What started in 1992 as a way to help homeowners rebuild after Hurricane Iniki devastated the island has grown to include approximately 25 exhibitors in 33 booths. Contractors Association of Kauai (CAK) hosts its 25th annual Home Show Friday (April 7) from 2:30 to 9 p.m. and Saturday (April 8) from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall to address the needs of homeowners, potential homeowners and remodelers.
“Anybody can come and take a look to see what the industry is offering,” says Lawton Sugihara of Hawaii Gas, chairman of this year’s show, which is free and open to the public.
The exhibition is designed to bring together under one roof home-construction and remodeling suppliers to showcase products including cabinets, countertops and windows. It makes it easier for customers to see, touch and feel products they might want in their homes, as well as talk to manufacturers’ representatives in an atmosphere where they won’t feel pressured to buy.
CAK representatives, including Hawaii Gas and First Hawaiian Bank, will answer questions related to essential homeownership needs, such as energy and loans. And with the expanding economy and low interest rates, Sugihara says, it’s the perfect time to consider all of these factors.
“People can now start to think about building,” he says.
The show’s goal is to help families find businesses on-island that can address all of their homeownership needs — everything from building supplies to mortgages. It also serves as a showcase for some of the newest products on the market, like aluminum and vinyl jalousies from RMA Sales, plans for the “Tiny Homes Collection” from Honsador Lumber, and Tesla battery storage systems from Nathan Wood General Contractor and Haleakala Solar.
The latest ADA or senior-accessible products will be on display, as well as several sustainable construction materials. Consumers can attend workshops and seminars, including one hosted by Kauai Board of Realtors regarding the cesspool conversion tax credit program.
CAK has been helping the construction industry thrive since 1957. The group not only hosts the annual Home Show, but also awards scholarships to students pursuing a construction-related career such as engineering, and it keeps members apprised of industry concerns at the state and county level. It meets monthly and hosts workshops for contractors, such as safety and environmental trainings, and forklift certification. More than 50 percent of its members are CAK contractors or subcontractors; the rest is comprised of businesses and suppliers affiliated with the construction industry, including law firms and county agencies.
In other words, CAK is a small organization that plays a big role in the community.
One thing members including Sugihara like to do is encourage more keiki to enter the profession. Though they provide regular training forums at Kauai Community College, the interest isn’t quite there. “Kids are more interested in technology,” says Sugihara. “They’d rather play with a computer in a cold room than go out there and sweat and pound a nail or dig a trench.”
But it’s a lucrative industry with a nearly 0 percent unemployment rate.
“We need them,” says Sugihara.
And acquiring an education in the field “takes you to a whole other level,” he says.
That’s why the group offers incentives to keiki each year. In 2017, more than $11,000 in scholarships is available to students (application deadline is May 1).
“It’s to help out the kids and give them a head start because education is so expensive,” says Sugihara.
It’s also a profession he’d love to see more women enter. “Women can do the same things and can do it better,” he says about the male-dominated profession.
Though you might not see many women presenting at the Home Show this year, there’s plenty of opportunity for anyone to attend and learn more about the industry. There’s even a chance to win a trip to Japan or the Philippines. “You’ve got to work for it, though,” says Sugihara, referring to the scavenger hunt requirement to enter the drawing.
Call 246-2662 or visit contractorsassnofkauai.multiscreensite.com to learn more about CAK.