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Show at mall touts home improvement

March 07, 2004|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

Debbie Wise and her daughter, Cassidy, weren't sorry they put the ninth annual Eastern Panhandle Home Builders Association Home Show on their itinerary Saturday.

"I'm a do-it-yourselfer wannabe," Wise said as she strolled around Martinsburg Mall gathering useful information for her home projects ... both real and imagined.

While only 9, Cassidy also was having a great time, collecting giveaway items from the more than 125 exhibitors who were set up throughout the mall.

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"I really like the free stuff," she said.

Debbie Wise, on the other hand, also filled her bag with brochures and pamphlets touting all sorts of products for the home, both new and traditional.

"We have been here since it opened at 10 a.m.," Wise said Saturday.

She and her daughter even got a free hot dog for their lunch.

Wise said her history with the Home Show goes back many years to when it was at the James Rumsey Vocational Technical School on W.Va. 9 in Hedgesville, W.Va.

"I believe it was called the Farm and Home Show then," Wise said.

That is where the current show had its roots, according to David Hartley, executive director of the home builders association.

"Our first year, we were part of the show at Rumsey and then we went to Martinsburg High School in 1996," Hartley said.

The home builders association struck out on its own then and has been at the mall for the past eight years, Hartley said.

Charlotte Sherman, co-chairman of this year's show, said the mall location is ideal - for parking, traffic and atmosphere. Sherman, a REMAX Enterprises broker, also is part of Sherman Enterprises.

Sherman and Hartley said the planning for this year's show began back in October.

The goal is to put as many home improvement experts under one roof as possible to answer any questions a homeowner or prospective homeowner might have.

The home builders association is a nonprofit organization made up of builders, developers, and product and service suppliers in the home building arena.

Forrest Sprecher and his wife, Gerri, came from Clear Spring to learn as much as they could about the options available in home improvement.

"We are getting ready to build a new home, so we are interested in everything," Sprecher said. "After hearing about the home show, it seemed like a good idea and it has been."

Gerri Sprecher said there was a lot more than she thought there would be at the show, but she was glad.

"There are so many new products and we've seen a lot of them," she said.

The home show continues today from noon to 6 p.m.

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