Falmouth’s main commercial corridor lies along Route 1. The town’s Economic Improvement Committee is working on various ways to better support current business owners and encourage new business to locate in Falmouth. File/ PPH

FALMOUTH — By adding two new members, the Falmouth Economic Improvement Committee is hoping not only to diversify, but broaden its reach.

In the past several months, Theo Holtwijk, the town’s long-range planning and economic development director, said the committee has been “working diligently” to become more active and relevant.

The committee has been working on several new endeavors, including the creation of a new, peer-to-peer type network designed to promote a successful business community that’s also “aligned with town values,” FEIC Chairwoman Pam DiPietro Hale said.

The committee is “interested in forging stronger relationships with local businesses,” Holtwijk said, “as they’re very important to the town.”

He said questions the FEIC is exploring include how it can better support local businesses, how it can encourage and entice residents to shop locally and how to tap into the experience and talents of business owners and retirees to offer encouragement and aid to entrepreneurs looking to locate and build their businesses in Falmouth.

The ultimate goal, Holtwijk said, is finding ways to help businesses grow.

With two new members, the committee will expand from seven to nine representatives. Six of the seven now on the FEIC are residents, while the seventh is a local business owner. Holtwijk said the FEIC would rely on the Town Council’s Appointments Committee to find “the best fit,” but also said members of the FEIC might reach out to people they think could have a positive impact.

Holtwijk said he doesn’t expect the council to appoint the new members for several more months, but he’s hoping the interest level in filling the seats will be high. “We see this as a way to broaden the group and add more voices.”

DiPietro Hale said she sees the two new members as a chance for the FEIC to “provide a broader outreach to the local business community. But also said, “we welcome comments, ideas and recommendations from (the entire) Falmouth community.”

In asking the council to consider expanding the membership of the FEIC by two seats, the committee also said it was having some trouble getting a quorum for its regular meetings and hopes adding more members might help with that issue.

However, once the new members are selected, the number of people required for a quorum will also increase. Right now the committee needs at least four members to hold a meeting, and that will increase to five.

Holtwijk said this week the quorum issue was not the main reason for the requested increase in FEIC members, but also said “people are busy, with many traveling for business. You just can’t plan for everyone to be there all of the time.”

He said the committee usually meets at 4:30 p.m. on the first Wednesday of the month, but if that time doesn’t work for most members it could be changed.

Both Holtwijk and DiPietro Hale indicated this week that what’s most important for the FEIC is to have a dialogue where they can collect information to determine the best ways to support businesses.

That means, Holtwijk said, working hand-in-hand with the Falmouth/Cumberland Community Chamber of Commerce. “We want to work in collaboration because we have joint interests,” he said. Partnering with the chamber also allows for a more efficient use of resources, Holtwijk added.

Although the FEIC is “looking to put a finer point on its goals,” Holtwijk said it’s still mainly using the economic strategic plan adopted by the Town Council in 2015 as a road map.

Among the goals laid out in the strategic plan are streamlining the permitting process to reduce wait times, actively marketing Falmouth as a viable option to locate, considering hotel and conference space, and supporting and encouraging small co-working and conference space for start-ups and home professionals.


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