Vendors Want Answers After Failed Home Show

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – “Never have we ever seen something like this,” says Lee Bonacum. He’s the president of Artisan Iron Doors and $39 Granite, and has been in business for 12 years.  He’s done plenty of home shows. “And every single show, it’s always packed,” he says.

But not this past weekend at The Park Expo Center in east Charlotte. Vendors like Bonacum were told to expect hundreds of exhibitors, multi-media advertising before and during the event, and as many as 11,000 people. Instead, Bonacum says, “Maybe 100 people came through.”

He blames NCI Shows, the company that put on the event, for failing to advertise the event. And, he says there were only about 50 vendors, not hundreds.

The NCI website says they have more than 75 years of combined experience and that their home shows are among the highest quality in the southeast.

But in pictures taken Sunday at 3:30 pm, by WCCB media partner Queen City Nerve, the lack of people is noticeable. There was also a handwritten note NCI reportedly left for security on Sunday, in place of actually showing up.

WCCB sent multiple emails and called multiple phone numbers for NCI and got no reply. One of the numbers has even been disconnected.

Queen City Nerve reporter Justin LaFrancois did speak to an NCI representative on Monday. In part of that call, the representative tells LaFrancois, “At this time, because of everything that went on, and the threats, everything has been turned over to our attorney and we would love to comment but, unfortunately, we know the news and the newspaper. You’ll just turn it around to benefit the one side…”

Bonacum paid NCI almost $1,200 to rent space at the three-day show. His first step now: dispute the charge with his credit card company. WCCB News @ Ten anchor Morgan Fogarty asked him, “What would you say to another business owner who is perhaps considering doing a home show with NCI?” Lee replied, “Oh gosh. No.”

The NCI website says they’re hosting a show in Knoxville next spring. We are working to confirm that. To be clear: NCI is not the same group that puts on shows like the Southern Women’s Show or The Christmas Show.