Town of Ashford boasts large business community
By Kitty LeShay - ReminderNews
Ashford - posted Wed., Feb. 12, 2014
Along the rural roads of Ashford, there are more than 250 businesses dotting the pastoral landscape. “Most of Ashford businesses are not brick fronts. They are home-based. It is hard to know where they are,” said Ed Lagasse. He and his wife Trisha were a part of the Ashford Business Expo on Feb. 1, and are the owners and operators of a lawn care service in town.
They were among 33 business owners who ranged from distillers of handcrafted spirits, to bakers, carvers, cleaning services and a veterinarian. The businesses represented at the expo included both the local to international. A steady stream of visitors came to Knowlton Memorial Hall to check out what they had to offer. Some vendors gave presentations of their services, while others offered samples, and often there were products for sale and orders taken.
The event was sponsored by the Ashford Business Association and was the most successful Expo to date. Organizer John Rettenmeier was delighted with the turnout. “We have been busy all day,” he said. Rettenmeier wears three business hats: he is a project manager consulting business and sells antiques and collectables on eBay, but is best known in the community for his wood carvings.
ABA President Brian Savulis shared his enthusiasm. “We believe that by supporting the community, the community will support businesses. By working together, we can grow a stronger community,” he said.
The purpose of the Expo was to let residents of Ashford and surrounding communities know what goods and services are available to them locally, and for businesses to network with each other. There was not only a lot of socializing, buying and selling between the public and vendors, but between businesses as well.
“When people become aware of local businesses, they will support them,” Rettenmeier said.
The ABA is a result of the Economic Development Commission. “The EDC planted the seed several years back and the ABA has grown exponentially. We are trying to make it regional by bringing in other towns,” said Richard Williams, chair of the EDC.
Greg Lewis represented the state at the Expo. “We are here to assist businesses in any way we can by helping start-ups and advising an existing business,” he said.
Most visitors were stunned to learn that there were 250 businesses in Ashford and that these businesses are not just out for profit, but also to help make Ashford a richer and more vibrant place to live.