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Happy New Year 2022!

After the ‘first’ year of the pandemic, hope was high in early 2021, as the vaccine started to come out. After an uptick in infections over the winter months, spring and summer were looking very promising! Folks who had been home for a year wanted to travel.  Where to go that was within driving distance, relatively safe, and less populated? Why Acadia National Park of course! What visitors and locals alike experienced was crowded trails, long lines at restaurants, at capacity campgrounds, cottages, and hotels. In short, a record year for tourism and ANP visits.

What did not happen, was a return to work in pre covid numbers. Across the country, people moved, retired early, trained for a new job, or were still concerned about being in public. After a year of working from home, many did not want to go to the office every day. The result was large numbers of available jobs in every field, from transportation to retail, to the trades, medical, education…well you know the picture. The combination of record tourism numbers and record available jobs sent minimum wages up in most businesses, especially hospitality and dining. Without the help from H2B and J1 Visa workers, it was very stressful trying to maintain business hours with fewer employees and more visitors. Our businesses made it thru, however difficult the staffing issues.

So here we are, about to embark on a new year. While your Chamber may not have the solution to your employment issues, we do know that housing, daycare, transportation, and wages are all reasons for our tight employment situation. We are always listening as business owners tell us how they are managing. Whether it is cutting back hours, streamlining offerings, or using technology, you each have adapted in some way to the new ‘order’ of things. We plan to continue to offer online webinars and hopefully in-person panels on topics that help you navigate these rough waters.


The Chamber had a big year as well. Starting in March, we made our move across the parking lot to our new ‘digs’ at 151 High Suite 6. If you have not been in, we have a beautiful new visitor center and offices. At the end of June, we hosted the 2021 Annual Meeting and Awards night in a pop-up event center next to the Maine Coast Mall. Close to 400 attended, as we honored this year, as well as last year’s Top Drawer, Citizen of the Year, and Business Awards.

While we planned for Autumn’s biggest weekend with Autumn Gold events, the weather had another plan.  A full weekend of torrential downpours left the Car Show and Waterfront boat rides and food fair canceled. We made up for it at Christmas and the Holiday Season! The Chamber, along with the City of Ellsworth Rec Commission put on a big Christmas Parade, with new director Kim Fitch at the helm, a huge Tree Lighting event at City Hall, and many other events all over town, under the Christmas in Ellsworth banner.

It is good to see our live event venues open back up with productions, concerts, movies, and plays. Our museums and galleries, nonprofit events, and school programs have all made a comeback to open venues.


As we head into the long winter months, plan to attend a play, or go out to dinner, shopping at a locally-owned place, or purchase a gift certificate for later. We still need to support our small businesses thru the winter months.  Stop by our office and see what else we can do for your business’s visibility, including rack space, shelf displays, marketing ideas, as well as notary, bulk mailing, and referral services! The Chamber is still one of the best bargains, for the information, services, education, and exposure we offer your company!

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