3/17/2007 - Building Boom Boosts Asheville Home Show
by Dale Neal, Asheville Citizen-Times
ASHEVILLE Ken Workman of Etowah couldnt resist the sound of running water on the second level of the Asheville Civic Center, where the WNC Home Show got under way Friday.
A working waterfall with rocks, live plants and sweet-smelling mulch highlighted the designs of GardenWerks. Mark Allen, Steven Townsend and company President Joanna Bender took about 18 to 20 hours to put the outdoor water feature in place, but the payoff could be big for the West Asheville landscaping company.
We get about 80 percent of our business from the home show, and the other 20 percent is usually word-of-mouth, said Allen, a design specialist.
Workman, a regular at the show, couldnt resist the waterfall or many of the booths featuring everything from home theaters to solar-powered saunas, kitchen appliances to bed mattresses, lumber to carpet.
Put me in a hardware store or a home show, Im a happy man, said Workman, who has bought items for his home from several vendors in the past.
With about 200 vendors to browse on three levels of the Civic Center, the home show should draw up to 12,000 visitors this week, said John Patterson of Western Carolina Productions. When we started in 1976, it was 50 salesmen with business cards for siding, Patterson joked.
With the booming construction industry in Western North Carolina, the home show has taken off. The show is really dependent on the economic conditions in the region, Patterson said.
The show runs the gamut of local builders, from modular homes to custom-built 8,000-square-foot timbered mansions, Patterson said, with all price points in between.
Many members of the sponsoring Asheville Home Builders Association got a preview Thursday, according to executive officer Caroline Sutton. We try to encourage builders to come through to see whats happening in the market.