Attendance Up At Tulsa Home And Garden Show

Sunday, March 15th 2009, 6:10 pm
By: News On 6

By Chris Wright, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- The Greater Tulsa Home and Garden Show wrapped up Sunday night at Expo Square.

Organizers say that, surprisingly, attendance was up during the four-day event.

Many industries are struggling in the midst of this recession, but nationwide, few are hurting as badly as the housing sector.

Still, vendors at the Tulsa Home and Garden Show say the tough times have created new opportunities.

Despite the tough economy, more people showed up this year than last. Organizers say attendance was up about 15 percent on each of the event's four days.

"It is just a little bit (surprising), but I'll tell you what, we kind of knew because we studied some numbers that Tulsa is not hurting like the rest of the country," said Vince Mims, Tulsa Home and Garden chairman.

But that doesn't necessarily mean everyone was looking to buy new. Many were interested in improving what they already own.

"I'm looking to remodel my kitchen and the floor, and I'm looking for some new ideas," homeowner Charlotte Neller said.

Vendors say they saw scores of homeowners like Neller, people looking to hold on to what they have instead of putting it on the market.

"Definitely wanting to stay in their existing houses and spend a little bit of money," Huntsted Renovations' Darby Thomas said.

"They don't want to go out and buy a new house at this point," said Rick Arcide with Ultimate Kitchens. "They want to remodel their own house, and enjoy it. We've been seeing a lot of that, definitely."

Another big trend at the show this year is insulation as more people look to become energy efficient in their homes.

"People want to get more insulation in existing homes, whether it be exterior walls or in the attic," Tulsa Energy Control's Willie Wortham said.

These are all signs that homeowners are trying to make the best of a bad situation, vendors say. They were also getting a lot of stimulus questions because the bill includes tax credits for people who make their homes more energy efficient.

The Tulsa Home and Garden Show remains one of the largest consumer shows in the country run entirely by volunteers.