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Home Show builds interest

March 05, 2005|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. - Fill a shopping bag, but spend not a penny.

It's possible at the 10th annual Home Show, where those strolling through Martinsburg Mall can pick up an array of free items, including pens, key chains, mugs, yardsticks, plastic cups, piggy banks, popcorn, candy, pencils and even golf tees.

Provided they are willing to part with their contact information, visitors also can enter drawings for several goods or services, including a fire pit, a home alarm system, a gift basket, closet reorganization and a trip to Kings Dominion.

Presented by the Eastern Panhandle Home Builders Association, the three-day home show this year features 168 exhibitors, the largest in its existence, said David Hartley, an executive officer with the association.

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The show continues today and Sunday.

Sheila Soccino and her brother, Jeff Smith, both of Martinsburg, were walking through the exhibits Friday afternoon.

"I'm just kind of getting some ideas," said Soccino, who owns a lot on which she one days hopes to build a house.

With a variety of exhibitors - from lending companies to builders to hot tub sellers - Soccino said she was impressed with the show.

"I think it's great to have everybody in one location," she said.

One of the more eye-catching exhibits was for Mock's Greenhouse and Landscaping in Berkeley Springs, W.Va.

Owner Paul Mock Sr. had a water garden on display, complete with live plants and goldfish. One of Mock's employees was dressed as the wizard Merlin - to fit with a theme "Enjoy some magic with a water garden."

That's what the sign on "Merlin's" chest read.

"Having a water garden is sort of magical. You take a piece of property and have a little ecosystem of your own that combines water, fish, plants, (and that appeals to) all the senses. Sight. Hearing. Touch," Mock said. "Magic. We make it happen."

Mock, who serves clients in the four-state region, said it was his second year exhibiting at the Home Show. He gained some business after last year's show.

Not all who visited were looking for assistance with a building, renovation or home improvement project.

"(We came to) see what they're auctioning off," said Pat Cookus of Martinsburg.

She and her husband, George Cookus, were looking over the items offered through a silent auction. They said they also had three hours to kill while waiting to pick up their daughter from work.

Last year, the couple, both of whom are retired, bid on a leather recliner, but lost it by $2. They're trying to win it again this year.

Money raised from the auction is used by the Home Builders Association to help with community projects. One project the association currently is working on is with Habitat for Humanity, Hartley said.

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