Fri, May 24

Bullocks create own home for travel agency<br>New business plaza gains happy tenants

Bill and Laurie Bullock took advantage of the opportunity to combine their diverse businesses with the creation of Villa East Development.

Tenants have already moved into the plaza on East Villa Drive in Cottonwood, and more construction is in the plans for the four-acre spread off Cove Parkway.

"It was an investment," said Bill Bullock. "I've been a general contractor for 28 years and I know how to build things. When you work for yourself you've got to plan your own retirement."

Laurie, who has operated Bullock's Travel Inc. in Cottonwood for 13 years, was the first to move into the new quarters after two years in the Financial Center.

The Bullocks moved to the Verde Valley from Michigan in 1973. Moving west, according to Bill, was always his father's dream. Bill had C&B Construction, but Laurie was ready to venture into something else.

"I thought a travel agency would be an interesting thing to do," she said. "At the time there was only one other agency in town."

Bullock's Travel went into business in 1987. This is only its second change in location.

"You're always working on something new, and you're always working with different people," Laurie said of the travel business.

Bullock's Travel takes the streetside location in the plaza, Suite A.

The portion of the development that is mainly complete is 10,000 square feet, with upper and lower floors. The Bullocks are in partnership with Dan and Jeanine Peterson on the project.

"The landowner was a friend of ours and he encouraged us to do something with it," Dan Peterson said.

The undertaking was in the works for about a year. Tenants came in quickly.

"We have more room and larger showroom," said Tonya Burger, a sales representative for Arizona Home Centers. The company closed up shop in Sedona and combined the two locations to move onto Villa Drive.

"They're finding us," she said of the base customers. "This is really a draw to this area."

"People can get in and out so much easier," said Jacob Clark, owner of TIIGA Entertainment Technologies, which is also moving into the development. "It's great."

Bill Bullock said he expects the first phase of the plaza to be full by summer. There are currently 2,000 square feet available. He said the spaces can be adjusted to the tenant's needs.

The suites have patios and upstairs views over what is still a rural area of Cottonwood. An elevator is also going in. Expecting steady and continual growth in the Verde Valley, Bullock plans another 10,000-square-foot structure in the development.

The Bullocks have other buildings and interests around town as well. C&B has also worked on the Verde Baptist Worship Center and several commercial buildings.

And while Laurie might have new surroundings, she still has her long-time employees specializing in personalized travel services around the world. For more information about Bullock's Travel, call 634-5271.

For more information about Villa East Development, call 634-8453.