Helping homes show off

Annual event gathers resources for owners, builders, renovators

Posted: Sunday, April 10, 2005


  Taylor Carver accepts a hat from Homer Electric Association's Joe Gallagher at the HEA booth during the Home Show now underway at the Soldotna Sports Center. Photo by M. Scott Moon

Taylor Carver accepts a hat from Homer Electric Association's Joe Gallagher at the HEA booth during the Home Show now underway at the Soldotna Sports Center.

Photo by M. Scott Moon

From cabinets to floors, from windows to doors, the 26th annual Kenai Peninsula Builders Home Show at the Soldotna Sports Center on Saturday, and continuing today, offers a wide variety of useful products, creative ideas and expert advice.

The show is presented by the Kenai Peninsula Builders Association and Spenard Builders Supply, and this year's event features more than 120 booths, free demonstrations, seminars and cash and prize giveaways.

The theme is "Knowledge You Can Build On," and the show attempts to provide just that to a variety of people — from those interested in building a new home, remodeling an existing one or building a deck or fence to those just stopping in to see what's new in the industry.

"It was pretty good this year," said Lowell Choat of Kenai, who has been attending the home show for more than 20 years.

"I'd give this year's show a 9 1/2 on a scale of 10. There was a lot of stuff to see and a lot of friendly folks to talk to," Choat said.

Unlike Choat, who had been to many prior shows, Christine Babcock of Soldotna was attending for the first time. Although she perused many booths, she came to specifically talk to Raven Correspondence School.

"I came to talk to the home-school people. I found out a lot. It was nice to get all my questions answered in person.

"Home school is important to a homeowner. Especially if you want to live more rurally, but also with all the cutting of educational funding," Babcock said.

Emily Sims of Soldotna said she gleaned a lot that will help her as she and her husband begin their spring and summer construction projects.

"We're currently building a home, and we found a lot of good information, and we'll probably use a few of the businesses we talked to here today," she said.

Providing information was the reason why many area businesses had booths at the show, and although some of the vendors were staples of the show — returning year after year — they didn't seem to lose their enthusiasm for talking to the crowd.

"This introduces people to the product lines available," said Dianne Ireland, office manager for Best Transit Mix Inc. in Soldotna, a vendor at the show for more than 10 years.

"This is also a way for people to learn how easy some of our products are to use and that we sell a lot of different things other than just concrete," Ireland said.

"We also sell aggregate, gravel for driveways, special foam building blocks that are insulated concrete forms and tools to do all the work," she added.

Geoff Sanger of Fireweed Fence in Kenai said he was there — for his first show — for similar reasons.

"This show is a good way to get the word out that we're here and to educate people on what we can do for them," he said.

Sanger said his business does more than just chain link, wood and vinyl fences.

"We also do custom gates, retaining walls, hand rails and install posts," he said.

Russ Cross of The Cross Enterprises in Ninilchik said he was enjoying his second home show. Many he talked to were unaware of the area he provides satellite television installation to.

"It surprises a lot of people when they learn I cover from Homer to Cooper Landing," he said.

Cross added that to the homeowner, especially one living off the beaten path, his service is invaluable.

"Here in Alaska, it's either satellite TV or no TV. I've put them in just about everywhere. I've put them in the Caribou Hills in places with no electricity — people watch it on a generator and inverter," he said.

The home show continues today from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $4 for adults, $3 for seniors and students and free for children under 12.

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