Topsham selectmen on Thursday discuss holding a small business expo in September to support small businesses in town. Screenshot

Topsham selectmen on Thursday voted 5-0 to explore the possibility of hosting a Topsham-based small business expo in September to promote small businesses.

Board Chair David Douglass said the town is aware there are several hundred small businesses in town, but they’re not widely known. The businesses could use some form of advertising and customer outreach to help support their businesses, he said.

Douglass said he wants the event to become an annual way to usher in the summer. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, he is proposing to hold the first small business expo on a Saturday in September.

It wouldn’t be a craft fair that draws customers to buy things, but rather an opportunity for businesses to sell themselves and show what their business does, Douglass said. Whether it’s a woodworker or jewelry maker, Douglass said he envisions inviting businesses to set up pop-up tents or tables in the parking lot of the municipal building on a Saturday to put their products on display.

Board member Ruth Lyons said the town previously had a small business committee to help support small businesses. The problem is that many of the small businesses in Topsham are one-person operations so it is difficult for them to get away to participate on a committee.

Lyons said she fully supports holding a small business expo.

“I see it as they know the town of Topsham and the board of selectmen are supporting them and we are encouraging them,” Lyons said. “I think, always, the town needs to stand behind their businesses and to do this, I think it makes a big statement.”

Selectman Roland Tufts suggested selectmen also consider holding a virtual event on the town’s website so people to watch and learn more about the businesses.


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