Expo continues Sat. at Copper Country Mall

Jon Jaehnig/For the Gazette Large products offered by vendors are displayed in the Copper Country Mall’s parking lot, including boats, all-terrain vehicles and recreational vehicles. The expo ends Saturday at 4 p.m.

PORTAGE TOWNSHIP — This year’s Daily Mining Gazette Spring Expo opened Friday at the Copper Country Mall, with businesses from around the western Upper Peninsula showcasing their products and services.

The expo continues Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the mall, located on M-26 between Houghton and Atlantic Mine.

Vendors and visitors alike said that they benefited from the wide variety of businesses presenting in one place, especially since many of the businesses are from out of town.

“There are businesses here from Marquette, so it’s easier for me to see them here,” said a local resident attending the event. “Some of them are from farther away but they’re still all local businesses.”

The resident was primarily interested in visiting booths involving energy efficiency, which is an increasingly popular topic at the event and in general.

Interest in protecting the environment by conserving fuel and in reducing price on heating and energy bills make sustainable home building and remodeling a popular topic.

The Window Store of Marquette, Superior Polymer of Hancock and other businesses offering insulation supplies and advice were present. One such company, Efficiency United, had a particularly interactive exhibit that attracted a number of visitors. This is their third year at the expo.

“I see the benefit of being able to connect with the public,” said a representative of the company which helps customers of UPPCO Power and SEMCO Energy get rebates by making energy-efficient changes to their homes. “It’s easy enough to connect with contractors … but being able to talk face-to-face with home owners is very valuable… I know quite a few of the other vendors that are here, they use a few of our programs.”

Amber Kempainen of Kemp’s Portage Lake Log and Timber Homes expressed a similar sentiment regarding relationships between the businesses.

“It’s good for people to know that we’re here. This allows them to be able to come up and see what everyone has to offer in one location,” said Kempainen. “A lot of businesses compliment each other. Like, I don’t offer insulation. Insulation is offered locally. So it’s kind of a one-stop-shop for people because they can talk to me and then they can go talk to the installation people over there.”

The mall’s hallways and common areas were filled with booths and sections of the sidewalk and parking lot outside also featured vendors with larger exhibits.

Businesses set up inside include The Window Store, Superior National Bank, Diamond House International, Shorewaves and others.

Vendors outside include Houghton Power Sports, Hilltop RV and others.