Events Management Group History and General Information

Image

LOCATION: The office of Events Management Group, Inc. (EMG) is located at 1072 Laskin Road, Suite 101-A, in the Birdneck Plaza Office Building, in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

EXPERIENCE: Events Management Group has been producing high-quality, juried events in Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia since 1982. Through the years, Events Management Group has grown into one of the country’s premier show production companies with many of its events selected as Sunshine Artist’s Best 200 Shows in the United States.

Events Management Group currently employs three professional show managers and coordinators who have many years of show management experience:

Linda Shell – Retired President/Founder, Consultant
Steve Jahnke – President, Director of Operations
Denise Wynn Olsen – Craft Show Director
Erin Estes – Antique Show Director

Our Story:

EMG had its beginnings as a country consignment store in Virginia Beach called Countryside Shops. The combination of a devastating fire in the early 80's and a last minute cancellation of a fine art show at the Virginia Beach Convention Center presented owner/founder Linda Shell with an opportunity to host her first craft show. With only 3 months to organize the Thanksgiving weekend show, Linda hit the East Coast show circuit to find exhibitors for the new show. Black Friday arrived and the show was overwhelmed with patrons. Year after year the ticket lines grew longer and longer, out the door and around the building. Every square inch of the building was filled with exhibitors. Only the bathrooms and kitchen lacked craft booths. The show has become a holiday tradition for over 15,000 Hampton Roads shoppers each year. Since that time they have added the highly-respected Virginia Beach Spring Craft Market, the Northern Virginia Christmas Market in Chantilly, VA and the Virginia Beach Antiques Show.

Our Staff:

Steve Jahnke – President, Director of Operations

Linda's son, Steve, has been with EMG since the beginning and has been involved in every aspect of the business. From the time he was able to count change and tall enough to hang booth signs he was on call for each show. Other family members helped too. It was a true family affair. In the early years, outside of show week, Linda did it all. But, after the purchase of several antique shows in 1995 Steve joined the business full time. His main responsibilities include marketing, accounting, operations, database and web design as well as being in charge of anything with a power cord. He is usually the first and last person the exhibitors see at one of EMG's shows since he coordinates exhibitor traffic at the loading docks during move-in and move-out. Erin Estes's arrival as the company's graphic designer and Antique Show Coordinator allowed Linda to officially retire in 2006 leaving the business in her son's hands.

Like the rest of the staff, he enjoys bringing his dog, a yellow lab named “Goose,” to work each day. In fact, most days there are more dogs in the office than people. In his off-time, Steve enjoys surfing, bonsai, mountain biking boating and generally all things beach related. While not exactly a crafter himself he is usually referred to as a “MacGyver” by his friends and he very much appreciates American ingenuity and a “can do” attitude.

Denise Wynn Olsen – Craft Show Director

Denise has 10 years experience in directing outdoor fine art and craft events,and over 20 years of event planning experience. Previously the director of the Boardwalk Art Show & Festival, the Neptune Festival Art & Craft Show, and the Port Warwick Art & Sculpture Festival, Denise has a great working relationship with many well know artists and craftspeople. She was given high praise in Sunshine Artist Magazine for her efforts to pull together the Neptune Festival Art & Craft show six days after damaging Hurricane Isabel hit the Mid Atlantic region and devastated the Virginia Beach boardwalk and coastline in 2003. In 2004 she took the Boardwalk Art Show and Festival from number 35 to number 13 in Sunshine Artists rankings of the 200 Best Art Shows in the U.S. After being lured to the prestigious art friendly community of Port Warwick, she was asked to design, produce and direct the up and coming Port Warwick Art & Sculpture Festival. After 6 years it was time to try something new and Denise brought her show directing skills to EMG's front door in January of this year.

In her early days, Denise assisted her mother, a professional watercolor artist, and schlepping supplies and inventory from one show to the next. These early beginnings on the show circuit gave her a great appreciation for the traveling art and craft show exhibitor, and what it takes to make it in today's economy as an exhibiting artist. She is also a professional artist herself in mixed media, and can be found collecting odd flotsam and jetsam at flea markets for her aged shadow boxes. Denise enjoys the laid back atmosphere at EMG and that she can work side by side with her two favorite companions, Totsy and Gracie her two Scottish terriers.

Erin Estes – Show Director/Graphic Designer

Erin grew up in and around the craft business. Her mother was a successful grapevine weaver, making trees, wreaths and baskets to be sold at local craft shows, and Erin was put to work tying bows and painting ornaments at a young age. Like her cousin Steve, she also worked at Linda's shows, selling bags and taking tickets. After four years at an auction house in New York, Erin moved back to Virginia Beach and applied her antiques knowledge at EMG. In addition to managing the Virginia Beach Antiques Show and serving as the in-house graphic designer, she can be found wearing one of the many hats the craft show business requires.

At the office, Erin is assisted by her beagle, George, whose duties include sleeping and reminding Steve when it's treat time. At home, she enjoys the local arts scene, kickball, cooking, and the beach. She has also gained a reputation as the “Martha Stewart” of her friends, being as handy with a glue gun as she is with a soup pot.