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‘Supermarket’ of Home Ideas at RI Show

February 7, 2008

ROCK ISLAND -- Gary Trenkamp and his wife, Linda, drove 40 miles Friday to check out the latest in home remodeling products."We want to see what's new," Mr. Trenkamp -- of Preston, Iowa, near Maquoketa -- said at the Quad Cities Homebuilders and Remodelers Home Show at the QCCA Expo Center.

While a similar show also is taking place this weekend in his hometown, Mr. Trenkamp said he enjoys the greater scope and selection here. They've come down three times in the past five years to get ideas for their 25-year-old home.

"You have a lot broader selection, and more things to look at," Mr. Trenkamp said, noting he's considering a new roof and new floors. Mrs. Trenkamp added: "I've got way too many ideas."

With 170 vendors filling more than 65,000 square feet of floor space, the show certainly boasts something for everyone.

"It's like a supermarket of home improvement and home building," said Dave Burrows, home-show director and head of the Quad Cities Homebuilders Association.

"If you're going to do windows, we have 10 to 12 window dealers," he said. "If you need siding, we have 10 to 12 guys. Heating, a half dozen. Room additions, eight or nine.

"One of the secrets of this show is you can get a month's worth of shopping done in one afternoon," he said. "It's a real popular show," not only for homeowners, but for the area contractors.

While the show is timed during the winter to get people thinking of springtime improvements, many local companies emphasized their environmentally-friendly bona-fides.

"Go Green," exclaimed a display from Rock Island's Crawford Company. Awareness and use of "green" heating and cooling systems has been growing nationwide in recent years, said Crawford vice president Jim Maynard.

"It has been picking up, but here it just hasn't picked up yet," he said of local residential customers. "Everybody is doing it in the industry. It's more in new construction and commercial construction. It's easier to do that way, rather than go back and retrofit."

Standing in front of a replica of its Bettendorf River's Edge storefront, Kristi Bjorklund of Kitchen Consultants sang the praises of her "green" cabinets, which help improve the indoor and outdoor environment.

"We're actually the first in the Quad-Cities to sell an all-green cabinet line," she said of the Kansas-based Koch and Company products. They're mainly made of biodegradable wheatboard, without using formaldehyde and surpassing stringent air-quality standards.

"With the talk about global warming, people are starting to look at going green," Ms. Bjorklund said. Though many green products are more expensive up front, they are much longer lasting, she said.Going green in a different way is Sunrooms by Design, a Port Byron-based business that offered a sleek, colorful gallery of framed photos of its projects.

"They're all custom built," co-owner Lorri Stalsberg said of the stylish home additions, all featuring large windows that often look out onto a backyard or woods. The new rooms can range from $10,000 to $110,000, she said.

Many times, they convert a screened-in porch to a fully-enclosed room with new windows and new furnishings. Of an East Moline couple, co-owner Rod Stalsberg said: "They used to vacation in Puerto Vallarta. Now they vacation in their backyard."

If you go:

The Quad Cities Homebuilders and Remodelers Home Show continues from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. today, and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at the QCCA Expo Center, 2621 4th Ave., Rock Island. Admission is $6 for adults and free for youth ages 16 and younger (with a paid adult).The comedic duo The Duct Tape Guys will perform in the north hall at 2, 4 and 6 p.m. today and at 10:30 a.m., noon and 1:30 p.m. Sunday.