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'Pride' shines through at show

by BILL BULEY
Staff Writer | April 24, 2021 1:08 AM

COEUR d’ALENE — Just two hours into the 49th annual Home and Garden show at the Kootenai County Fairgrounds on Friday, about 100 people had already stopped at the Vertical Options Elevator Services booth.

Tommie Morris, residential sales manager, loved it.

“Great crowd, new people, new contacts,” he said. “Great to get back out after last year, everybody being under lock and key. It’s been phenomenal.”

The three-day North Idaho Building Contractors event offers everything and anything connected to homes, inside and out, whether that be new construction, improvement, beautification or repair.

It was off to a strong start, with the sun shining and a crowd of talkative, festive adults anxious to get ideas for digging into spring projects. Businesses — more than 100 — not only displayed products and services and smiles, but gave away prizes, candy and had games for adults to kids to try.

"If your home needs a new look, or if you are just starting out let the local professionals share their knowledge and skills to ensure you have everything you need to make your next project a huge success," wrote Jared Ban, Home and Garden Show chairman.

Cody Folda with Wild West Rustic Furniture sat in the center of an array of custom log furniture, including tables, chairs, lamp stands and even carved creations of Bigfoot and a bear.

People dropped in to admire the American-made pieces from a variety of wood.

“We take a lot of pride in what we do,” Folda said.


Kelly Etzel of Missoua, Mont., and son Blake were adjusting their metal yard art outside the main building. Their colorful flowers, planes, birds and swans swayed with the wind.

Etzel said it was worth the trip to be part of the Home and Garden Show, a chance to have fun while showcasing products and meeting customers.

“Who doesn’t love to come to Coeur d’Alene?” she said.

John and Regina Merwald were joined by their 12-year-old dog, Comet, at their JDog Junk Removal and Hauling booth.

They take on big and small jobs of cleaning property of unwanted stuff in North Idaho and Eastern Washington. That could be a single mattress that has to go, or an entire home filled with things left behind or being given away.

“It’s what we do, but our real purpose is getting unemployment for veterans, military, and their families down below 1%,” said John Merwald, a 10-year Marine Corps veteran. “It’s really just a goal of keeping those guys working and supporting our community."

He said veterans often return to civilian life with stress from their military duties.

“Demolition junk removal just seems to be their great release for them,” he said.

Merwald said they arrived in the area last year in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic and thought, "How are we going to start a business?”

They figured out a way.

“Luckily everybody is supporting veterans so we have been busy since the day we got here,” he said.

Vertical Options, based in Spokane, helps those having trouble navigating stairs stay in their homes, rather than selling it and moving to a one-level house.

Their products, such as elevators of different sizes and stair lifts, can help people “age gracefully in your home.”

“Part of our job is to educate people,” Morris said. “Make sure people get the right information for the type of equipment they need.”

Morris was delighted, but not surprised, to see so many upbeat visitors at the Home and Garden Show.

“We’re social creatures,” he said. “It’s been a tough year for everybody, but getting out, getting back into the swing of things, back into normal life, it’s been great.”

The show continues 10 to 6 today and 10 to 4 Sunday. Food and drink booths are on hand. Tickets are $6 at the gate. Kids 12 and younger are free. Donate a can of food and get $1 off.

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BILL BULEY/Press

Cody Folda with Wild West Rustic Furniture sits in the center of an array of custom log furniture at the Home and Garden Show at the Kootenai County Fairgrounds on Friday.

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BILL BULEY/Press

John and Regina Merwald were joined by their 12-year-old dog Comet at their JDog Junk Removal and Hauling booth during the Home and Garden Show on Friday.

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BILL BULEY/Press

Lake Creek Comfort had a patriotic representative at the Home and Garden Show on Friday.