Rochester Area Builder Home Show ‘Bigger, Better,’ Says Attendee – Post Bulletin

ROCHESTER – If you asked John Eischen, Executive Director of Rochester Area Builder, what got him particularly excited about the 43rd Annual RAB Home Show, he’d tell you he enjoys picking a favorite kid.

“I always look forward to the show,” he said on Friday afternoon. It really doesn’t matter (the project), there is someone here who can talk about your specific needs, whether it’s landscaping or basement work, or window replacements or financing. It’s pretty much a one stop shop for anyone thinking about a renovation project or new build.”

On Saturday, Anna Froehling, a homeowner from Rochester, attended the show to get ideas for an upcoming kitchen and bathroom makeover. Froehling said she already has company on the project, which has been in development for about a decade, but still needs information on a patio installation and landscaping.

Darlene and Jerry Larson also surveyed the exhibitors that were spread out in the Mayo Civic Center ballroom. The Rochester couple had a list of home projects — a new front door, epoxy flooring for their garage, and updates to their kitchen — to gather information.

“We love coming,” Darlene said, adding that they always have projects to do at their house and the Home Show is a way to get good ideas, connections and sometimes a discount.

They noted that this year’s show felt “bigger, better” than the year before.

While neither Froehling nor the Larsons said their projects have been boosted by the pandemic, there has been a home remodeling boom nationwide that is expected to continue into 2022.

“We’ve seen a big shift in what homeowners are doing in terms of improvements, maintenance, repairs and a lot of home improvement activities that have kind of stalled in 2020,” said Abbe Will, a senior research fellow at the Joint Center for Housing Studies from Harvard University, in a phone interview on Friday. “And then in 2021 we saw that growth and transformation was growing faster and certainly faster than the long-term average.”

In an article for the Joint Center, Will wrote that the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity projects double-digit growth in annual homeowner renovation and maintenance spending in the third quarter of 2022.

One of the first things Saturday’s Home Show attendees saw as they entered the ballroom at the Mayo Civic Center was Sargent’s booth. The landscaping and nursery booth looked midcentury modern with a wall of plants, a couch and a neon pink light that reads “#WeDigSargents” straight out of a millennial Instagram page.

Sargent’s Ben Vaughn said gardening and landscaping has skyrocketed over the course of the pandemic as people recognize the value of investing in the beauty of their space.

According to Vaughn, the trend among Millennials and Gen-Zers away from cut flowers and toward houseplants and living has brought Sargent’s business indoors.

Les Radcliffe’s home construction, remodeling and DIY business, Radcliffe Homes & Remodeling, has had clients working from home for the past two years requesting remodels to serve that purpose.

“And then there are people who move to another home for the same reasons,” Radcliffe said. “And I think our interest rates have been really cheap. Although our construction costs have risen sharply, it is still cheap to build.”

Radcliffe, who calls Ultimate Outdoor Furnace his “hobby” business, was also scheduled to present a seminar on biomass heat and sustainable living.

This topic may be of particular interest to some homeowners, as recent cold temperatures and increases in the cost of natural gas have led to an increase in heating bills. A 26% tax credit offered by the federal government for qualifying stoves also helps Radcliffe attract potential customers.

“People aren’t sure what energy is going to cost, and if you live in a rural area where you have wood and there’s a lot of dying trees, it’s pretty easy to have,” Radcliffe said.

Radcliffe has been attending The Home Show for more than three decades.

“I think it’s a great opportunity to meet people and show what you can do,” Radcliffe said. “And hopefully someone who needs your services will come along and you connect.”

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