By Cindy Hadish

The Greater Cedar Rapids Housing & Building Association offers a host of benefits for its members, which extends to unique advantages for the public, as well.

“It’s kind of like an Angie’s List, on a local level,” Executive Officer Melissa Olson said of the GCRHBA’s directory of businesses for building and remodeling projects.

Anyone looking for a local professional to perform painting, plumbing, electrical work, lawn care or a myriad of other projects, all the way up to constructing a home or commercial building, can peruse the directory on the GCRHBA’s website, at

Click on “cabinets” under the Real Estate & Construction category, for example, and find more than a dozen local businesses that offer cabinets and cabinetry. The same is true for concrete companies, residential general contracting and numerous other lines of work.

Those categories extend to GCRHBA associates, such as auto dealerships, printing services and legal services. One caller requested a referral for a company to waterproof their basement, Olson recalled, followed by a need for an electrician and then someone to remodel their bathroom.

“We want people to know we’re here to help you with your needs,” she said. “We’re local and we stand behind our members.”

Those members of the GCRHBA, in turn, receive referrals that can help their businesses to grow; one of the primary benefits of membership, Olson said. All of the members adhere to the organization’s code of ethics, and because the registry is local, any issues can be addressed through the GCRHBA, if needed, she added.

Formerly known as the Greater Cedar Rapids Area Home Builders Association, the group changed its name last year to encompass commercial builders, as well. With that change, the GCRHBA has been reaching out to more building professionals and now has more than 300 members. New members are always welcome, Olson said.

In addition to the free advertising and referrals provided by the directory, members are invited to monthly outings where they can network and build relationships. Last month, for example, members and their families were invited to the Annual Trap Shoot, Barbeque Smoke Off & Live Music at the Otter Creek Sportsmans Club.

“We’re trying to appeal to everybody,” said Chad Pelley, board president of the GCRHBA and business development manager at Ahmann Companies. That includes the popular beer and wine tasting to golf outings and more. Pelley has belonged to the group long enough to know most of the members, he said. “You do get a lot of opportunities to network at the events.”

Many of the events are hosted on-site at the members’ business locations, offering an opportunity to highlight what they offer; another perk of membership, Olson noted. “To me, it’s one of the best opportunities for our members,” she said. “They bring other members onto their own turf and showcase what they have.”

The GCRHBA handles all of the logistics, including food and reservations, Olson said, adding that the events are particularly beneficial for new businesses.

“Joining our association is opening the door to all of these networking opportunities,” she said. “You build connections with people who will help build your business for the future.”

An additional benefit of membership is in the member discounts and rebates. A $500 General Motors rebate has been particularly popular for members in the market for a new vehicle, Olson said.

The group provides another advantage for building professionals by serving as an advocate for their industry regarding laws and rules that affect them at the local, state and national level. “We’re constantly fighting for them,” she said.

Perhaps best known for its popular Spring and Fall Parade of Homes, the GCRHBA joined forces with Kirkwood Community College on a new endeavor. “Tiny Project 2017” involves renovating a 40-foot shipping container into a “tiny home,” which is among the ways the group has been involved in supporting students joining the building trades.

High school students provide the labor, with the GCRHBA offering materials, monetary donations and mentoring. The project will be completed by September, to be included on the Fall Parade of Homes from Oct. 7-15.

Building a commercial or residential structure involves the expertise of many companies in the community, the GCRHBA website notes. Developers prepare the land; architects design the building; suppliers provide materials, various contractors/tradesman complete the structure; Realtors make the sales; insurance agents offer the protection; and financial lenders provide the funds.

“All of these professionals and their employees contribute to every new home or commercial building constructed,” the website continues. “The GCRHBA provides the organization for these building professionals to work together and provide quality, efficient, affordable structures for the Cedar Rapids area.”

Olson said by connecting the various businesses involved in construction projects, along with the associates, the entire community is strengthened. “We encourage members to use companies that are supporting their industry,” she said. “Members use members.”

See more at: or call: (319) 395-0778.


Supporting Greater Cedar Rapids Housing & Building Association Members:
ABC Supply Co Inc
Americas Largest Wholesale Distributor of Roofing, Siding,
& Windows
325 Waconia Court Southwest Cedar Rapids

Cantebury Kitchens
Let us Make your Home Your Castle
240 Classic Car Court SW

Fashion Par Kitchens
Custom Cabinetry & Designs
For your Home 
1246 7th Ave, Marion

Williams Hardwood Flooring
Install, Sand, & Finish
All Types of Wood Flooring
Marion, IA

Glass Concepts
Cutting Edge in Glass Interior Design
New Construction, Remodel,
Custom Shower Enclosures,
Shower Doors,
Decorative Glass, Mirrors, Shelving
1860 McCloud Pl NE, Cedar Rapids

Pinnacle Realty
Market Your Home
the Smart Way
Doug McAllister

Randy’s Carpets
& Interiors
Helping Our Customers Create the Beautiful Homes They Desire!
401 2nd St, Coralville
5454 Center Point Rd NE
Cedar Rapids

Woodharbor Design Showroom of Cedar Rapids
1737 Boyson Road
Hiawatha, IA 52233

Rathje Construction Co.  
305 44th St Marion 

Suburban Lumber
2360 Wiley Blvd SW, Cedar Rapids

Kelly Concrete Co.
Quality Poured Foundations Residential & Commercial
Free Estimates
4925 8th Ave, Marion • 319.373.9500


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