OXFORD, Maine — The president of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce said Thursday that the impact of the Oxford Hills manufacturing housing business is significant to the area and the state.
“The impact is far and wide,” said Dana Connors at a press conference at the Oxford Municipal Building to kick off the 10th annual Oxford Hills Home Show. It runs Friday through Sunday along Route 26 in Oxford and Route 121 in Mechanic Falls.
It is the largest housing show in New England with the largest confluence of retail manufactured home builders in one area in New England, according to information from the Oxford Hills Chamber of Commerce. Hundreds of potential home builders and buyers primarily from Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts are expected to come to the Oxford Hills this weekend for the show.
Connors was one of several speakers at the event, which was attended by representatives of the manufactured home businesses and community and business leaders.
“We used to look at modular housing as the alternative. You can’t say that any longer,” Connors said.
This is the 10th year competitive manufactured housing businesses in the area have combined to host the spring home show under the umbrella of the Housing Capital of New England, a group of competitive manufactured home businesses that band together in an attempt to make the industry in Oxford Hills stronger.
The group is represented by five local businesses: Schiavi Home Builders and Twin Town Homes on Route 26 in Oxford, Design First Homes Inc. on Route 121 in Mechanic Falls, and Turn Key Homes and Alternative Modular Homes-Palmer Development Corp., both on Route 26 in Oxford.
Ron McKinnon, a business development specialist who serves in Gov. Paul LePage’s administration, said the ability of five competitors to come together to establish the Housing Capital of New England organization is unique.
“We use you as an example of what industries should do,” he said.
McKinnon told the group he has seen firsthand how manufactured homes benefit new homeowners. He will have Easter dinner with his family at his daughter’s modular home on Cheabeague Island in Casco Bay, which was designed by KBS Building Systems and was shipped on four barges for setup. He said another daughter is expected to be in the Oxford Hills this weekend to look at the same type of construction for her new home.
The island also received a Schiavi custom-built unit that they use as a day care center on the island.
Andrea Quaid, representative to Rep. Mike Michaud, read a statement from the senator in which he said modular building means that “a new home is still an option for Maine families today.”
Brian Shibles, chief financial officer for Norway Savings Bank, the signature sponsor of the show, said the bank will be on hand this week working with retailer to help customers finance any purchase.
Kristin L. Jones of Twin Town Homes said they are excited about the show and are looking toward a busy year of sales.
“Twin Town is excited with the amount of activity we are seeing at our sales center,” Jones said. “With all the activity we are seeing a wide variety of customers. There isn’t just one particular type of home that people are interested in purchasing over another. We are working on many large modular projects, including a duplex as well as numerous double-wide and single-section projects.”
Jones said the business is stocking more than 18 models for customers to view, including two new models, a 28-by-56-foot Marlette modular ranch and a 28-by-42-foot modular custom Cape. An additional five to six new models will be brought on-site during the coming season, she added.