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Homeowners set on getting that last improvement finished before the holiday season can visit the Home Remodeling Expo today for a little help.

About 80 vendors will be on hand to assist home remodelers for the first event of its kind here in Chattanooga, said Teresa Groves, executive director of the Home Builders Association of Southern Tennessee, one of several local sponsors of the free event.

"A lot of times homeowners don't really know, say if they're trying to do work on their house and want to make it their dream home, they don't know who to go to," Groves said. "What's good about this is our remodelers and handymen are licensed - they carry insurance, and it's through our state licensing board."

In addition to remodelers and handymen, the First Tennessee Pavilion will also house suppliers who can help with remodeling in kitchens, bathrooms, decks and flooring.

Jeff Cochran, residential sales manager for Ferguson Bath, Kitchen and Lighting Gallery, one of the event's sponsors, said today is ideal for the expo because the holidays are approaching and people are thinking about remodeling. People looking more toward the long term are already thinking about springtime tasks, he said.

"Right now is a pretty busy time," Cochran said. "It's that time when everyone's kind of getting everything together and trying to figure out what they're going to do."

Visitors should bring their remodeling plans or photos, Groves said.

Ethan Collier, owner of Collier Construction, said the goal at his booth will be to help steer people in the right direction. He hopes to use the expo as an opportunity to meet area residents and answer questions about their remodeling plans.

"We can walk through the sorts of things they want to think about, and if it makes sense set up a meeting on site," he said. "In other cases where they don't need the help of a contractor - maybe they just need to find a painter - that's the neat thing about this show ... they'll actually have the opportunity to interact with different people."

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