Home show draws crowd in Marietta

MARIETTA – It was a great weekend for the Washington County Homebuilders Association annual Home Show, according to association president Jodie Bonnette.

“(Saturday) was non-stop. We’ve had great attendance every day,” she said. “And we had about 35 vendors this year – that’s holding steady with the number we’ve had in past years, too.”

The event was held in the Junior Fair Building at the Washington County Fairgrounds Friday through Sunday.

Tina Munday, of Elizabeth, and Betty Myers, of Parkersburg, were first-timers at the home show Sunday afternoon.

“I’ve been looking at concrete counter tops that contain fiber optic lights to install in my kitchen,” Munday said, pointing to a Design-Crete display at one end of the building by local contractor Jerry Offenberger.

“My wife flattens colored glass bottles that can then be imbedded with lights in our concrete counter tops – and the counters can be installed inside or out,” Offenberger explained. “We also have a table top imbedded with bottle caps.”

He said the unique counter tops are a popular item, and he’s not aware of any other local contractor that offers the same product. In addition to counter tops, Offenberger said his business also offers steel erection, crane services and residential concrete contracting.

Bonnette said many people attending the home show were looking for remodeling ideas, but some were also planning to build new homes.

Kim and Randy Wells, of Williamstown, were among those ready to build new.

“We’ve had a lot for three or four years now, and have been planning to build a house there,” Kim said. “But we’ve been waiting on the housing market to change first so we can sell our current home.”

Randy said the market is improving, so it seems like this is a good time to move their plans forward.

“We built our first home about 13 years ago,” he said. “But we were still pretty young then, and it was a real learning experience. Now we’re here to pick up some ideas for our next home.”

Brian and Ashley Becker, of Whipple, are also planning a new home on property they own in the Bonn area.

“I’m planning to build it myself – it should be an interesting experience,” Brian Becker said. “We’ll probably start later this spring. And I know quite a few people who are getting ready to build new homes out our way.”

Schilling Truss and Building Materials of Beverly was among the vendors in the weekend home show.

“Most people are looking for building packages for decks, fencing, siding or other projects,” said Dustin Schilling, son of owner Jeff Schilling.

But he added that new home construction seems to be coming back as the economy improves, and the company delivers whole packages to home sites also.

“Business has really been building back up over the last six to eight months,” Jeff Schilling added. “And we’ve been selling a lot of pole building kits, too.”

Bob Huck, owner of Oakwood Furniture Inc. in Lowell, said the crowd at this year’s home show seemed a bit slimmer than in past years, but those attending have shown much more interest in his products, including cabinetry and counter tops made of a variety of woods.

“Oak used to be our big seller, but now people are asking for other woods like maple, hickory and cherry,” he said. “And in the past two years we’ve seen our business picking up quite a bit.”

The Homebuilders Association of Washington County includes 63 builder and associate members.

This year’s home show was also sponsored by Advantage Real Estate, Lang’s Flooring, Moran Construction Inc., The Marietta Times and Wayne Homes.