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17th annual Eastern Panhandle Home Show draws more than 235 vendors at Martinsburg Mall

March 09, 2012|By RICHARD F. BELISLE | richardb@herald-mail.com
  • Sunfire Hearth, Patio, and Spa sales representative, Justin Gulick, pitches to Alice and Jack Zickafoose Friday at the Home Show at Martinsburg Mall. The annual show continues through Sunday.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — It was easy to tell a home show was in progress Friday afternoon because people were walking around Martinsburg Mall carrying yardsticks.

Friday was the first day of the three-day show organized by the 210-member Eastern Panhandle Home Builders Association, Inc.

David Hartley, association executive director, said this year’s 17th annual show drew more than 235 vendors, compared with the 2011 show that had slightly more than 200 vendors.

The economic downturn has changed the type of vendors in recent years, from builders involved in new home construction to those who do remodeling and renovations. But he said new home construction is starting to show slow signs of improvement.

“The show gives businesses an opportunity to get their names out and meet with area residents face to face,” Hartley said.

Banks and mortgage companies, new home builders, home improvement and heating and air-conditioning firms were among the main exhibitors.

John Sheppard of The Incredible Awning Co., of Chambersburg, Pa., said his company has had a booth at the show for 15 years.

“We do a lot of work in the Eastern Panhandle,” he said.

“This is our first year here,” said Kevin Clark at the Blue Ridge Carpentry booth. The company does home improvements and additions.

“I don’t know what to expect,” he said at 1 p.m., three hours after the show opened. “I’ve had a lot of questions, and I’ve gotten one appointment already.”

John Digel was talking to a customer about his business, Tri-Çounty Rental. He was surrounded by his inventory, two zero turn lawnmowers, including a monster-looking Cheetah, chainsaws, weed whackers and, in one corner, a table set for an elegant dinner with fine china and candelabras.

Mike Frye was at the Wells Fargo Home Mortgage booth. He said the mortgage business these days, “is trending up, but we still have an uphill battle. We’ve had a lot of questions and two leads.”

Don O’Neil, owner of Potomac Asphalt of Inwood, W.Va., was  having fun greeting people and handing them potato chip clips and measuring tapes.

“Everybody comes by because of these things,” he said.

The large sign in front of the Stephens Painting, LLC booth read: “Painting the Panhandle since 1945.”

John Hardy, owner of the business, said his grandfather, James W. Stephens, started the company with his brother, Walter, painting houses in Shepherdstown, W.Va.

Bluegrass music and children’s entertainment will be on hand during the weekend. The schedule of events is available on www.ephomeshow.com.

The show runs today from 10 a.m. to  9 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. There is no entrance fee.

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