Hillsborough Public Library Adult Services head Cathy Briant looked around the library's presentation room hosting Saturday's first Small Business Expo and noted the response she'd gotten from the inaugural event.
"This is the first time we've done it and the vendors are very happy," she said.
Although happy vendors—which included such small local businesses as Gymboree, Joy 2 Dance, Kevin Murphy Art Studio, Stride Away Stables, CUPS Frozen Yogurt and Seedlings Preschool, to name a few—Briant said she really wants to the expo to be a draw for residents.
"I went to the Princeton Small Business Expo in May, and noticed how small the turnout of the public was," she said.
Fueled her idea to add an element to Hillsborough's event that was missing, with representatives from the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), Affinity Bank, micro-loan providers and Hillsborough Township Business Advocate Gene Strupinsky to show others how to become small business owners.
"Working at the adult services desk, I see people all the time who need a job," she said. The expo is an expansion of the help she often provides to library patrons looking to open a business.
Visitors to the expo were teated to food samples and refreshments from Hillsborough Farm Country Market, ShopRite Registered Dietician Rachel Simpers, Stop and Shop, and more.
Visitor Nicole Dietrick, attending with her daughters McKenna and Chloe, said she was enjoying the event.
"We just popped in to see what's it about," she said.
Overall, about 100 people took advantage of the program, but Briant knows that will grow.
"What a great time this is for Hillsborough," she said of the township's growing small business climate and high ranking in national magazines.