NORTHPORT, Maine — With more builders, craftspeople and customers feeling “quietly optimistic” about the slowly recovering economy, organizers of the second annual Maine Home and Design Midcoast Show think that attendance at this weekend’s event will double and interest will be high.
“Nobody wants to jinx themselves, but they have high hopes for the summer,” Bob Ferro, the advertising manager for Maine Home and Design magazine, said Thursday. “There’s this quiet, conservative optimism that things are getting better.”
The 2010 show, which is produced by Maine Home and Design, will be held Saturday and Sunday at the Point Lookout conference center. It will showcase 137 exhibitors, including what Ferro calls some of the top architects, builders and craftspeople in the state. There are more high-end artists and art galleries participating in the event this year, and attendees likely will be wowed by the exhibits being crafted by landscape architects, stoneworkers and others, he said.
“The way exhibitors step up to the plate really sets it apart from other shows around the state,” Ferro said. “We want it to be a unique experience. If you come in, we want you to see an experience you can’t find at any other show in the state.”
Interest in the show has been high, and Ferro expects that 4,000 people from around the state and New England will attend — that’s double the number who attended last year. Many of the visitors are well-heeled individuals who have their second and even third homes in Maine, he said.
Jude Golden, director of design for Yankee Barn Homes in Grantham, N.H., hopes that some of those people will want one of his company’s old-fashioned homes. It will be the first year that Yankee Barn Homes has exhibited at this show, and he expects to be able to connect with a new group of clients.
“We love their magazine, and Maine is always a good state for us,” he said in a telephone interview. “We find that if we go to a quality home show, we do very well.”
Golden said that his company has seen an upswing in business since the fourth quarter of last year and that customers appear to be less nervous — and more inclined to open their wallets.
“The uncertainty seems to be largely going away,” he said.
Mike Storer of the Wooden Screen Door Co. in Waldoboro said that business has been picking up around his showroom in the last month, too. The warm weather has helped, too, he said.
“It’s at least quietly optimistic,” he said of the recovery. “I might put it a little bit stronger than that.”
While customers seemed to be taking a “wait and see” attitude about purchasing high-end screen doors last year, things are changing, he said, and he would love it if the Home and Design show helps that trend continue.
“My personal hope is that we’ll have interest at a level we saw two years ago and beyond,” Storer said.
The Maine Home and Design Midcoast Show will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at Point Lookout in Northport. The event costs $10, of which $5 is earmarked for the charitable organization Midcoast Habitat for Humanity. For information, visit the website www.mainehomedesign.com or call 772-3373.