NORTHPORT, Maine — Area builders, contractors and artisans at the Maine Home + Design Midcoast Show at Point Lookout on Saturday hoped that overflowing parking lots and steady interest were good signs that the recession is on the wane.
“I think the worst is behind us,” said Rick Caroselli, a carpenter at Pine Ridge Carpentry in Hope. “The light’s come through the tunnel, and it’s going out the other side.”
Caroselli’s company was one of more than 100 to exhibit wares and services Saturday and Sunday at the home show, the first that has been produced by Portland’s Maine Home + Design magazine.
Magazine publisher Kevin Thomas said his aim was to make sure that enough potential customers met up with the architects, stone masons and others who crowded the exhibition spaces.
Susan Kelley, the magazine’s editor, said she was thrilled with the show — and the turnout.
“The thing I’m most excited about is the quality of what you see,” Kelley said. “The quality will knock your socks off.”
That seemed to be the case with Jeanne McGowan of Georgetown, who said she was just browsing, but really liked some of the stonework and also the decorative garden fish for sale.
“There’s a lot of ‘wows,’” McGowan said.
Martha Block of Belfast was strolling through the show with her husband. They are getting ready to restore an old farmhouse and said they were shopping for ideas.
“It’s been very instructive,” Block said. “We’re interested in shingle designs and wind power.”
Many of the attendees, and much of the merchandise, seemed to fit comfortably in a niche that Thomas called “discerning.”
Mike Storer works for the Wooden Screen Door Co. of Waldoboro, and some of the doors on display sold for as much as $995.
“It’s the right clientele,” he said of the home show browsers, “upper-end.”
For Jeff Neuman, the owner of Atomic Painting in Appleton, the optimism at the spring show couldn’t have come at a better time.
“It was a very rough winter,” he said. “It was the slowest I’ve ever been in eight years of business. It was just very nerve-wracking.”
Things have started to pick up, he said, and he wanted to participate in the home show to get his name out more.
That was Nathan Deveau’s goal, too. The Lisbon Falls artist and owner of Deveau Gallery and Designs said he had made a couple of good connections to sell his one-of-a-kind “green” pieces, such as the basins that incorporate natural materials, including grass or coffee grounds.
“It’s not bad,” he said of his experience at the show. “It would be better if it was a better economy.”