Photo Gallery | Berkshire Home, Garden and Outdoor Expo

LANESBOROUGH — Last week's 70 degree weather aside, a sure sign spring is on the horizon was the return of the Berkshire Home Garden and Outdoor Expo this weekend — under new management.

Locals looking to get a jump on home improvements, landscaping and save on their electric bills stopped by the 35 vendors to stationed the entire length of the Berkshire Mall on Saturday and Sunday.

As parents spoke with exhibitors, magic shows, face painting and costumed characters kept children entertained, according to organizers.


"Talking to people who've gone to other home shows, they wanted entertainment for the kids," said Peter Barry, vice president/market manager for the Berkshire Radio Group.

The broadcast company took over as the chief presenter and promoter of the expo the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce had staged for years.

"We are uniquely positioned because one of the biggest expenses is marketing and we have five radio stations and have the staff to promote it," he said.

Vendors said Sunday was a bit busier than Saturday, speculating many Berkshire homeowners were probably cleaning up their yards and flower beds thanks to the sunshine and above normal temperatures.

Joseph Ryan III, owner of Ryan Landscaping & Lawn Care, expects his crews will tackle a variety of work based on those who stopped by his booth.

"We've had inquiries to 'What happen to my lawn this winter?' to 'We're redoing our landscaping,'" he said. Ryan's customer base also runs the gamut of second homeowners to families that would rather spend weekends with each other, not mulching, mowing or raking.

New roofs are high on many to-do lists this spring, according to Adam Wood, owner of A.C. Wood Contracting Inc. in Lanesborough.

Annie Pan, 9, paints a flower pot at the Carr Hardware booth at teh Berkshire Home , Garden and Outdoor Expo at the Berkshire Mall, Saturday, March 12,
Annie Pan, 9, paints a flower pot at the Carr Hardware booth at teh Berkshire Home , Garden and Outdoor Expo at the Berkshire Mall, Saturday, March 12, 2016. Ben Garver — The Berkshire Eagle |

"Many roofs are being redone because of solar [panels]," he said. "We've also been getting a diverse number of projects from new-builds to fixer-uppers."

Homeowners fixing to lower their electric bills found several energy efficiency firms on hand, including three companies that install roof or ground-mounted solar arrays.

Brian Torrico of Sheffield-based Grenegy Solar Store finds many people are still feeling the sting from last winter's huge spike in electric rates from Eversource and National grid and want more control over their energy costs.

"When you do the math, the cost savings plus the incentives from the state, the time is now for solar," he said.

Grenery was formed nine years ago as extension of the family run Torrico Electric and focuses solely on their customers owning — not leasing — their solar array.

"If you own the system, you get that zero bill and can put the savings toward paying off the system," he noted.

The boost in home renovations and additions in recent years has been a boon to Henry's Electric, according to Vice President John LePrevost. The 70-year mainstay in downtown Lee has seen a surge in customers looking for high-tech gadgets with their kitchen appliances.

"There's refrigerators with cameras so you can see your kids when they are going into the fridge," he said.

Contact Dick Lindsay at 413 496-6233