Homeowners think spring at annual HBA show


By Sean Barron

news@vindy.com

BOARDMAN

The Mahoning Valley and much of the country may be in the throes of winter, but that didn’t stop Becky Recher from talking a little spring.

“Even now, people don’t want to clean their gutters, so they think ahead,” Recher said, referring to materials she’s selling to protect people’s gutters from pollen buildup, pine needles and other debris common in spring.

Recher is a marketing director for Hudson-based Leaf Filter North Inc., which was founded about 10 years ago. She also is among the estimated 80 local and regional vendors who are taking part in the 2015 Home Builders & Remodelers Association of the Mahoning Valley’s Home & Garden Show at Mr. Anthony’s Banquet Center, 7440 South Ave.

The free event provides an opportunity for area consumers to meet local businesses face to face and receive advice and tips regarding home-improvement needs, noted Jennie Brewer, the HBA’s executive officer.

The show, in its 64th year, continues from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today at Mr. Anthony’s.

Recher explained that the company, which has 25 locations nationwide, sells a surgical-grade stainless-steel and plastic system that prevents clogging and corrosion. The product protects new and existing gutters from leaf buildup, shingle grit and other potentially harmful conditions, she noted.

Other merchandise for sale includes garage doors, windows, hardwood flooring, patio enclosures, roofing, invisible fences for dogs, gas and propane grills, masonry and windows and siding.

The show also features cooking demonstrations as well as vendors with pointers on topics such as adding weather stripping to homes, removing mold and mildew from basements, properly leveling concrete and installing heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems.

It won’t be long before warmer weather returns, so some attendees likely had saving energy on their minds when they spoke to John Bartos III.

“We manufacture our windows and doors to our specifications,” explained Bartos, a sales representative with Girard-based House Doctors Window & Door Co. “In the winter, they keep the cold air out and in the summer they keep the cool air in.”

Bartos’ father, John Bartos Jr., and his uncle, Joe Costarella, own the business they founded 30 years ago. House Doctors does not use subcontractors; instead, the business’s employees perform all of the installation and other work, the younger Bartos continued.

The custom-made doors and windows are designed around customers’ price ranges and likings, including color and style of glass, he said, adding that the company also is active in the community.

Those who were contemplating adding a new shower or bathtub to their homes probably found Midge Baechel helpful.

“We can take your original bathtub out and replace it with a deeper one or with a walk-in shower,” said Baechel, who works for Bath Fitter’s Kent office.

Bath Fitter, which debuted in 1984, specializes in selling and installing acrylic tubs and showers, domed ceilings, shower bases, wainscoting and other related products. The business has locations across the U.S. and in Canada.

“No caulking is used, so there’s no way for water to get behind the wall,” she explained to two people who inquired about one of the tubs on display. “They’re guaranteed for as long as you own your home.”

The HBA is celebrating its 70th anniversary and the Home & Garden Show strives to bring in many knowledgeable vendors each year and have them readily available to address people’s questions and concerns, explained the HBA’s Brewer.

“It’s nice that we’re big enough to have a large variety of businesses here, yet small enough that people can spend time with the owners of the companies who are here at the vendor booths,” she added. “It’s a lot about building relationships.”

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