Carlos Reichenshammer prepares for the Southern Oregon Spring Home Show Thursday at the Jackson County Fairgrounds and Exposition Park. - Julia Moore

Spring Home Show starts Friday

CENTRAL POINT — With a milestone anniversary coming up for the Home Builders Association of Jackson County's annual Spring Home Show, Carlos Reichenshammer figured it was worth pulling out all the stops.

The association's executive director wanted to pack as many vendors as he could into Compton Arena for this weekend's 30th show and has twice reworked the arena's booths to accommodate 275 exhibits. Given the immense economic headwind contractors and suppliers have encountered over the past five years, the participation is eye-opening.

"Our goal was to match last year's expectations, and we exceeded them," said Reichenshammer, whose staff called every vendor who has appeared over the past three years. "It didn't take long for people to think about reservations."

In the past, the Spring Home Show spilled over into a neighboring building, but rather than spread things out, organizers took a more-the-merrier approach.

"It generates more energy," Reichenshammer said. "It creates full aisles so people have to slow down and take a look at the products. We created 12 additional spaces a month ago and six more on Tuesday, and we still have a waiting list."

George Gargus was on a waiting list until a landscape architecture firm pulled out, opening space for the custom floor woodworker to display his wares. "Things are tough in the construction industry, but everyone knows it's a good venue to get your name out there," said Gargus, who has taken part a half-dozen times. I'm a word-of-mouth type business and in general I don't have to solicit business. But it's good to meet people I've seen in the past and network."

For the first time, the Spring Show is really in the spring. "It was always the second week of February, but we decided because it was a 'spring' home show to move it to the last week of March," Reichenshammer said. "We've had lots of cold and rain, and a lot of people liked the idea. It's better for the landscapers and roofers because it's closer to income tax time, and people will have some refund money. They are also done with paying for Christmas purchases and thinking about sprucing up their homes — putting in kitchen cabinets, painting or doing tile."

Everything from seminars on special mortgages for fixer-upper remodels to green building practices will be available in addition to products and artisans.

A former contractor himself, Reichenshammer plans to shake lots of hands and do plenty of listening over the next three days. "We'll see what the public response is," he said.

The home show moved to the Jackson County Fairgrounds and Exposition Park from the Medford Armory in 2003 and has drawn crowds in excess of 20,000. "I can see optimism coming from the vendors themselves," Reichenshammer said. "Things are picking up slowly, but people are beginning to get work. They see that and once that starts they want to be part it."

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or email

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