FREEPORT – Just a year and a half after launching, the Tri-Town Weekly has made a distinct impression with the bustling Freeport business community.

During its annual meeting on Jan. 27, the Greater Freeport Chamber of Commerce honored the newspaper with its Business of the Year award. Tri-Town Weekly publisher Lee Hews smiled broadly as she accepted the commemorative plaque from chamber board member Caleb Stephens.

“Freeport – the whole community of businesses and local residents – has been very welcoming and supportive of the Tri-Town Weekly,” Hews said following the meeting. “We are proud to be the local newspaper and to be honored with such a wonderful award from the Greater Freeport Chamber of Commerce. We will continue to work very hard to be the best we can be.”

Tri-Town Weekly, which covers Freeport, Durham and Pownal, launched in July 2012. It is one of six weekly newspapers and several niche magazines published by Current Publishing.

Stephens told the gathering that Tri-Town Weekly has established a “critical relationship” with the chamber.

“Building partnerships and creating connections are what our chamber does best,” he said. “How lucky we are to have forged a strong relationship with the Tri-Town Weekly. They have supported the chamber with a wonderful pre-holiday co-op ad arrangement that was enormously successful, featured chamber members regularly in front-page stories, and kept our member events promoted every week in the Freeport News [column] by Betsy Roper.’”

Stephens added that Tri-Town and the Greater Freeport Chamber of Commerce will launch a new initiative in March, called “Best of Best.”

Harry Hopcroft, L.L. Bean employees and Edward Bonney also came to the podium as award recipients

Hopcroft won the Volunteer of the Year award.

“Our honoree this year has brought productive ideas to our Events Committee, created our weekly business networking group, Business to Business Connections, aka BBC, and even troubleshoots our computers,” Stephens said.

An L.L. Bean team won the Freeport Trivia Challenge, and those names are the first entered on a plaque that will be displayed in the chamber office. Stephens congratulated Carolyn Beem, Janet Wyper, Ruth Porter and Eric Smith.

The L.L. Bean Community Involvement Award, created this year, is named for a business that has had a “major impact on the fabric of the Freeport business and residential communities.” The award also recognizes a company’s contribution to and participation in local nonprofit organizations, interest in community development and support in connecting businesses. It went to none other than L.L. Bean.

Beem presented the newly created Edward M. Bonney Award to Ed Bonney, who was instrumental in bringing the Amtrak Downeaster to town. Sandi Updegraph, executive director of the chamber, described the award’s purpose.

“In choosing the award’s namesake the directors looked for someone who has a history of investment in Freeport, the region, the state and beyond, and who has made a serious commitment to public service,” Updegraph said. “The award is named for a person who is a connector and a catalyst for thoughtful change.”

Lee Hews, publisher of the Tri-Town Weekly, smiles after accepting the Business of the Year Award from the Greater Freeport Chamber of Commerce, during the chamber’s annual meeting Jan. 27 at the Harraseeket Inn. 

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