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Published: Friday, 3/12/2010

Remodelers upbeat as annual home and garden show ready to open

BY JON CHAVEZ
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

Toledo's annual Home Improvement & Garden Show, sponsored by the Professional Remodelers Organization, kicks off today and for remodelers such as David Rumpf, the three-day event at the SeaGate Convention Centre downtown offers a golden opportunity.

"If we can get them into the show and looking, it sometimes stirs their interest, gets them thinking about a project," said Mr. Rumpf, the organization's past-president and owner of David C. Rumpf Contractor of Sylvania.

Last year was hit and miss for many members of the organization, formerly the Toledo Home Remodelers Association. Buyers were unsure about a new President, the economy, their jobs, Mr. Rumpf said. "Everyone was on pins and needles. But this year … I feel the people who have some money or are in good financial position are in the mood to remodel."

The signs are there.

Several other home shows late last year and this year in the Mid-west have shown increased foot traffic.

Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies, which releases a quarterly forecast of future home improvement spending known as the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity, forecasted in January that the remodeling industry will hit bottom during the first three months of 2010, but then begin a gentle upswing. "It appears we may be near the bottom of the current remodeling cycle," said Nicolas P. Retsinas, director of the center. "With signs of stabilization in the national economy, homeowners are once again planning home improvement projects."

The show runs from 4 to 9 p.m. today, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. tomorrow, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. It will have 160 vendors pitching products and services, including landscaping, windows, garage doors, and patio rooms.

Tickets are $6 for adults, $5 for people 60 and over, and free for children under 12 and military personnel.

Remodeler Jason Arnolds of Arnolds Home Improvement Inc. of Toledo is one of the sponsors of the show. Vendor participants are enthusiastic, and hopeful that good weather and thoughts of spring will increase attendance, he said.

The last two years have been good because many consumers were choosing to remodel their homes rather than buy new ones, he added. This year could be better because so far, consumers are calling to book remodeling projects for the spring when typically most bookings are for June.

"Things are looking more promising this year than the last couple of years," Mr. Arnolds said.



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