Home and Garden Show features something for do-it-yourselfers, leave-it-aloners alike

Tony Casey • Feb 17, 2014 at 1:10 PM

Her husband dropping the ball on his chore list is why Johnson City’s Laura Hodge was in attendance at the 45th Annual Home Sweet Home & Garden Show on Saturday.

The event, put on by the Johnson City Area Home Builders Association at the Freedom Hall Civic Center, features displays and booths from about 80 vendors. It concludes today, opening at 11 a.m. and wrapping up at 5 p.m.

Tim Hodge, depending on how you look at it, would be the beneficiary of a wide array of professional home construction and home improvement-related vendors.

Laura jokingly said she was fed up with a handful of tiny projects, some of which had not been completed with her prodding for upward of 10 years, so she went to the show on a mission. If her husband wasn’t going to get to those projects, she’d “outsource” the work to a company that would.

Two options that impressed her were the House Doctors and The Honey Do Service in Johnson City, which both provide estimates and work for all types of odd jobs and big jobs. “No job too small” is their motto, something that might be helpful for the Hodges.

“I don’t want to do it today” is the excuse Laura said her husband frequently makes, giving her an opportunity to pay someone else to complete the work. She said the work includes tasks like replacing the latch on a gate.

Her husband shrugged off his wife’s mission, and said he was enjoying seeing what each vendor had to offer.

“I like the hands-on stuff,” he said, complimenting the vendors that show or present their products, giving a nod to Leaf Filter. Consumer Reports said the company is the top-rated gutter filter. Its display showed water cascading down a small section of roof, collecting in the gutters below.

Leaf Filter’s Steve Guttenberg said the show is a great way to get his product out there and to answer potential customers’ questions.

He travels to shows like this one many weekends of the year, and says he’s glad he gets his gas mileage reimbursed by his company. Guttenberg has a gutter filled with chocolates, and offers some to each attendee because, as he says, “Leaf Filter is the sweetest gutter company.”

Companies in metal roofing, decorative concrete, home appliances, landscaping, siding, windows, propane, cabinets and many more were present to show off their skills and goods, but non-construction companies including banks and law enforcement agencies were at the show as well, either offering services related to homebuilding or to simply give the public peace of mind.

Christopher Wright, a licensed massage therapist with Jones Chiropractic Clinic, said the company’s been coming out to the show for years, and sees it as a valuable way to promote the clinic.

The Carter and Washington County sheriff’s departments were on hand to answer any questions guests might have, and to also give information on home security. The Johnson City Police Department had a booth, too, and Sgt. Jim Tallmadge said they like to have a presence with the public, showing they’re available, with easy access.

Two things were beneficial about the show’s spot on the calendar: It falls in the middle of tax season, when some might be getting sizeable tax returns and looking to reinvest in their homes, and is also at a time of year when people are looking ahead to construction-related projects.

JCAHBA Executive Director Lisa Luster highlighted these points, and also pointed at the value to companies of being in the public’s eye.

“Repetition builds reputation,” Luster said of the companies that come and stay present in the minds of homeowners. She said attendees might not have an immediate need for some of the companies, but will think of them immediately if a project presents itself.

Luster said many people hold onto the JCAHBA leaflet, just in case they need to reference it in the upcoming months to find a company to help them with a project.

One of her favorite aspects to the show, she said, is seeing the companies work together in providing high-quality professional work for the public. Luster says they have a high standard for the companies allowed in the association, and won’t allow just any “Chuck in a truck” business.

She’s proud to see competitors recommending each other to customers looking to have work done. This type of professionalism benefits the customer, Luster said.

“They work together, and the public wins,” Luster said.

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