painted plaster columns (to lend a Roman look), water pumps, coolers, shelves, and more shelves, and a million cardboard boxes with oodles of product. It was a vast space. We were happy to have found the place and to have found our booth. We soon recognized that the show was far from sold out. The management approached us to see if we would like an adjacent booth at no extra charge. They wanted to fill in the blank spots. We figured bigger is better. We phoned back to our staff (of two) and asked them to overnight more product. We went shopping for more things to fill our new space and ready it for more product. In the grocery store in Chantilly that we chose to go for cream (what southerners call whitener) and sugar and ice was more like a box store. Upon checking out with a loaded cart we were asked if we wanted a “sack”. It stumped us. A sack? As it turned out the checkout person wasn’t sure we wanted to add the additional two cents for each “sack” we would be using. They were ahead of the curve. Today we have many reusable bags in our cars for our own grocery shopping. It turned out that the weekend we were at the show was the same weekend that the Ice Storm of ‘98 hit New England. We were celebrities having managed to get to the trade show with that hardship. The truth of the matter was that the storm miraculously missed us in southern Maine so there really was no impact on us or our business. It was a good conversation starter though. It was a poorly attended trade show. We spent way too much time talking about the weather up north and not nearly enough time getting new leads. The upshot was that we learned we really didn’t like doing trade shows, and really, really didn’t need to drive nine hours away to present at one.