Home Show vendors optimistic biz will increase

By WEEK Producer

February 22, 2013 Updated Feb 22, 2013 at 11:31 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- Brett Aberle says when the construction of new homes slowed down a few years ago it resulted in a modest boost for his Washington-based landscaping business.

"A lot of people update their landscaping because they're staying put instead of moving into a brand new house," said Aberle, who has been operating Aberle Outdoor Designs for 11 years. "Usually in our end of the business when they build a new house we're the last expense to go in."

Aberle is one of the more than 225 of business owners who've invested in a booth at this weekend's Peoria Spring Home Show. And according to figures released by the Peoria Area Association of Realtors he could soon be getting busier.

Area home sales increased by over 16-percent between 2011 and 2012. Home builder Melanie Spurgeon is also seeing numbers that encourage her.

"I had an open house last Sunday and I had over 30 groups of people come through my open house. That's an encouraging sign," Spurgeon said. "Its been a long time since I've had 30 people come to an open house."

Other business owners are also sensing the door opening on new work.

"I think its more of a pent up demand. People have put off repairing things and its time to start replacing it," explained Tom Hoffman, the owner Crawford & Brinkman Door & Window Company.

Joe Privett is preparing for similar movement at his Pekin pool and spa business.

"I would say we're expecting a better year. Our (hot tub) manufacturer is saying maybe expect a 20-percent increase. That's what we're gearing our business towards," Privett said.

But some businesses appear to be built for consistency, no matter what the economic climate.

"The bugs are always going to be there," said Kevin Meischner, owner of Liberty Pest & Termite Control. "We've found that people won't tolerate bugs in their homes."