Traverse City Record-Eagle

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February 2, 2013

Home Builders annual expo starts today

ACME — Up to 3,000 people are expected to attend this weekend's Home Builders Association of Grand Traverse Area's 29th annual expo.

The home expo runs today through Sunday and encompasses everything homeowners need to build, remodel and revamp, all under one roof at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa, said Kerry Gartland, the association's marketing and events coordinator.

This year's list of more than 100 vendors includes builders, interior designers, and experts in heating and plumbing, bedding, financial institutions and more.

The home expo evolved into a lifestyle show over the past few years, Gartland said, with a cruise line and a chiropractor on the vendor list, and entertainment and grill demonstrations from Mad Dog & Merrill.

"This show this year is very diverse and eclectic," Gartland said. "It's not anymore just for builders. It's what is attractive to the public."

The 127 vendor booths have been sold out for a month, a promising sign after the expo's relocation last year from Traverse City East Middle School.

Gartland said the event's growth comes amid a housing market rebound and people realize they can "loosen their belt a little bit."

"People are starting to be able to get construction loans a little bit easier than they have ... . All over we're seeing permits being pulled for new builds and constructions loans," she said.

This will be the 14th expo for Stratus Marble & Granite of Traverse City.

Owner Brad Jurik said the event secures face-to-face time with potential customers who may not walk into the business' showroom.

It has also attracted clients who weren't interested in a project at the time, but kept the business in mind for the future. Stratus Marble & Granite recently did business with a customer in Houghton who attended the expo two years ago.

Dale Bush, owner of First Class Closets in Traverse City and a Home Builders Association board member, met people from Sault Ste. Marie at the event.

People from across the state who haven't quite pulled the trigger on a project or build attend year-after-year, Gartland said.

Bush said there's no better place to shop.

"Lots of vendors will be displaying new products on the market this year," he said.

The expo runs today from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa.

Admission is $5. A list of vendors can be found at hbagta.com.

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