The town of Strathmore is looking to provide a new opportunity for local businesses and create a jumpstart in economic development now that COVID-19 restrictions are beginning to lift.
As a way for Strathmore businesses to reconnect with customers, and potentially meet new ones, the town is launching the first “All Things Local Expo.”
Geoff Person, manager of communications, marketing and economic development, said the initiative is built around community engagement, external marketing, policy development and business support.
“We’ve put together a comprehensive package where each of those four pillars is going to help provide some immediate relief, while also achieving some long term growth and recovery.”
According to Person, roughly half of businesses local to Strathmore don’t have a permanent storefront.
The All Things Local Expo, he adds, will be an opportunity for those businesses especially to take part in a pop up market and meet more customers.
“It gives them another opportunity to connect with customers or to meet some new customers, but it’s also something that is really COVID-19 safe, that’s at a central location, it’s got some great parking… it’s just helping to connect local businesses with new customers.”
Being a brand new event for Strathmore, Person said the team behind it is opting to keep it small to start, and expand as people become aware of the market.
For the first opening of the market, Person hopes to have 20 vendors show up. As of June 11, vendor attendance was half full.
He added that several similar events are being planned to take place throughout the summer. “Everything Local Expos” are being planned to pop up again in July, August and September.
“There’s a few impacts that we’re looking for. The biggest one is about creating a model. We want to know, is this something that is going to be supported by local businesses.
“If it is, then we’re excited to continue it on and continue supporting it to make sure it grows.”
Person explained he hoped to see whether there is a local demand for this type of event, all the while observing if it will be helpful to the business community.
He added ideally, it might encourage or signal to businesses that they could look to launching permanent storefronts for themselves.
By the end of the summer, he is looking to have an idea of repeating the events in 2022.
“This isn’t just about one event. This is about a series of events, some different policies, some unique marketing initiatives that we’re doing, and I think all of that combined is going to really help sped up recovery,” said Person.
The first Everything Local Expo is set to take place on June 19 in Kinsmen Park.
John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times