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Published: Thursday, 2/21/2013

HBA sees interest building for annual Toledo home show

BY JON CHAVEZ
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER
Cindy Miller, left, and husband Mike Miller, right, of Belvedere, Ohio, ask Todd Gruppi questions during the 2012 House & Home Show. HBA’s Bill Brennan says the show has virtually sold out of exhibit space for this year’s edition. Cindy Miller, left, and husband Mike Miller, right, of Belvedere, Ohio, ask Todd Gruppi questions during the 2012 House & Home Show. HBA’s Bill Brennan says the show has virtually sold out of exhibit space for this year’s edition.
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If the housing market really is rebounding, the Home Builders Association of Greater Toledo will be looking for proof starting Friday when the annual HBA House & Home Show opens for a three-day run at the SeaGate Convention Centre.

“We’re virtually sold out of the exhibit space, so that’s a good sign. It does seem as though we’ve seen more interest in the show this year. A lot of builders and others have decided they need to be part of the show for their marketing plans this spring,” said Bill Brennan, the HBA’s executive vice president.

More than 150 exhibitors, including a dozen custom-home builders, are to have booths to showcase homes, kitchens, bathrooms, lighting, pavement, and even swimming pools. The largest equipment and exhibits began moving into the site Tuesday, including items and materials that are to make up a new Outdoor Living Showcase and Wine & Beer Garden, featuring a 2,100-square-foot outdoor deck and patio.

Mr. Brennan said the showcase was the idea of a local deck builder “who wanted to show what he could do in his own backyard.” It is to feature examples of an outdoor kitchen, spas, landscaping, and other backyard items.

“It seemed like there was a lot of interest by people in better ways to use the outside of their homes,” he said.

For the third year, local builder Jim Moline is to feature his Welcome Home to Lifestyle Innovations showcase. The 5,200-square-foot exhibit is to feature all aspects of building a home as well as the 18 subcontractors Mr. Moline uses to build custom homes.

“I started doing this three years ago when the home show was kind of dry or dull, for lack of a better word,” Mr. Moline said. “We assembled all the people that worked together on all my jobs and we created about 3,000 square feet of space instead of just renting booth space. You could walk around it, and it felt a little bit like a house, though it isn’t a house. But it has everything a house has, a living room, kitchen, garage space.

“The typical home show is about each individual person, but we’ve tried to create a team atmosphere and show what we all do every day and to let people know that I’m only as good as all the people that work for me,” he said. “It’s been refreshing for people to see this.”

In the past, the Home Builders Association brought in national celebrities as speakers but such moves haven’t always drawn well. This year, local experts are to give special presentations. Lori Jacobs and Dana Iliev, co-owners of Cake in a Cup and winners of a 2011 Cupcake Wars challenge on the Food Network, are to whip up cupcakes on stage at 2 p.m. on Saturday, and Re/Max Preferred Associates and Fifth Third Bank are to hold a seminar on buying a new home on Saturday and Sunday.

However, visitors won’t see information on a Parade of Homes show that had been planned for spring in the Walnut Springs subdivision in Sylvania Township. Mr. Brennan said the association had hoped to stage a single-site Parade, its first such show in eight years, but it needed eight or nine local builders to commit to building spec homes in the subdivision.

“The market wasn’t ready to get that many single-site builders together. We had five commitments, but we felt we really needed eight. So now we’re shooting for June of 2014,” he said.

There will be a scattered-site Parade of Homes instead.



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