The Hippo


Jun 26, 2019








Jack Potvin at the Sneakerhead Heaven event in 2015. Courtesy photo.

Greater NH Small Business Fest

Where: Boys & Girl Club of Greater Derry (40 E. Derry Road, Derry)
When: Saturday, Sept. 30, from noon to 4 p.m.
Cost: $10 for adults, $5 for students and free for kids under 12

In the business of business
Young leader starts small business festival

By Ethan Hogan

 The first annual Greater NH Small Business Fest is being held on Saturday, Sept. 30, at the Greater Derry Boys & Girls Club — and it’s being organized by a 17-year-old senior at Pinkerton Academy.

Jack Potvin is a member of Future Business Leaders of America and DECA. Potvin said that in talking to small businesses in the greater Derry area while working on extracurricular activities, he found the businesses wanted help with social media and getting people in the door. He decided a festival that brought the people to the businesses was the best way to solve those problems. 
“It’s a big opportunity for them to increase their visibility and to meet with new customers in the community,” said Potvin. “We wanted to invite the whole community to see the local businesses.”
The outdoor festival will have more than 20 businesses from the greater Derry area with booths set up to give residents the opportunity to meet with owners face to face. Jack said he has met with many of the business owners while organizing the event.
“For a kid to be able to meet all these local business [people] and pick their brains a little was great for me,” said Potvin.
Ernie Lombard is one of those businesspeople. He started his electric company a year and a half ago and is looking forward to meeting Greater Derry residents at the festival.
“It’s always good to get a face to a phone number,” said Lombard.
Lombard said he has known Potvin since he was young. Lombard would coach teams that would play against Potvin.
“He’s smart. ... He has the knowledge for it and he’s pushing to get to it,” said Lombard.
Other vendors who helped sponsor the event include Kershaw Landscaping, Heritage Restaurant, Tech Watch 24-7, Lombard Electric and Drewski Sneaker Repairs and Sneaker Dry Cleaning Shop.
There will be a farm stand with corn donated by Peter’s Farm in Salem. Other food is being provided by Rigatoni’s Italian Take Out and Heritage restaurant, which serves American-style steak, pork and chicken dishes.
A three-point basketball competition will award the winner a cash prize for hitting the most three-point shots throughout the day. Potvin said that having something for everyone at community events is important.
This is not the first event Potvin has organized, and it’s not the first time he has experimented with entrepreneurship. When Potvin was 7, he and his brother took a boat around Big Island Pond in Derry and sold snacks to people hanging out on sandbars.
“Both my parent have owned their own business at different points, and I guess I got that gene,” said Potvin.
Last year, Potvin helped organize a Catwalk for a Cause event at Pinkerton Academy where faculty and students strutted their stuff and raised money for the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Before organizing fundraisers, Potvin had also created a sneaker collectors event where “sneakerheads” bought, sold and traded sneakers. The event was called Sneakerhead Heaven and was held twice in 2015 at Pinkerton Academy.
Now in his last year of high school, Potvin plans to study business and marketing in college but has not committed to a school yet. He said he intends to continue the festival next year. 
Proceeds from the Small Business Festival will go to the Greater Derry Boys & Girls Club, which is hosting the event. 

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