Resort Home Expo This Weekend

by Dave on March 26, 2010

by Michael Short

For years, the Delaware Resorts Home Expo has drawn visitors to Rehoboth Beach.

Now, just as weary Sussex Countians are venturing out after a winter for the record books, the 13th Annual Expo offers a chance to find out what’s new in the home industry. The Expo is meant to offer the full gamut of home services, ranging from landscaping to new alternative energy, realtors, contractors, home decor, mortgage firms, home renovations, heating and air conditioning, porches and fixtures, to name just a few.

“It’s just about anybody in the home services field,” said Bob Benson, who began the Expo with his wife Kathy.

Held on March 27 and 28 at the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center, the Expo is free and the Convention Center is packed with some 50 exhibitors. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

For many, it’s a chance to see what is new and exciting in the industry before they buy or renovate a home. “It’s a great way to launch into the spring season of your home care,” Benson said.

The Expo is presented by the websites RehobothToday.com and LewesToday.com, Comcast Spotlight and the Cape Gazette.

It benefits Sussex County Habitat for Humanity and has benefited charity every year since it began. Since 1991, 48 Habitat for Humanity homes have been built in Sussex County. Seventy adults and 127 children live in those homes.

The list of exhibitors includes, among others: three mortgage, insurance and banking companies as well as companies devoted to aluminum products, waterproofing, sun porches, roofing, pools and spas, pavers and security.
“It’s a forum for information and it’s free,” Benson said. “I think a lot of visitors attend just to see what’s new and different. . . People really do leave with a lot of very good information.”

This year, the Expo has a slightly different twist. There will be both live and silent auctions during the weekend. There’s a live auction Sunday afternoon with each exhibitor invited to auction off two items. Benson is asking that 10 percent of the proceeds from the auctions be donated to Habitat.

An estimated 1,800 to 2,200 people crowd the Home Expo each year. “They come from far and wide to scope out their local market. It’s the whole gamut (of services) and they are all knowledgeable about their businesses,” Benson said.

The event used to be called the Home and Land Expo, but Benson decided to drop the land part of the name. But whatever the name, it’s a popular offering every year.
“Activities, events and shows always create additional excitement and interest,” said Carol Everhart, executive director of the Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce. “Activities give our guests an additional reason to visit. The Expo not only provides interest…it provides our business community the opportunity to showcase their products and connect with the customer directly …all under one roof.”

“Every year at the Expo, we have the opportunity to introduce crowds of people and the great exhibitors at the event to our mission of providing simply, decent and affordable housing. Some people become donors, others volunteers and many contribute to the ReStore,” said Kevin Gilmore, Executive Director of Sussex Habitat for Humanity.

Westminster Presbyterian Church, which volunteers to run the concession stand at the Expo, also donates all proceeds to Habitat.

“The Expo is a unique opportunity for prospective residents considering a retirement or vacation home in the area to get the lay of the land in a single visit. Local residents seeking home improvement values and services will also enjoy show specials from the wide array of exhibitors,” according to a press release for the Expo.

Auctions, door prizes and drawings are meant to create a relaxed atmosphere. “We try to keep it fun and festive. It’s a family event,” Benson said. “There’s no reason not to come.”

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