ENFIELD — Area contractors and home improvement specialists set up display booths this weekend at the Enfield Square mall to capitalize on the pandemic-induced home improvement boom.
Mark Varteresian, was among those who attended the 52nd annual North Central Connecticut Chamber of Commerce Home and Product Show over Saturday and Sunday, hoping to spruce up the home in Springfield he moved into last week.
He said he wasn’t looking for anything fancy as he perused the display tables but stopped to talk to a few home improvement specialists about possibly redoing his floors and replacing his windows.
Vartesian isn’t alone, as home improvement projects have skyrocketed over the past year. The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically increased the amount of time people spend in their homes. Daily commutes to work became going down the stairs to the home office, and canceled summer vacations were replaced with backyard escapades. Those changes led to a rise in home renovations, and home improvement specialists saw business increase.
Phil Skrzypek of Enfield Carpet and Flooring said that “without question” the family-owned company has experienced a surge in business over the past 12 months.
“We’ve seen it with remodels. Everybody adding additions onto their house, living and working from home. Everybody’s trying to spruce up their home at the moment,” he said.
Matt Czapor of Litchfield-based Casanova Remodeling, which specializes in exterior remodeling and interior painting, said there was a dip in business at the start of the pandemic, but things picked back up as savings accrued. With people unable to travel and eat out, they used that money, along with the federal stimulus checks, to upgrade their homes.
Czapor said many people have been upgrading their roofs, especially after the extensive damage from storms throughout the fall.
Ray Barsalou, who works at Distinctive Home Improvements, said business was slow over the winter, but once spring came along, business picked back up.
“With everybody being home, people started finding projects to around the house,” he said, which translated into an increase in business.
However, supply chain issues developed and prices for materials rose rapidly, meaning contractors struggled to get the supplies they needed in time.
“It can be really tough to get our hands on some of those things. It can take eight to 10 weeks to get decking right now. It used to be two weeks,” Czapor said.
The pandemic caused manufacturing shutdowns and a halt to production around the same time stuck-at-home Americans rushed to their nearest home improvement store to buy up materials for do-it-yourself projects, causing prices to skyrocket. Lumber prices, for instance, have tripled since June 2020, soaring to more than $1,300 per 1,000 board feet.
Skrzypek said it can be a daily struggle just sourcing materials right now and tells customers to plan ahead. “If you’re doing a project at the end of the summer, it’s a good time to start looking now,” he said.
He said he expects the home improvement boon to continue through the rest of the year and may even see an uptick in business as fully vaccinated adults feel more comfortable coming into the store.
Barsalou is also optimistic, saying he’s already gotten some leads from the home show, which should translate into business for the company.
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