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Fredericton Home Show returns after two-year hiatus

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The Fredericton Home Show has returned after two years for New Brunswickers to learn how to plan home improvement projects from experts. The show’s manager said it’s great to be back in person this year and see people coming out to do business. Nathalie Sturgeon reports – Apr 30, 2022

The Fredericton Home Show has returned after two years.

Before COVID-19, New Brunswickers would gather annually to learn how to plan home improvement projects from experts.

“There’s everything you need for basic home improvements, maintenance projects, major renovations and new construction,” reads the event’s website.

Brian McKiel, the show’s manager, said it’s great to be back in person this year and see people coming out to do business.

“We’re excited to have the exhibitors back,” he said.

There are 112 booths at the new venue for the show at the Aitken University Centre. In previous years, the show was held at the New Brunswick Exhibition Grounds.

“The general public are here for a reason,” he said in an interview on Saturday.

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“They are here to do business with exhibitors they see in the show. They want to buy the products and services they see and do business with the exhibitors they see.”

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As McKiel spoke about the process of re-organizing the show after two years, hundreds flowed up and down the aisles, examining the various exhibitors.

McKiel said this year, the big thing is energy and energy efficiency.

“There is no doubt the number one item this year is electric, solar power, or anything to do with energy,” he said. “I think that our world has changed and evolved.”

He said people are wanting to be more educated about how to be both energy-efficient and reduce the cost associated with energy, especially with soaring prices and inflation.

“We’re exactly 10 years (from) when we introduced heat pumps for your home, and every home in the next couple of years will probably have an EV (electric vehicle) charger.”

NB Power was on hand to promote rebate programs for energy-efficient cars and homes.

Mary O’Neill started working for NB Power two years ago, so this was her first in-person experience with the company.

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“Well, it’s really great to be in person here, meeting with customers, and getting to talk about our programs and services,” she said. “This is a really great experience for me.”

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The province’s utility had an electric vehicle on display as well as an EV charger.

Tracey Keenan from Budget Blinds was also excited to be back in person.

“It’s great to be back in front of the clients and seeing our existing clients and some potentially new ones,” she said. “It’s really great to see everybody out.”

Keenan said the past two years have been quite challenging without the access to people the show provides, especially since opening two new locations in Fredericton and Saint John.

“It’s really great to have it back to get exposure for our new business,” she said.

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The housing market has seen skyrocketing demand, both for existing homes and new home construction.

Steven Peabody knows that all too well. He works for Ironwood Homes based in Woodstock, which manufactures modular homes.

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He said while demand has grown for new housing construction, the number of builders has remained fairly steady, meaning a growing waitlist for homes.

“The building community is only so big,” he said.

“Even though there is excess demand right now, there is not all of a sudden a whole bunch of new builders who can build all these new homes. The reality is wait times go out, and that’s what we’re seeing, and its the topic of conversation every day and all day here at the show.”

Modular homes are unique, in that they are built in sections and pieced together once they arrive on the lot. It is also customizable.

These days, though, it can take up to a year or more to get a home manufactured, according to Peabody.

“It’s very busy in Atlantic Canada,” he said.

The Fredericton Home Show continues on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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