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Letter From the Director from January, 2017

 

Hello from High Street

 

Welcome to the New Year from the Ellsworth Area Chamber! It has been one year since I took the interim director position and I must say it has been a fast, exciting and fun year.  We decided that 2016 would focus on “What do I get for my Membership?” year.  The Board of Directors and the staff have spent a lot of time listening to our members and trying to respond with programming, benefits and projects that we felt fit what we were hearing. Five chamber businesses even paid for one half of a first-class membership for businesses who could not have joined otherwise.

 

First Friday coffee hours started in January 2016.  It is a way for you to just stop by, have some coffee and a treat and see our office, talk to the staff about the chamber, or just visit. As expected there were First Friday’s when we had more than ten people stop in and others when no members stopped by, but our visitor center guests got an extra bonus of coffee and donuts! We plan on continuing First Friday and welcome you to stop in during 2017! No RSVP required.

 

2016 proved to be a difficult year for employers with retention and attraction of a good workforce.  We heard this over and over. We saw the “Help Wanted” on your signs.  Our November day long business conference focused on these very issues, with not only speakers in the fields of employment, but local business owners sharing stories and ideas with other members.  If you were unable to attend, we hope to take a few of the popular topics and schedule some morning classes and workshops throughout the winter and early spring, including a Customer Service 4-part series in conjunction with the Continuing Education office.  More information coming soon!

 

2016 was also a fun year with many memorable events. Business After Hours generously hosted by our members, included tasting wines and eating wood grilled pizza at Seal Cove Farms, hitting golf balls to win prizes at Maine Savings, enjoying new businesses such as the Cellar Bistro and Quality Jewelers. Who can forget the 20th anniversary at the Union River Lobster Pot on an early summer evening? We hosted the Acadia Centennial Committee and Senator Susan Collins at our ‘revived’ Member Breakfasts.  We honored 60 years of past Chamber Board Presidents at our Annual Meeting, with many of them in attendance, a very special evening. We added a successful beer and wine tasting event to Autumn Gold. Finally, we helped bring 9 businesses locate in the former Grasshopper Shop for a Holiday Market for the Christmas shopping season. I hope you could take part in at least a few of these chamber events.

 

As I look forward to the new year ahead, I must thank all of you for your membership, good ideas and wishes, volunteer time, advice and support of me and my wonderful staff. I also wish to thank our chamber board for their time and talents over the past year.  From the Ellsworth Area Chamber of Commerce to all of you, a very prosperous, and happy 2017!

 

Gretchen

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