About the Garden Center Show and our Team
We're the team that's producing the Garden Center Show for you, and we can tell you that we're having a great time doing it! We hope you can see both our joy and our dedication to creating an incredible event, and we look forward to seeing you in August.
The permanent closure of the IGC Show created a void in the garden center industry. So we reached out to previous IGC Show Director Rob Bailey to see if SmartWork Media could step in and fill that void, and the result was a brand new — under completely different ownership — show in 2022 for independent garden centers.
My name is Matthijs Braakman, and I am the CEO of SmartWork Media. For more than 20 years, I have been focused on helping local, independent retailers compete and overcome challenges brought on by big-box competitors. I am excited to bring this expertise into the independent garden center industry, where the focus of creating warm, inviting living spaces cannot be replicated by any big-box brand.
We are excited to offer a completely new set of educational seminars, retail bootcamp, local garden center tours and so much more — all focused on growing your independent garden center. There will be hundreds of vendors — both new and familiar — to join the thousands of independent garden centers, all looking to share knowledge and learn how to continue their garden centers’ growth.
We are confident that the new Garden Center Show will become a can’t-miss event for this fantastic and lively industry.
I am looking forward to meeting everyone in August, so please be sure to come by and introduce yourself.
Now Meet the Rest of the Team!
A journalist for 30 years, Ralf Kircher has spent the last 15 years with SmartWork Media, whose magazines and trade events help independently owned retail businesses in half a dozen industries flourish and grow. He’s excited to be part of the team bringing the new Garden Center Show to life.
Rob Bailey, who has more than 35 years of trade show experience is the show director. He has been involved with the Garden Center industry for over 15 years and brings his passion of gardening and trade shows to the event! His leadership, expertise and knowledge of the industry will be instrumental in the “Growth” of the show to be the premier show in the Industry. He has a real “can do” attitude and is always looking for ways to bring out the best in all exhibiting companies to assure them success at the show!
Jim Reed, a trade show veteran of 30-plus years has spent the past 20 of those years in the management of B2B retail industry shows including The JCK Show currently ranked 39th in the U.S. He also worked with the Chicago Flower & Garden Show, a consumer show for two years which was his baptism into the garden center industry. Reed sees THE GARDEN CENTER SHOW for IGCs as an opportunity to educate retailers in new ways. “We’re looking to focus on some new educational topics targeting the interaction between the IGC and their customers,” Reed said. “We don’t want to just give them ideas but to also give them time to develop these ideas at the show. When they leave, they will have a plan in hand that will allow them to implement what they learned immediately.”
I was born and raised in the Philippines. I studied fine arts and tech and in 2011 I moved to Thailand and have since been working as web design editor for SmartWork Media. Growing up in a small town near the beach, I used to help my parents take care of our small tropical garden and I kind of developed a bit of a green thumb myself. I started gardening and collecting plants again just two years ago when everyone started working from home. I have a growing collection of cacti and some philodendrons and dracaenas. I actually created an IG for my plants although I haven't been updating it regularly. https://instagram.com/plantito.bkk