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About the GCS Team
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 August 6-7, 2024 | Rosemont, Illinois

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.

Matthijs Braakman

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.

Visit SmartWork Media

Now Meet the Rest of the Team!

Ralf Kircher

“Years ago, when I moved to Florida from my native Ohio, I hated not being able to see the seasons change. A local garden center took the time to listen and helped me select the right plants and identify existing ones in my yard. That sort of care and attention to what a customer wants really sticks with you, and to this spring day back in Ohio, I can look back at pictures of that Florida house and tell you what month the photo was shot in. Maybe I won’t be kicking myself for moving back to Ohio in a week or two when the redbud starts blooming!”

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

"I can't wait to get everyone together in August to experience this new show. It's been quite an adventure creating a show for IGCs from scratch, and I've enjoyed every minute of it!"

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!  

Turquil Lambo

For me, gardening is a form of meditation and is something that I do to relax and just appreciate nature in general.

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.