Oxford Hills Home Show kicks off tonight, Thursday, April 20!

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UNDER CONSTRUCTION —Workers recently prepare a chalet style model that arrived from a new manufacturer for Twin Town Homes at 804 Main St. on Route 26 in Oxford. The home will be shown at this weekend's home show.

OXFORD HILLS — The 16th annual Oxford Hills Homes Show opens Friday, April 21, as local area modular and manufactured home builders and retailers show off the latest home designs ranging from colonials to chalets to the classic single and double wide manufactured homes.

The show will kick-off today, Thursday, April 20, with an open house from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Schiavi Custom Builders on Route 26 in Oxford and continue through the weekend.

CUSTOM BUILT — Workers  at Schiavi Custom Builders are hard at work adding last minute touches to new custom-designed modular home models that have been brought on site for the Home Show.

Homes will be open for public viewing at Schiavi Custom Builders, Alternative Modular Homes by Palmer Development, Turn Key Homes of Maine, Twin Town Homes and at the latest addition to the Route 26 strip – Coastline Homes. All are located on Route 26 between the Welchville section of town at the intersection of routes 26 and 121 and Twin Town Homes across the street from the Oxford Speedway.

The event, which draws thousands of potential home buyers primarily from Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, allows the manufactured housing industry to jointly promote its individual businesses and the industry as a whole. Norway Savings Bank is returning as the signature sponsor, according to the Oxford Hills Chamber of Commerce. The bank has loan officers at the business locations throughout the weekend to assist potential buyers with financing.

The once-booming modular and manufacturing home industry in the Oxford Hills, which has been touted as the Housing Capital of New England, provided hundreds of jobs in this area a decade ago, is on the upswing again, according to local modular and manufactured business owners.

“Since the recession (2008) a lot of business has been coming back. There’s a lot more competition,” said Twin Town Homes General Manager A.J. Stowell. The business, which was incorporated in 1955 as Twin Town Trailer Sales, has seen it change from 10-foot-wide homes, to 12-foot homes, to 14-foot wide homes, to 16-foot wide homes, then to double-wides and modulars.

Like most of the home businesses along Route 26 that will participate in the show, Twin Town Homes , at 804 Main St., provides a turn-key home package to its buyers.

“We have 18 models all ready for them to view. We’re looking to a great weekend for the Home Show,” he said.

“We’ve changed over a lot of our inventory in preparation for the home show,” said Stowell. A chalet and colonial modular home are among the new additions brought on site in recent weeks.

ALTERNATIVE — Alternative Modular Homes at 470 Main Street offers a full service package including the latest designed modular homes ranging from small ranches to two-story Colonial homes.

At Alternative Modulars, co-owner Mary Anna Palmer says they market their modular home business at 470 Main St. as the alternative because it’s a family operation that can bring clients through the entire process from property ownership and preparation to the home selection and siting.

“We feel we run our business differently,” she said of the business that has been operating for more than 30 years. “I really market it as a family owned business dealing with the [new home] owners through the process and after the sales.”

From “small and cozy” ranch style homes with open floor plans to two-story colonials and custom built homes, Palmer said Alternative Modulars has a wide array of home available on the lot and off.

“I couldn’t begin to show everything,” she said of the available inventory.

This year, Schiavi Custom Builders at 754 Main St. is not only showcasing its custom built  homes, including a new ranch and colonial model, but have opened up a new manufactured and home business down the street that is expected to be opened for the Home Show.

“We’re very excited about the direction we’re going in. It’s part of the market that really suffered in the downturn,” Stone said in an interview last month with the Advertiser Democrat.

Scott Stone said Schiavi Custom Builders has decided to take advantage of the upturn in modular and manufacturing housing and open up a sales lot where “middle America” can again afford to buy its first home.

OPEN FOR BUSINESS — Coastline Homes at 488 Main St. is bustling with activity as it prepares to open for the Oxford Hills Homes Show this weekend.

While Schiavi Custom Builders constructs modular homes using finish work techniques and building methods that are more custom built, Coastline Homes at 488 Main St. will offer modular and manufactured housing from several different companies and make them available at its lot.

Turn Key Homes, at 698 Main St., will offer visitors a wide variety of homes ranging from executive ranches to basic colonials or comfortable capes. Turn Key Homes allows home buyers the opportunity to choose from one of many standard floor plans or customize their own plan, according to its website.

The business offers a full-range of help for the homebuyers including all aspects of planning, designing and building a home, according to its website.

In his announcement of the Show Oxford Hills Chamber of Commerce Executive Director John Williams said, “The Oxford Hills Home Show is the largest of its kind in New England. The housing industry gathers each April in Oxford, Maine to promote their individual businesses and the industry as a whole in a remarkable partnership.

“Thousands of potential home buyers visit each year during the three-day event to tour the beautiful homes that are on display, making the event a huge draw for the communities of the Oxford Hills. If you’re in the market for a new home, extended family home or even a vacation home, you need to come see all the options manufactured homes offer. You just may be surprised!”

ldixon@sunmediagroup.net