Mardi Gras Madness at Realtor Expo

by Mira Reverente

Mardi Gras may be over in the French Quarter but not in the Conejo Valley.

Dazzling beads, feathery masks and festive costumes were on display at the third Realtor Expo hosted by the Conejo Simi Moorpark Association of Realtors (CSMAOR) on Thursday at the Hyatt Westlake Plaza Hotel.

Dubbed “Mardi Gras Madness,” the expo featured over 50 vendors, including moving companies, lenders, title companies, escrow companies, insurance firms and even a few food vendors complete with a beignet truck.

The expo benefits the Public Benefit Foundation, a non-profit part of CSMAOR. “Local realtors do events like this to raise funds for the foundation and utilize them towards awarding scholarships to local high school students,” said Karen Betancourt, co-chair of the education expo committee.

There was plenty of networking as well as informative break-out sessions by leaders in the industry. Among the topics tackled were “Technology Yesterday and Today: What You Need for Your Real Estate Business,” “Protecting Your Credit: Facts You and Your Clients Should Know” and “Building Your Own Mobile App.”

A scavenger hunt  had most of the attendees racing to get stamps from participating vendors, so they could be entered into the drawing for a $1,000 cash prize.

This is ServPro‘s second year of participation. The fire and water clean-up and restoration company likes to take part to generate business leads as well as to get marketing ideas from other members of the industry.

“It is a good networking event for us,” said Mary Brooks, a ServPro franchisee based in Thousand Oaks. ”It is a well-organized event that has grown by leaps and bounds since last year. It’ definitely more crowded and more festive this year.”

Vendors and attendees were in full Mardi Gras mode as they mingled, networked, sampled and exchanged ideas.

“These are the best gumbo and jambalaya I’ve ever tasted around here,” said Merley Greenridge, a gift concierge and owner of Thousand Oaks-based Celebrate! Sweetly. The Cajun cuisine samples were provided by Ventura County Credit Union (VCCU) and NAWLINZ Bistro, located in downtown Oxnard.

“We go out and let the people know that not only is VCCU a lender, but also part of the Conejo community,” said Greg Uttal, VCCU director of lending.

Projected proceeds from the expo is approximately $11,000, according to Betancourt.



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