Home Show builds with the industry

Posted: Sunday, March 05, 2006

The 27th annual Home Show has been building on its success of the past, selling out all the vending spaces before the event began for the first time in its history.

"Normally we enter into the show with one or two booths available, but we were sold out and had people calling and asking to be on the waiting list," Southeast Alaska Building Industry Executive Officer Jill Herrick said.

The three-day event ends today, running from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Centennial Hall. Tickets cost $5.

"We have about 70 vendors in house, with everything from suppliers to builders, bankers, remodelers, to landscaping," Herrick said.

Just like the Home Show, SEABIA has also grown since last year's event.

"We've got 30 new members within the last year, so that's a huge increase in our membership," SEABIA President Russ McDougal said. "It's interesting to see that kind of an increase."

Juneau also has seen a steady growth of homes since the beginning of the new millennium, according to the city's report on vacancy rates and housing unit counts.

In 2001 there were 12,207 total housing units in Juneau. The figure increased to 12,653 in 2005. The biggest jump was in single-family dwellings, raising from 8,354 units to 8,794 in the same time. The largest growth area, according to the figures, is "West Mendenhall Valley/Mendenhall Peninsula/Auke Bay," which rose from 1,148 units in 2001 to 1,269 in 2005.

McDougal said the Home Show helps prospective buyers and homeowners get more information about the building industry.

"This is the biggest event of the year that we put on," he said. "It helps the general public get out there and see what's new on the market and see who the players are."

McDougal estimated more than 1,000 people attended the Home Show on Saturday and about 250 attended Friday.

Centennial Hall was filled with a number of different products and information on Saturday, which included septic systems, cabinets, hot tubs, home stereo systems, beds, flooring, and electric tools. Cell phones and kayaks also were on display.

"There are a lot of exciting new products," Herrick said. "There's a lot of new technology out there that is being introduced for the first time."

Herrick said today is "family day," which will offer the regular booths as well as live music by Full Circle and entertainment by local comedian and balloon-animal craftsman Jeff Brown. There will also be three seminars today.

"We're hoping that we can draw on the younger crowd - the young adults with kids to get them in hear," McDougal said.

Juneau-Douglas High School senior Matt Delabruere was selling raffle tickets Saturday to fund the school's architectural drafting program.

"There's a lot of interesting things," he said.

Delabruere said he was most impressed with the entertainment system display by Auke Bay Electric, which won the best-of-show award Saturday.

Herrick said businesses interested in participating next year might want to act fast to reserve a booth.

"By the time we leave here (Sunday), it will probably be 70 percent sold out for next year," she said.

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