Awards & Events

HBA Prepares for Annual Home & Garden Show

BOARDMAN, Ohio – The Home Builders & Remodelers Association of the Valley’s annual Home & Garden Show doesn’t draw fair-weather fans. In fact, the opposite is likely true.

The show usually draws between 10,000 and 14,000 over the course of a weekend, says the association’s executive director, Jennie Brewer, but “it’s really dependent on the weather.

“Ironically, bad weather brings in a lot of people,” she says.

The annual event will take place at Mr. Anthony’s Banquet Center beginning Friday and running through Sunday. Unlike most Mahoning Valley residents, who are enjoying the break in the winter weather, promoters of the event root for more wintry weather.

“The show is usually the one thing that kicks off spring. Everyone thinks, ‘When the home and garden show is here, then spring is right around the corner,’ ” Brewer says.

The show typically spurs people to begin thinking about what project they want to work on in the coming months, said Rich Abel, owner of Banner Supply Company Inc., which has locations in Youngstown, Warren, Cleveland and Greensburg, Pa. The company is one of the free-entry sponsors this year.

“A lot of people understand it was different back in the day,” Brewer says. “There were so many companies out there that you could pick the project and have it scheduled and get it done. Now there aren’t as many companies and there’s a wait for the project.”

This year’s show will feature 100 booths from more than 75 vendors, including complete homebuilders and remodelers who work “in every facet of your home,” the director says, from windows and doors to roofing and siding, landscapers and outdoor furniture suppliers. Also among this year’s participants is a financing company for people who are looking for ways to pay for their projects or build their new home.

“We do this first and foremost to make sure that the customers have the ability to get one-on-one with local companies that are doing remodeling and building,” Brewer says. “Second of all, we do it for our members so they have the ability to meet customers face-to-face.”

The show “puts you in the majority of demographics in Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties,” says Tom Duncan, owner of Duncan’s Bath & Kitchen Center, Poland. The 61-year-old company has been an exhibitor for decades, dating to before the Home & Garden Show was held at Mr. Anthony’s, he says.

“We could fill a space twice the size, to be honest,” Brewer notes. She recalls shows held in past years at venues including the Mahoning County Fairgrounds in Canfield and Youngstown’s old Idora Park ballroom, when “it was just wall-to-wall people.”

Duncan’s mainly uses the show to educate rather than “push ourselves on the customer,” the owner says. He estimates anywhere from 3% to 7% of his business stems from the show.

Most vendors exhibit because it fills their pipeline, Brewer says. “Customers come trying to find a company and the companies are there trying to find leads.”

Banner Supply, which is a supplier for many of the contractors at the event, used to have a booth but discontinued exhibiting to become a gate sponsor. “We want to sponsor the show to have it be free for the homeowners to see our customers,” he says. “We also sponsor the show so our name is in front of our customers.”

Vendors are happy with the response they get at the show, otherwise they wouldn’t keep coming back, Brewer says.

“Most of the times you’ll get the owner of the company there,” she says.

Another cause for excitement, Brewer adds, is that this year Cambria, the only family-owned American quartz producer, is presenting the show alongside Duncan’s. “It’s something different and new, and it’ll be great for the consumers to see that,” she says. “We’re thrilled to have them involved with the show.”

Pictured: Rich Abel, owner Banner Supply Co., and Jennie Brewer, executive director of the Home Builders & Remodelers Association of the Valley, say the annual Home & Garden Show drives business to members.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.