Anne and Rob Perszyk of Overland Park have paid off their house.
They feel more secure in their jobs at Sprint.
They concede that a few years back, when the economy was suffering more than it is now, it’s unlikely that they would have been eyeing new tile as they did Saturday at the combined Remodeling Show and Metropolitan Lawn & Garden Show held at the American Royal Center.
“In ’08, after the crash happened, I would have thought differently of spending money,” said Rob Perszyk, who’s thinking of remodeling a kitchen and a bathroom.
But now, more confident in signs of a rising economy, they joined thousands of others, making their way through a maze of 550 vendors hawking everything from granite countertops to garage doors, pools to patios, windows to weather stripping.
In 2009, with the U.S. economy in the dumps and the housing market at record lows, this same show brought in about 19,000 visitors, down from 31,000 in the glad times before 2007, said show manager Patrick Riha.
But last year, the show attracted 27,000, and this year, the hope is that by the end of the three-day event (the show continues today from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) attendance will again top 30,000.
“We’ve been seeing, over the last three months, exhibitors talking with confidence,” he said. “They’re seeing more people buying.”
Vendors on Saturday spoke with a glad sense that the slow times had come to an end.
“I did nine kitchens just last week,” said Lee’s Summit’s Rian Kuvellis, 30, a manager at the granite countertop company Kansas Granite Mart.
A concrete fabricator for a decade, he found himself struggling for work when the economy soured, forcing him to change jobs and move his wife and three kids.
“I’m happy now,” he said.
So is Chad Stock, 38, of Platte City, owner of Renovation Pros, a custom cabinet and resurfacing company. Seven years ago, he had a crew of 17, but the bad economy forced him to cut back to himself and his brother and one worker.
“Last fall’s remodeling show, I sold six kitchens out of it,” he said. Things are looking up.
David O’Bara, 37, who runs Sun Deck and Home thinks, the economic slump acted like Darwin’s natural selection, causing weak and fly-by-night companies to shut their doors. As the economy slowly recovers, business is coming back to those who survived.
Jeff Ogg, 45, of Prairie Village, owner of Midwest Skylight, said that marketing plays a role. A “remodeling” show, he said, is a different than a “homes” show. One speaks to redoing what you have; the other often speaks to new construction.
“Before, a lot of people bought a house and, two years later, they would be talking about they would do with the next house they’d build,” Ogg said. “Now, I think even if people have the money, they’re staying put.”
His numbers were down 20 percent at the worst moments of the economy.
“Last year was up from 2010 and 2010 was up from 2009,” he said. “Last year was my best year ever.”