Heather Cooper of Columbus County, N.C., went to the 2011 Home & Boat Show on Friday ready to get specifics for fixing up her house.
The house was owned by her fiance's parents, but now it's theirs. And it's about to get a mini-makeover - from fresh paint to a pool and new landscaping - with her fiance, Anthony Ransom, doing most of the labor to cut costs.
"We are getting ready to do a lot of work," she said, pushing her 8-month-old son, Colin Ransom, in a stroller through the booths at the show. "It has to be done. ... It's just time to change the colors, make it our own."
By Janet Blackmon Morgan firstname.lastname@example.org - The 2011 Home & Boat Show began Friday and runs through the weekend. This is the first time the two annual events have been combined.
- Boat Show & Home Show
What | 2011 Home & Boat Show
When | 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. today, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday
Where | Myrtle Beach Convention Center, corner of Oak Street and 21st Avenue North
Cost | $7 for adults; $5 for seniors and ages 15 to 18; free for children under 14 years old. Parking in the Myrtle Beach Convention Center lot is $3.
Vendors at the first combined home and boat show at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center this weekend are relying on people such as Cooper, who are buying, not just browsing. But most vendors - many of whom consider themselves the lucky ones to still be in business after the recession claimed many of their competitors - aren't oozing confidence that buyers will be back in bulk this weekend.
"We're definitely thinking positive," said Chase Thompson, a salesman for Marine Services Center in Little River, which had 27 boats on display. "Right now with the discounts, promotions and extended warranties, it would make sense to take advantage of them if you could."
The lagging economy has taken its toll on the home and boat shows as much as the businesses and consumers - prompting the two shows to combine this year. Years ago, each show could fill up the convention center's exhibit hall on their own, with the boat show even spilling into the parking lot.