OXFORD — The annual manufactured home show set to begin Friday will feature a slightly scaled back list of participants this year.

“They’re just as enthusiastic as ever,” said John Williams, executive director of the Oxford Hills Chamber of Commerce, of the show that runs 9 a.m. through 4 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

This year the “big three” manufactured housing businesses — Twin Town Homes, Schiavi Home Builders and Turn Key Homes — will showcase about 40 furnished homes. The businesses are on Route 26 in Oxford.

Williams said longtime participants such as KBS in Paris and Keiser Homes in Oxford have declined to participate this year, and Design First Homes of Mechanic Falls on Route 121, once a strong member of the manufactured home business in Oxford Hills, went out of business, he said.

This is the 11th year competitive manufactured housing businesses in the area have combined to host the spring home show under the umbrella of the Housing Capital of New England.

The show has always been considered the largest manufactured housing show in New England with the largest confluence of retail manufactured home builders in one area in New England. Hundreds of potential home builders and buyers, primarily from Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts come to the Oxford Hills for the show.

Williams said that while the economy appears to be picking up, the once thriving manufacturing business in Oxford Hills is not back to where it once was.

“It’s been tough. There’s no other way to put it. Out there it’s just as the housing business has been across the country,” Williams said.

But he also said that interest rates are still low and with banks more than willing to finance, “some of the best opportunities they’ve ever seen to build and to buy” exist now.

Williams said Norway Savings Bank, the signature sponsor of the show, is so supportive of the opportunities, that they will have representatives on hand at the three sites to pre-qualify buyers.

Manufactured home business officials say they expect a great weekend for the show.

“Business is picking up,” said Kristin Jones, of Twin Town Homes, adding the company had an enthusiastic response to their Marlette, three-bedroom, two-bath display home at the recent Home Show in Augusta and they’d love to see that enthusiasm carried into the home show this weekend.

Williams said the group comprising the Housing Capital of the World is still working very hard to attract people to this area to see quality homes. “They could have folded their tents. I really laud them. All the retailers really stuck together and they want to carry momentum into show,” he said.

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