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Home show vendors say storms leave room for improvement

Home show vendors say storms leave room for improvement

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ATLANTIC CITY — Bill Lloyd remembers when Hurricane Sandy hit South Jersey.

It meant his awning business got really busy.

Lloyd, the owner of Awnings by Bill Lloyd in Avalon, said people wanted motorized awnings to replace the fixed ones damaged in the 2012 storm.

From repairing storm damage to installing new bathrooms and upgraded counter tops, the home improvement industry has been a strong segment of the broader housing market.

Discretionary home improvement spending increased by nearly $6 billion between 2011 and 2013, according to a report last year from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University.

The average homeowners invested about 1 percent of the value of their home in improvements in 2013, the report states, or $2,000 annually for a $200,000 home.

Thomas Maher, co-owner of LBI Bars and Grills, said he is competing with the outdoor kitchen and grilling industry, which is geared toward beach towns.

Maher, a former boatbuilder, said his grills and outdoor kitchens can rotate depending which way the wind blows from the ocean.

“This is a grill meant for the shore area, and we’re trying to eliminate barbecue grills that rust out — which these never will,” he said.

Lloyd and Maher are among the 150 exhibitors at the Atlantic City Home Show at the Convention Center. The show started Friday and runs until Sunday.

One of the themes of the show is products geared to South Jersey residents who may still be restoring property after Sandy and Winter Storm Jonas.

Claire DiBerardino, marketing promoter for SRA Home Products Inc., is familiar with South Jersey weather and its effect on residents’ homes.

“We were responsible for fixing thousands of people’s homes, whether it had to be a lifted sunroom or new additions once Sandy hit,” DiBerardino said.

SRA focuses on remote-control sunrooms and additions that withstand flooding and hurricanes.

“All you have to do is push a button, and it will close and raise for you,” DiBerardino said.

Townsquare Media, which is hosting the event, projects 3,000 attendees over the course of the weekend.

Jonathan Levin, director of Townsquare, said the purpose of the show is to offer home-improvement opportunities to local customers.

“The goal for the weekend is for us to put the people in the room that they want to meet,” Levin said. “We bring the people down, and our clients come back because they get business from it.”

Ken Ranonis, an installer for Granite Transformations of West Berlin, Camden County, said the company has been coming to the Atlantic City Home Show for years.

“They come to the home show because they have a variety of needs but most of it is home improvement, and kitchens and bathrooms are a big part of that,” Ranonis said.

Granite Transformations focuses on granite for countertops — a job that takes only one day of installation, he said.

“There’s no fuss or demolition,” Ranonis said.

Contact: 609-272-7258

MReil@pressofac.com

Copy desk chief / comics blogger

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Print Director

Press copy editor since 2006, copy desk chief since 2014. Masters in journalism from Temple University, 2006. My weekly comics blog, Wednesday Morning Quarterback, appears Wednesday mornings at PressofAC.com.

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