Show offers array of vendors
The 49th edition of the Blair County Home and Garden show will be a mix of new and long-time vendors.
The event, a partnership between the Blair County Chamber of Commerce and Blair-Bedford Builders Association will be held Friday through Sunday at the Jaffa Shrine Center.
“We offer a full array of vendors for both the home and garden. In this industry, there are constantly new products at the show. Some people say these kind of shows are waning, but we feel that people who come to the show come to talk to someone rather than search on the computer. There is lot of good one on one contact made at the show,” said Executive Director David DeBiase, of the builders association.
“It is a one-stop shop for all attendees. They are able to talk to multiple exhibitors to get different ideas, talk to different contractors in the same field,” said Stacy Hoover, chamber vice president of events and technology. “It helps the vendors get their name out instead of using the yellow pages or traditional advertising.”
More than 130 vendors will be participating, including several first-time vendors.
“We are trying to expand our company. We are hoping to get some sales and we want to establish an office in the Altoona area. We are a sister company with Bath Fitter, which has an office in Cresson,” said Robert Russell, event marketing manager for Homespire Windows and Doors, Lewisberry.
“We are trying to stretch out. We already serve that area. We have had a couple of customers who were involved with the show and they encouraged us to do it,” said Daryl Weaver, owner of Shawnee Structures, Bedford. “Any time you can get brochures out and your name out, that generates interest.”
Snare and Associates Mortgage Services Inc., Hollidaysburg, is offering a new product.
“We rolled out a new product in the last 1 ¢ to two years, a construction loan product. We can be a tool to the construction and landscaping businesses. We need to let people know we have these products,” owner Anthony Snare said.
Residential Construction Services, Altoona, has turned its focus to a different product.
“Last year after the show we started to concentrate on installing residential metal roofs. We thought this would be a good way to expose us to the homeowners in Blair County,” said sales manager John Koury. “This gives us exposure. Typically people who go to home and garden shows have some disposable income to spend on home improvements.”
Greg Wisyansksi, owner of Fish Window Cleaning and Glass Doctor, Altoona, had been a regular attendee of the show.
“I’ve always gone to the show and walked around. I liked the show. Since its fits my business, I thought I would give it a shot,” he said.
Randy Colyer and Jimmy Burchfield, whose businesses are long-time participants, are co-chairmen of the event.
“We participate to get exposure, so people can see what is new for the upcoming season. It is a nice relaxed atmosphere where people can come in and talk to you and get some good information,” said Colyer, president of Greenwood Pools and Spas.
Colyer said his business benefits after the event.
“We don’t typically get any sales at the show, but we see sales two, six months or a year down the road. When spending that much money it is not an impulse buy, it is a longtime relationship that we try to establish. We’ve had some success, some years are better than others,” Colyer said.
Burchfield said the show provides face to face contact with potential customers.
“They can see your face on a billboard, but people don’t know who they are dealing with until they talk to you. We have got a good deal of business from this or we wouldn’t do it. It is the best place if you need something done for your home or need some ideas,” said Burchfield, co-owner/foreman of Burchfield & Son Landscaping Inc., Altoona.
Other show regulars see the benefits of participating.
“This gives us a chance to talk to people and explain to them the process on how to fix their basement. We talk to people and set up appointments. We go to their home and evaluate and give them a free estimate,” said Danny Bracken, owner of Bracken Waterproofing, Johnstown, which specializes in basement waterproofing. “Each year we probably get between five and 10 sales. That is pretty good because these are big projects, $5,000 to $10,000 projects.”
“The visibility gained from the home show has been invaluable for our bank has led to many new satisfied customers over the years,” said John R. Beyer II, vice president of PennCrest Bank. “From landscaping, kitchens, additions and new construction to financing — you can get it all at the Jaffa.”
Jeffrey Hatison, marketing manager for Bath Fitter, encouraged people to attend the event.
“Everyone who has a home that has remodeling needs should at least come check it out and get some insight on their project and give them a great starting point in their remodeling needs. I believe any homeowner should come out and check out not just us, but all the other companies offering ways to improve their home,” Hatison said.
Several seminars will be held in the 22nd Street Lounge on the upper level during the event.
“Downsizing — Buying and Selling Your Home” will be presented at 2 p.m. Friday; “What is the Right Glass Choice for my New Windows,” will be presented at 6 p.m. Friday and 4 p.m. Saturday; “Bathroom Renovations” will be presented at 11 a.m. Saturday; and “Going Solar, How it Works in Pennsylvania,” will be presented at 2 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday. Show hours are 1 to 8 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday; and 12 to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Admission is $3 per person. Children aged 12 and under are free.