It’s tricky to be the executive director of a chamber of commerce sometimes, because at our core we try and promote all of our businesses equally. That puts us in some odd situations at times, like with this week’s column. Let me explain.

Normally, this column is either a preview/review of regional events or it is a one-topic editorial on a matter affecting the business community whether that be politically, with new trends or opportunities to capitalize on. This week, however, I wanted to throw out some anecdotes from a very busy summer and early fall cultivated by experiences I had personally with local businesses and programs.

Now, none of these make for a full column topic on their own but I thought they were cool enough and unique enough to get a little recognition. The tough part is it that it’s always tricky to name some businesses and not others, so please understand if you are not mentioned it’s only because I am limited to 1,000 words per column and I couldn’t possibly name all of the things in one column, or even 10 columns.

I hope this becomes a reoccurring piece that I do several times per year (if you like it) and that I will get a chance to mention more businesses in future columns. Side note for member businesses: Feel free to invite the chamber to upcoming events you have or give us a tour of your business so we can share some of your news in opportunities like this.

So with that caveat, here we go:

  • Cook’s Lobster & Ale House now has a food truck! I found this out over the weekend while attending the Big Brothers Big Sisters Cornhole Tournament at Flight Deck Brewing (and getting our butts kicked by some very talented cornhole players). Jen and Nick were serving up all kinds of goodies (try the pretzels). You can see their red truck up at Flight Deck right now.
  • The Pierce Studio is getting into more framing. Jeff Morris let us know that with a neighbor framing shop shutting their doors that they have increased their framing workload. Though they are known for portraits and other photography needs, Jeff has been doing framing on the side for 22 years.
  • Tons of new businesses have opened this summer and early fall. Moody’s Seafood in Brunswick held a ribbon cutting Memorial Day weekend complete with a fully costumed lobster, and they are also working on opening The Black Pearl in October in the former Captain Mike’s location on Bath Road in Brunswick. Bath Brewing Company and The New Place (a boutique food and wine shop with a vast and unique selection) opened in Bath. Topsham Care Center and Kume Japanese restaurant opened in Topsham Fair Mall. Moderation Brewing already feels like a veteran business but they are in their first year still on Maine Street in Brunswick and the same for Over the Moon in Bath, which opened in November.
  • Even more business renovated their existing spaces or moved into new digs. Wayfair celebrated their second year anniversary on Brunswick Landing with a massive open house, and showcase of their expansion to accommodate even more departments. Did you know most Wayfair sites have only one of their multiple departments under one roof — say customer service, or talent recruitment or product management, etc. The Brunswick site has five or six departments under one roof. Other expansions include new construction at Bowdoin College, Norway Savings Bank is going through a redesign and some of their locations, Cumberland Farms is doing an overhaul, and Brunswick has a Fielder’s Choice now on Bath Road. The Bath Food Pantry moved locations, and when I toured their new site last week, their executive director Kim Gates told me they are serving 41 more families now that they are more centrally located and easier to get to.
  • Did you know Sea Dog Brewing in Topsham has a wonderful Sunday breakfast buffet? I happened to catch it — I had no idea as I thought they were only lunch and dinner. Dozens of options.
  • Maine State Music Theatre’s more than 200 employees this season came from 47 states and three countries.
  • New England Fitness has expanded to a second floor space about three doors down from their first floor location in the Topsham Fair Mall. Our members got to see the space at the most recent Chamber After Hours and it’s impressive with a giant spin class room with nearly two dozen bikes and private studios for massage, wellness consultation, acupuncture, life coaching and more. We even met two other tenants, Josh who runs the Nerd Barn (think of Best Buy’s former Geek Squad — he is tech guru) and a lovely couple who runs Sweet Treat, a deluxe smoothie bar. It’s a very cool integrated space.
  • Mid Coast-Parkview Health helped the chamber kick off our first SMMC Presents … series in June with CEO Lois Skillings discussing the state of health care today and where she sees it going over the next decade. Dr. Francis Elerbe of Price & Associates kicked off our Members Helping Members one-hour workshop series in July with a presentation on evaluating your leadership skills and seeing how it fits with others on your team. The SMMC will be continuing both programs this fall with new speakers and topics.
  • Maine Maritime Museum unveiled the Mary E and had it commissioned this summer with well over 500 attendees at the special launching ceremony. Also this year’s shipbuilding history exhibits and lighthouse replica are must see pieces for anyone interested in the history of our region.
  • Finally, the chamber launched our own YouTube channel in August. You can log on now and search “Southern Midcoast Maine Chamber” and find videos from FIORE, Coast Bar & Bistro, Highland Games videos, life coaching with InspireMe Fitness, IT Solutions with Burgess Technology Services and so much more.

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: