“The people of the Fraser Valley . . . Surrey, Hope, Mission, Abbotsford, Langley and Chilliwack . . . really embraced the show,” said Olcay. “Last year alone we experienced a 15 per cent increase in attendance over the year before, and that is unheard of in these interesting times.”
He added: “This show is all about the exhibitors, and we have 400 of them. Yes, we’ve had stars coming, including recording artist and humanitarian Bif Naked, renowned interior designers, actors Josh Morrow, Sharon Case and others from The Young and the Restless. They’re great, but a small percentage of women come to the show for the celebrities, they really want the whole experience.”
The West Coast Women’s Show, Oct. 21–23 this year, has grown to become the largest and most successful women’s event in Western Canada, Olcay said. Women come to be “entertained and informed . . . we have a terrific lineup of speakers. It is a unique shopping experience. It’s relationship building with the exhibitors . . . it’s a reaching out. Our visitors like to see the booths. It’s the ultimate girls’ experience.”
The shopping fantasy includes five stages of fashion, wellness and beauty secrets, entertainment, cheese and live calendar firefighters. A second artisan marketplace, for a total of 60 artisans, was added this year because of its popularity when it was introduced in 2015.
Olcay, who is with Encore Exhibitions, has been in the show business for some 30 years. He loves Tradex because it is easy to move the show in, and move it out. “Those huge doors are a real bonus,” he said. “It’s a nice facility. Where else do you find one like that?”
Murat relies on his two adult daughters, his wife and an amazing “team of talented ladies” to get feedback on the shows and to constantly improve them.
He remembers Tradex from the days before the Abbotsford Airport passenger terminal was built and when he and others, who were running home shows at Tradex in the 1990s, were knee-deep in mud to post huge signs in farmers’ fields to point patrons toward the 120,000 square foot facility.
“Back then no one knew Tradex, but now after 25 years, they do. I’ve watched the community and area grow. I’ve appreciated the Tradex renovations, and we’re still here,” he said.
Olcay worked with Ron Price, one of the founders of Tradex when both were with Airshow Canada. “It was a lot of fun.” “We’d head out of Fort Langley in a floatplane, go to the Gulf Islands for lunch and fly back. At 59, I still don’t feel old. The trick is, like the West Coast Women’s Show teaches: Stay active, stay vital, get the most out of life.”