Thrive! Vendor Application

Dear Vendor,

Thank you for your time, work and ministry on behalf of homeschooling families. Thank you also for your interest in participating in the NCHE Thrive! Conference vendor hall.

First, allow us the opportunity to introduce ourselves as you will be working with both of us in this process.

Spencer and Debbie Mason have been involved with NCHE since 1985 and on the board since 1988. They homeschooled their children from birth and graduated all four from homeschool. Debbie is the events director and chair of the conference committee. She has been on the conference committee since the late 80s, but has been the chair of the committee since 2014. Debbie will be the one most responsible for selecting vendors and speakers and assigning booths. Debbie’s email address is debbie.mason@nche.com; cell phone 704-607-0618. Spencer assists the conference committee in his role as executive office manager. He will be the primary one sending you emails and processing payments. He is also the law and policy director on the NCHE board. Spencer’s email address is spencer.mason@nche.com and his cell phone is 704-661-6299.

Expected Attendance
At our last pre-COVID conference in 2019, we had over 6,000 attendees (2,000 families). In 2021 due to COVID, our attendance was 3739 attendees (1224 families). In 2022, attendance was 4347 (1460 families). We expect for attendance to continue to grow in 2023 to be around 5,000 (around 1700 families)—homeschool parents, teens and children. These families will come from across the state of North Carolina as well as neighboring states. The conference always generates a high level of energy and enthusiasm among conference attendees. The NCHE conference is a highlight of NC homeschoolers’ year.

We look forward to working with you at this year’s conference. What you do is truly a ministry, and we appreciate you so very much. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We will have a page on the conference website just for you (this page will be updated for the 2023 conference in mid-fall): http://www.nche.com/conference/vendors.

Sincerely,
Debbie and Spencer

The vendor application form is below, but don’t miss this important information. 

Selection Information

Vendor selections are made by the conference committee. To apply, fill out the application below. In order to be considered, you must include payment with your application. If you prefer to pay by check, your booth/s will be reserved when your check is received. Your payment will be mailed back to you or reimbursed if you are not selected for the 2023 vendor hall. If you are applying for the first round of selections, complete this application and submit along with payment by October 31, 2022.  After October 31, applying vendors will be accepted as space allows. Selection will be made based on the benefit of the product or service to homeschoolers as determined by the conference committee.

Booth Assignments
Booth space is given on a “first come, first served” basis. Select vendors, called exempt vendors, have first choice of booths before vendors submitting applications. Available booths are shown on the map and under “Booth: First Choice.” Vendors will be considered for selection after the completed application is submitted and payment is received. We will do everything possible to address the needs of each vendor, but we cannot guarantee a location or dimension of your requested space. The first round of selections will be made in November. Vendors applying after October 31, will be notified as soon as decisions have been made which happen periodically.

Exempt Vendors
Vendors may be chosen by the conference committee for exempt status. Exempt vendors do not need to go through the application process and have first choice of booth locations.

Policy on Colleges
Colleges are given the opportunity to have a booth in the vendor hall. If they are selected for the vendor hall, they will also need to man a free booth in the College Fair on Friday from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. For this purpose, they have permission to leave the vendor hall booth in order to cover the table in the College Fair. Colleges also have the option of just doing the College Fair, and the cost is $105 (includes a sandwich).

Additional Options on the Application

  • Vendor Workshops
    Vendors may conduct vendor workshops to explain the benefits of their product. Doing a vendor workshop gives you an opportunity to explain your product or service in a more detailed way to a group of interested people. The cost of each workshop is $100. The content must relate to home education and not exceed 60 minutes. Early application will improve the likelihood of getting the workshops desired. Apply for Vendor Workshops using this form. You will also have the opportunity to order AV for your workshop.
  • Contact List
    Vendors have the opportunity to purchase a contact list for attendees who agree to allow their contact information to be given. Vendors must agree to use these contacts only for their own business and not to loan, rent or sell these contacts. In 2019, there were 712 families who gave permission, and in 2022, there were 430.
  • Signature Card
    NCHE offers to vendors to put their name on a signature card to help to draw attendees to your booth. These cards will be given one per family. Adult attendees who complete the card by having someone at each booth sign the card, will be entered into a drawing for a $250 cash prize. The signature card will have a minimum of 5 vendor names and a maximum of 17 vendor names, on a first come first served basis.
  • Extras for Your Booth
    You may order electricity, laptop and LED monitors to use at our booth.

Additional Opportunities to Know About

  • Conference Workshops
    A conference workshop is a non-vendor, non-commercial workshop. It must relate to home education. There is a selection process. If your conference workshop is selected, you will be informed by late January. Fill out the online speaker application It is due by November 30.
  • Advertising in the Conference Program
    The printed conference program is a quality publication. Our program is distributed to all of our adult attendees for free and is a vital tool to them while they are at the conference. You do not have to be a conference vendor in order to advertise in the conference program.
  • Sponsoring the Thrive! Conference
    You can gain even more visibility at Thrive! by becoming a conference sponsor. We have plenty of options to choose from.
  • Advertising in the GREENHOUSE Magazine
    For more than thirty-eight years, our flagship magazine has been bringing words of encouragement, methods of homeschooling, stories of student success and news to keep homeschoolers informed. GREENHOUSE is available in print and digital formats.
  • Advertising on Social Media, NCHE Weekly Email and on the Website
    To learn more about all of our ways to reach homeschoolers.
  • Sandwich for Lunch
    We will offer the option of ordering a sandwich for lunch that will be delivered to your booth. At the present time, the cost of these sandwiches cannot be determined. We will send an order form closer to conference time.

Vendor Hall Information and Policies

Set-up and Operating Hours for 2023
All vendors are welcome to begin setting up Wednesday, May 24, between 3:00 and 8:30 p.m. Additional set-up time will be offered after 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, May 25. Due to facility climate control, loading dock doors will close at 12:00 noon. All vendors must be set up and ready for business by 2:30 pm on Thursday when the vendor hall opens to the public. Please note that there are no dollies provided by the convention center.
Operating hours: Thursday 2:30-8:30 p.m. (new hours), Friday 9:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. and Saturday 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m.

Vendor Hall Hours
Vendor Hall operating hours will be as follows: Thursday 2:30 pm to 8:30 pm (change of time from last year); Friday 9:30 am to 7:30 pm; and Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Drop Shipping & NC Sales Tax
No shipments will be received at the Benton Convention Center, the Marriott or the Embassy Suites Hotel. Shipment of all materials must go through Hollins Exposition Services. They will be contacting you with drop shipping information closer to the conference. For information on NC sales tax, contact the Revenue Department, Sales & Use Tax Division at 877-252-3052.

Vendor Hall Policies

  • All vendors must remain in their allocated space. (Aisle space is not usable space.)
  • If asked to make changes to booth configuration, the vendor has an hour to comply.
  • No vendor is allowed to sublet space to another vendor unless permission is obtained by conference committee.
  • All vendors must be invited by the NCHE conference committee.
  • Vendors must be considerate of other vendors. If your demonstration causes noise that becomes a nuisance to vendors around you, you will be asked to stop or lower the sound level to an acceptable level.
  • Vendors are not allowed to diffuse a scent.
  • Vendors may sell only during vendor hours.
  • Booths must be manned the entire time of the conference (allowing for short absences) unless special permission is granted.

Nametag Policy
We will allow 4 free vendor nametags per first booth. Two additional free nametags will be allowed for each booth after that with a cap of 10 free nametags per vendor. We will charge $10 per nametag beyond those allowed for free and for all nametags purchased onsite.

Hotels with NCHE Blocks
Embassy Suites (800) HILTONS (445-8667) and Marriott (888) 236-2427 are part of the convention area. October 1 (at 9 a.m.) is the first day reservations are open.

Cancellation Policy
Cancellations will receive refunds based on the following:

  • Received by November 30 will receive an 70% refund.
  • Received by December 31 will receive an 60% refund.
  • Received by January 31 will receive a 40% refund.
  • Received by February 28 will receive a 30% refund.
  • Received by March 31 will receive a 20% refund

No refunds will be given after March 31.