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Winnipeggers wise to home renovations Kitchen, bath show draws crowd

Posted: 01/14/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0

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Allan Zimmer hopes Sunday's visit to the Kitchen and Bath Renovation Show will ease his aching back and help him enjoy his first good night's sleep in a decade.

He and his wife bought a luxurious bed that, with remote control, offers conveniences such as changing firmness and shifting positions for different parts of the body. He even bargained for free pillows.

Further down the aisle, a display by the Maxwell Hutterite Colony stopped passersby cold with a slab of stunning granite, dark chocolate with wide, gold serpentine waves.

The polished granite was the size of a wall. And it probably weighed a tonne.

Shipped from South America, it drew in potential customers.

"It's granite. Totally natural. From the ground," said Ed Wipf, crisp in his traditional Hutterite white shirt, black pants and suspenders.

The Manitoba Home Builders Association (MHBA) organizes the show, along with its twin event, the Home Expressions Show, which will mark its 39th year when it opens in March.

This weekend's event at the Winnipeg Convention Centre featured hundreds of artisans, manufacturers and sales staff for everything from the hottest new appliances to jet-equipped slipper tubs and sparkling kitchens.

Michael Moore, president of the MHBA, said the annual show has "a very educated consumer."

"The people who come here know exactly what they want. They'll go to half a dozen exhibits, narrow it down to one or two and go back and ask their questions. Then they'll go and see the dealers (showrooms)," said Moore.

Winnipeg ties with St. John's, N.L., for the highest rate of household renovations in the country, said Moore. Some 58 per cent of us will renovate our four walls and a roof. -- often more than once.

Those roots are planted in the city's hard-earned reputation for bargains and the state of its housing stock, which is among the oldest in Canada, next to Halifax and Montreal.

Final attendance numbers won't be in until mid-week, but on Sunday, the place was jammed.

"They were lined up to get in at noon... and then there was another crowd who came in after the Jets' practice," said Moore. The second crowd stood out, still wearing the Jets jerseys they donned for the team's public practice.

alexandra.paul@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 14, 2013 A4

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