The 34th annual Home and Business Expo was held this past weekend.
The event, presented by the Central Connecticut Chamber of Commerce and Jenks Productions at Bristol Eastern High School, drew many residents and local businesses familiar with the expo, having attend year after year.
Valarie Boucher said she attends every year. “I love it,” said Boucher. “It’s hard to find a place to go to in the middle of winter, but this place – Eastern High School – has things in February, March, and April, so I’m here every month.”
There were also area businesses who attended as vendors for the first time.
The Light Hangar Company, 1 Town Line Rd., Plainville, is a light fixture company owned by husband and wife duo, Jeff and Laura Davis.
“We think this is a great event to see a lot of people,” said Laura Davis, who used the opportunity to tell attendees about their new catalogues and some of the new items in stock at their showroom.
Vendors such as The Light Hangar Co., are part of why Boucher continues to come back. She explained that because she owns her own home, she enjoys to “see what the competition is, get the lowest price deal, and make sure everyone has a good reputation.” And while she has only done a couple of home improvement projects that way, she said she is “always on the lookout.”
Dawn Nielsen, marketing and public relation specialist with the Bristol Development Authority was a part of the Bristol All Heart booth, which presented show-goers with community surveys.
“We are trying to get everybody’s input on what they like about Bristol, and what’s not so great about Bristol so that we can improve the things we need to improve upon, and keep the things that are going well,” said Nielsen. “We’ve been getting quite a bit of input, and we’re very happy with that, very pleased with the responses.”
Nielsen said the survey polled residents and nonresidents on “why they chose to live in Bristol,” what respondents felt were “the most crucial issues that may be a threat to Bristol,” what they felt are “Bristol’s greatest strengths,” and other such questions.
The expo also offered Bristol residents a chance to interact with their local representatives, as both Bristol Democratic Town Committee and the Bristol Republican Town Committee had tables. City Councilors Greg Hahn and Peter Kelley, and State Representative Whit Betts were available to discuss initiatives at the local and state level.
“Oh it’s very interesting,” said Boucher of the Home and Business Expo. “Everybody is so nice and friendly, they give a lot of freebies out, and they have good food.”
The Bristol Exchange Club has been the Home Show food vendor for about six years.
Locally, they are known for supporting various portions of the community by raising funds for college scholarships, fundraising for families in need and organizations such as Salvation Army, the Bristol Boys and Girls Club, and the local Yellow Ribbon youth suicide prevention project, amongst others. They are also responsible producing and directing the annual Chrysanthemum Festival, known affectionately as the Mum Festival.
A portion of all funds raised by the Exchange Club will be donated to the Parent and Child Center at Bristol Hospital, which according to the Hospital website, has a primary focus the “prevention of child abuse, neglect, and family violence by providing support systems for families,” which aligns with one of the goals of the National Exchange Club — the prevention of child abuse.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Taylor Murchison-Gallagher, email her at TMurchison@BristolObserver.com.