Hundreds of people will fill Dubuque's Grand River Center this weekend for the 26th annual Tri-State Home and Builders Show.
Attendance at the event may very well be a reflection of a recovered economy.
More than 100 local exhibitors are offering everything from windows and shingles to flooring and cabinets and more.
"A lot of these companies have been in business for years, and they know what they're doing," the event's producer and owner Bill Jackson said.
He puts together six of these shows every year, throughout the Midwest. He said people's spending habits reflect a recovering economy.
"There was a lot of uncertainty out there, not knowing what the job situation was going to be, and so there was some pullback on there," he said, describing the post-recession climate, "but now I'm starting to see it come back."
As visitors swarm the Grand River Center this weekend, Dave Tranel hopes to meet some new customers.
"This has always been a great show for us," he said Friday evening.
He owns Interiors by Design, a family-owned Dubuque company now in its 20th year. "Interiors by Design" is a re-branding and consolidation of the three separate businesses Tranel previously ran jointly: the Floor Emporium, Oak Street Furniture and Amish Heirloom Cabinetry. He calls Interiors by Design now a "one-stop-shop."
Tranel said he saw a rise in consumer confidence right around this time last year, with people fully investing in and committing to home improvement projects.
"We've seen pent-up demand," he said. "Even through the winter now, we're hearing way ahead of time than we did in previous years that, 'We're going to do it...We've got our plans ready, we're going to do it.' So I think it's continuing to improve. We're looking forward to a good year."
He said in previous recent years, people weren't quite committing to jumping into home improvement projects.
"'Maybe next year.' 'Maybe in the fall.' 'Maybe in the summer.' It was a lot of 'maybes,' and now it's, 'We're going to do it,' and that was a big change last year. A good one to see," Tranel said.
Lynn Morrison attended the Tri-State Home and Builders Show Friday evening because she plans on remodeling her kitchen.
"Some new lights, granite countertops and choice on flooring," she said.
Morrison said she sees no shortage of consumer confidence.
"Yeah, I think the economy is bounced back a lot in Dubuque right now," Morrison said. "We notice it at work, we notice it everywhere. It's a good thing."
The 26th annual Tri-State Home and Builders Show continues at Dubuque's Grand River Center Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.
Admission is $5, though kids 12 and under get in free with a paying adult.
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