Builders show biggest ever

March 17, 2006|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. - From the companies that lend the money to build or buy a house to the people who landscape the yard and everything in between, visitors likely will be able to find it at this weekend's Franklin County Builders Show.

The show, now in its 23rd year, will feature 234 vendors, 25 more than last year and the most ever, said Tom Hanks, the executive officer of the Franklin County Builders Association. He said he expects 12,000 to 15,000 people to walk through the doors of the former Lowe's building in the Franklin Shopping Center on U.S. 30 just east of Exit 16 of Interstate 81.

Franklin County has added about 8,000 new residents from 2000 to 2005, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates and that, along with low mortgage rates, is fueling the construction of residential and commercial properties. According to the County Tax Services Office, 4,685 building permits worth $272 million were issued in 2004, up from 3,108 valued at $166 million in 2003.


The 2004 permits included 1,132 for single-family homes, up from 780 the year before, according to tax office records.

The building boom continues and Hanks said vendors have been working on displays since Monday to tap into the market of those looking to build, buy, furnish or make additions to homes and businesses.

"A lot of shows are what I call 'hot tub shows,'" Hanks said Thursday as crews from the vendors were setting up displays. To be sure, there are companies selling hot tubs, spas and saunas, but Hanks called the variety of displays "phenomenal."

"If there's something you want for the home, if you walk through here, you'll find it," Hanks said. Companies selling awnings, windows, fireplaces, water systems, lawn tractors, garage doors, millwork and alternative energy systems are joined by a wide range of contractors, landscapers, real estate, financial services and insurance firms.

On Thursday, Mark Kelsey, the owner of Kelsey Springs, and Cory Shaleen, the owner of Pond Appeal, were putting the finishing touches on a large garden pool just inside the building entrance, complete with waterfall, lighting, landscaping and expensive Japanese koi.

Shaleen and Kelsey each opened their Chambersburg businesses within the past few years and are first-timers at the show.

Jessee McMath, a landscape designer for Rosenbaum's Landscaping & Nursery of Chambersburg. was also bringing the outdoors inside with an elaborate landscaped backyard patio kitchen that includes a propane fireplace.

Among the vendors is The Woods Co. of Chambersburg, which recycles wood from old barns into flooring, paneling and other products.

If you go

What: Franklin County Builders Show

Where: Former Lowe's building in the Franklin Shopping Center on U.S. 30 just east of Exit 16 of Interstate 81.

When: Today, noon to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.

Admission costs $2. Food and refreshments will be sold.

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