AP NEWS

Expo connects residents, contractors

March 27, 2017

BULLHEAD CITY — Terry and Toni Hoover hadn’t heard about the Home and Garden Expo, but saw the event signs hanging on construction trucks along Highway 95.

“It was perfect timing,” said Terry Hoover. “We’re looking at doing a major renovation of our backyard.”

The Hoovers, along with more than 1,800 other people, decided to check out the Mohave Valley Contractors Association’s fifth annual Home & Garden Expo held this weekend at Riverview Mall.

“So far I’m really impressed,” Hoover said. “We’ve gotten some ideas and already talked to a couple of general contractors and a landscaper. Even better, everyone we talked to is a local.”

More than 50 vendors hosted displays offering home construction, remodeling, DIY projects and furniture, along with other products and services specifically for the Tri-state.

“The expo helps our members and non-members showcase their home-related products and services,” said Catherine Lopez-Rajaniemi, expo chairwoman. “It’s also an opportunity for area residents to talk to professionals brought together in one convenient place.”

Mohave Electric Cooperative created a booth focused on helping people save energy.

“It’s been a super great turnout,” said Steve Bouman, MEC energy management specialist. “We really appreciate the opportunity to talk with people about saving energy and the expo gives me the chance to talk with them in depth and answer questions. It’s a learning opportunity for the public and we get a lot of feedback about the programs that we offer.”

For first-time vendor Donathan Insurance Agency, the opportunity to showcase the 30-year-old agency came with a pleasant surprise.

“We’re definitely coming back,” said Vina Slape. “As independent insurance agents, we do everything but life and health insurance and this has been a terrific opportunity to let people in the Tri-state know we are here for them. The response we’ve had from everyone has been really nice.”

The 2017 Expo was co-hosted by Gold Sponsors Ace Hardware/Tri-State Building Materials, Derrick Windows & Doors, Lowe’s Home Improvement, and S&S Concrete & Materials.

“This has been a really great expo,” said Althea Thomas-Swanson of Ace Hardware and and expo committee member. “We’re very pleased with the turnout and we love this location. The expo allows area contractors to highlight their work and gives the students of Academy of Building Industries a chance to show the public both what they do and what they can do.”

A Charity Car and Bike Show hosted Saturday by the Mohave Valley Contractors Association benefited student programs at AOBI, the association’s charter high school in Fort Mohave. The high school provides trade-related curriculum, in addition to core classes for students in grades 9-12.

Students judged car show competition entries and awarded trophies created in their classes.

The event also offered a curated craft fair, a Kids Planting Clinic and the association offered booth space to local nonprofits including Quilts of Comfort, Kiwanis Club and University of Northern Arizona Cooperative Extension Bullhead City/Mohave Valley Master Gardeners.

“We’ve participated in the expo for the past few years,” said Joanie Wright, a Quilts of Comfort volunteer. “In addition to our quilt sales, we always have a quilt raffle to raise money for our programs — we support foster children and other individuals — and it gets our name out into the community so that they can support us in our work and also let us know of people in need.

“This year’s expo has been fabulous; the location is excellent and traffic was amazing. It’s the best expo we’ve been involved with so far.”

Created in 1974, Mohave Valley Contractors Association is comprised of contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, insurance agents, title companies, pool and landscape professionals, and other trade-related businesses. It was formed to give members a forum to educate the community and keep the city and county on track with current building practices.

“We do a lot in the community,” said Lopez-Rajaniemi. “We’re involved in community projects such as Gary Keith Park, and keep track of code, law and fee changes affecting builders, contractors and subcontractors, and work with officials at the city and county levels. We also spend a lot of effort in marketing the area — in order for the community to continue to grow, we need people to move here and to build here.”

The association is also actively recruiting members, she said.

“We invite contractors new to the area or not to come check us out,” Lopez-Rajaniemi said. “It’s a great support group that works hard to get the word out about our industry.”