WEST ALLIS – Over the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has turned many homes into schools, day cares, gyms and offices.
And some folks are ready for a change.
“People have spent more time at home so they’re noticing things they want to change, or they’re spending more time at home so they want to modify their home to fit that shift in their lifestyle,” said Natalie Dulka, a designer at Allen Kitchen and Bath.
And with a hot real-estate market, some homeowners who might have been considering purchase of a new home are looking to remodel.
Despite nationwide shortages of some construction materials, the demand for renovations and home improvements is higher than ever.
Ideas and contractors can be found this weekend at the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) Home and Remodeling Show. More than 70 exhibitors will display products and services.
“There will be a great variety of different types of contractor that will be there to service any type of home improvement that would be needed,” said Diane Welhouse, executive director of NARI Milwaukee. Contractors include specialists in roofing, plumbing, remodeling, and several other fields.
Welhouse said that kitchen, bathroom, and office space renovations have been popular since the pandemic started.
“People come in here knowing exactly where they want to go, specifically looking for bathrooms or kitchens,” added Sondra Dewitt, a representative from Window Select.
TightSeal Exteriors & Baths, an exhibitor at the fair, has seen $700,000 to $800,000 more in revenue this year compared to this time last year, according to Jacob Hahn, brand ambassador and marketing manager at TightSeal.
The supply, however, can’t keep up with the demand.
Welhouse said many businesses have had to make adjustments to production. Window manufacturers may take six to 10 months to get windows, siding and roofing manufacturers have reduced selection options, and some fixture companies aren’t even taking orders.
“Consumers have to get on the schedule now, because waiting or hoping that this is all going to resolve itself next month isn’t going to happen,” Welhouse said.
“We’re encouraging consumers to come out and start this process.”
NARI is a trade association, servicing members involved with the home improvement industry and acting as a resource for consumers to find contractors.
“We love doing the shows and we love providing this connection between our members and the consumer,” Welhouse said.
Carrie and John Gustafson recently moved from Washington state back to Mequon after 40 years.
“It’s an older home so this was the perfect opportunity to come out and find the help we need,” Carrie Gustafson said.
Before the pandemic, the NARI show typically attracted about 5,000 visitors. Welhouse expects a similar turnout this weekend, thanks to homeowners wanting to make some improvements.
The show is at the Exposition Center at State Fair Park Friday through Sunday, beginning at 10 a.m. each day. Tickets are $8 in advance or $10 at the door for adults. Parking on the grounds is $6 or there is street parking available near the park.