By Travis Sloat
Phoenix Staff Writer
Warren Cross said he had a specific reason for being at Arrowhead Mall on Saturday.
“I’m in the market for a new riding lawn mower,” Cross said.
Dozens of vendors lined the main thoroughfare of Arrowhead Mall on Saturday, all taking part in the 2013 Muskogee Home, Garden and Outdoor Expo.
"I think the Expo is a great thing, and I’m glad they have it. I’ve talked to three or four vendors, and it’s given me some ideas for future projects around the house,” Cross said.
Patrons in the mall stopped and perused the booths offering everything from outdoor equipment to financial services, some talking quietly with the vendors and others loudly proclaiming their excitement for certain items.
Aleese Fielder, general manager of Okie Country 101.7, estimated 1,500 to 2,000 people stopped at booths over the course of the two-day event. The station sponsored the event.
“This is our second year in the mall,” Fielder said. “The response from the participants and the vendors has all been positive. We’ve had lots of foot traffic. We’re not trying to compete with the Tulsa Expo, but lots of businesses around Muskogee want consumers to know they don’t have to drive to Tulsa.”
“We thought Friday and Saturday would work better,” she said. “Again, it seems to be a good fit for the patrons and our vendors. As of right now we plan to do the same thing next year.”
Several local area businesses were represented Saturday, giving their customers a chance to view the latest in home, garden and outdoor trends for the coming spring season.
Mark Lee, the manager of Keith True Value Hardware and Supply in Fort Gibson, said many of those who stopped by their booth showed interest in the coming mowing season.
“We’ve recently set up a parts and service facility that will help us provide full service to certain brands of mowers,” Lee said. “To me, this Expo helps us get the word out more. You’ve already got the draw of the mall itself, so it works out good.”
Lee said the hardware store participated in the show a few years ago, but this year was their first in the mall.
Cross said he was leaving as a happy customer.
“I’ll definitely visit Mark’s store,” he said. “I do all my backup research online, just to make sure. But now I’ve got other contacts for the future as well.”
Fielder said that was the goal of the Expo.
“We want this to be fun and informative for the community,” she said. “It’s a free event, and a fun, family atmosphere. It gives people ideas for maintaining their homes, and it’s a venue with a lot of options for those who come see us.”
Reach Travis Sloat at (918) 684-2908 or tsloat