Page 33 - BusinessWest January 20, 2021
P. 33

                    Women Lead, Women Managed THE PERMANENT SOLUTION WBE since 1992
  Carol Campbell President, CEO
Anne Golden, Director of Finance, Deb Dart, Director of Operations, Liz Sauer, Project Manager
Rigging | Millwrighting | Trucking Construction | Warehousing 413.538.7279
 in Western Mass. and on Cape Cod, where he recently opened a satellite office.
“We’ve always done work on the Cape, but this is the first year we made it official with an office,” he told BusinessWest. “We’re seeing a tremendous amount of activity and opportunity there.”
Expanding to Cape Cod is a bet Laplante is willing to make because he believes that the pandemic has severely shifted con- sumer trends. As he sees it, the people who would have sought out exotic travel to places like Europe are now spending their money on their home or investing in a vacation home close to where they live.
On with the Show?
For 66 years, hundreds of home projects started with a tour of the Western Mass Home and Garden Show held in late March on the Big E fairgrounds. In 2020, the show was canceled for the first time in its history as the initial wave of COVID-19 swept across Massachusetts just before the event.
Will there be a show in 2021? Andrew Crane, executive direc- tor of the Home Builders and Remodelers Assoc. of Western Mas- sachusetts, faces a common dilemma in this time of COVID-19: there is plenty of interest in holding the show, but no one knows if conditions will allow it to take place.
“When things clear up and people can safely go out and stay healthy, we will run a home show, and not until then,” he said. At the same time, his organization, which runs the home show, has nearly sold out all available booths.
“We don’t even have dates for when the home show will hap- pen, but I sold two booths this week,” Crane said, noting that his members are involved in nearly all areas of home improvements. As most of them had success in 2020, they would like to keep the momentum going this year.
When BusinessWest spoke with vendors in preparation for last year’s event, several said a key strength of the home show was the opportunity for people and contractors to speak with each other, as well as the ability to see and touch the latest products in home improvements.
“I know a lot of folks who switched to remote work, and they are not going back into the office. I believe people working from home or their vacation home will continue into the foreseeable future.”
Plexiglass dividers, one-way aisles, and mandatory mask wearing are among the different ways Crane and his staff are looking to configure this year’s show. He doesn’t want a situation, however, in which a member pays for an expensive booth only to allow one person at a time to visit.
“That’s not fair to the vendor or the people attending the show,” he said. “It’s not even fair to the folks who just drop by a booth to take the candy.”
Because planning events is so difficult these days, Crane con- tinues to move forward in planning the home show, but under- stands that nothing is certain. “There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, but we don’t know if it’s a freight train or if it’s the vaccine coming to solve our problems.”
Even with an effective vaccination rollout, Laplante predicts the home-building industry will continue to thrive locally. In addition to new construction, he has several whole-house reno- vations in the works — projects in which an existing house is torn down and a new one is built on the same lot. With many projects in the pipeline, Laplante believes people have changed their behavior long-term, and the home will continue to be a focal point long after COVID-19 is under control.
“I know a lot of folks who switched to remote work, and they are not going back into the office,” he said. “I believe people working from home or their vacation home will continue into the foreseeable future.” u
CO. Architects
John Zon Community Center - Greenfield, MA
        SCAN ME
Help us help you!
Take this quick survey so we can better serve you and your industry!
BusinessWest CONSTRUCTION JANUARY 20, 2021 33

   31   32   33   34   35