To a certain extent, last Friday’s Small Business Expo ’18 at the St. Lawrence College Employment Service in Sharbot Lake was a vendors’ market. Many of the local usual suspects were there and things were for sale.
But this one was a little bit different.
“We thought we’d take advantage of the expertise in the area,” said coordinator Karen McGregor. “We started calling it the entrepreneurs expo but that wasn’t sexy enough so . . . vendors sale.”
But, unlike the various craft shows and farmers markets, sales and fellowship wasn’t the only thing on the agenda.
“We wanted to tap into the wisdom of people who’ve been doing this for awhile,” she said. “It’s an opportunity to learn the do’s and don’ts from people who’ve learned them already.”
In order to accommodate this exchange in the marketplace of ideas, unlike most similar events, this one was free for the participants.
Also, they held it on a weekday.
“Most of our participants are busy with other shows on the weekends, particularly at this time of year,” she said. “And, having it next door to the Festival of Trees didn’t hurt either.
“Many people coming for the festival stopped in here too.”
One of the things McGregor said people were exploring was the possibility of teaming up.
“If I take half of your treasures to one show and you take half of mine to another, we cover two shows and double our exposure,” she said.
And another thing that set this show apart was the presence of Frontenac Community Futures Development Corporation Director Anne Prichard.
“Anne’s an excellent resource,” McGregor said. “It’s one thing to say how do you make your jams and jellies sell and quite another to find loans and grants to get your business off the ground.”
This was the first such expo and judging from the response of the 10 vendors present, McGregor said they plan to do it again next year.
“It brings local entrepreneurs together,” McGregor said.