Owls Head Transportation Museum presents ‘Niche Purveyors’ Saturday Feb. 17

Four local entrepreneurs who elevated a niche market into a thriving business

Fri, 02/16/2018 - 3:30pm

OWLS HEAD— Each of Owls Head Transportation Museum’s four speakers this Saturday, Feb. 17, has vastly different interests ranging from pet supplies and organic chocolate to hand tools and premium seafood, but the one thing they all have in common is a knack for recognizing a niche market and having the drive to put their heart and soul into the business of it.

The second event in a winter series OHTM is hosting, “Niche Purveyors” sets up a platform for four local self-starters to give a slideshow presentation similar to a PechaKucha-style to an audience. Presenters will include Heidi Neal, owner of Loyal Biscuit, a pet supply store, Kate McAleer, founder of Bixby & Co., a craft chocolate store, Thomas Lie-Nielsen, founder of Lie-Nielsen Toolworks, maker of heirloom quality hand tools, and Dustin Batley of Ducktrap River of Maine, a purveyor of premium seafood.

This winter series is a new direction for OTHM. “In the past, we’ve been more focused on events around transportation, but what we found is that not only are visitors interested in our collection pieces, they are really interested in the stories behind the inventors behind cars and airplanes,” said Sophie D. Gabrion, Marketing & Public Relations Manager. “So, the idea behind this winter series is to find the modern version of these stories and discover who are the innovators locally.”

Each presenter will have approximately 15 slides and 15 minutes to tell their story, along with the obstacles and the solutions they discovered in the process to propel their businesses beyond a niche market. “This will be about how they got started, why this was such a passion of theirs, how has the reception from the public has been and what was the journey to get there,” said Gabrion, who added that afterward, tables will be set up for the speakers to interact with the audience and answer questions.
The Feb. 17 event takes place nearly a month after OHTM’s first event along the similar theme, held Jan. 20 called “Serial Innovators” focusing on dynamic industry leaders such as Bath Iron Works, Lyman Morse, and The Stanley Museum, whose dynamic speakers revealed details behind their inventions and ideas. 
Gabrion said this event is going to appeal not only to locals who already know and buy these products, but also small business owners, who may have interest in their own niche market and are looking to learn from the entrepreneurs whose businesses have skyrocketed in recent years. “We will likely have a mix of not only business owners and entrepreneurs in the audiences, but young adults and parents,” she said. “After the presentations, we’ll also have a demonstration at the museum, so it’s going to be a little something for everyone.”
To read the bios of each of the speakers visit Niche Purveyors. The cost of admission is a $10 suggested donation and light refreshments will be reserved. People are encouraged to RSVP online.
The next two events to round out the winter series include Innovative Spirits: Tasty stories from Maine’s community of craft brewers, distillers and vintners on March 24 at 1 p.m. and Pioneers of Creative Culture: Maine organizations that have created the culture of community through education and shared passions on April 21 at 1 p.m. Note: both events are still being updated with speakers.

Kay Stephens can be reached at news@penbaypilot.com