Maine Gov. Janet Mills, right, came to Biddeford Thursday May 26 to congratulate Heart of Biddeford on winning a national Great American Main Street Award, and is shown here with HOB Director Delilah Poupore, left, and Mayor Alan Casavant, center. Tammy Wells Photo

BIDDEFORD — Heart of Biddeford won a big honor a couple of weeks ago  — The Great American Main Street Award — one of three bestowed nationwide by the Main Street America organization.

On Thursday, May 26, Gov. Janet Mills dropped by the Heart of Biddeford office — appropriately located on Main Street — to offer her congratulations.

“It’s such an honor,” said Mills. “The competition had to be stiff.”

Biddeford joined Laramie, Wyoming, and Hammond, Louisiana, as the 2022 winners. Poupore said Main Street America officials told her it was rare for a community to win on a first try.

Biddeford Mayor Alan Casavant makes a point during a chat with Gov. Janet Mills at Heart of Biddeford on Thursday, May 26. From the left are Heart of Biddeford Board Chair Denise Desrochers, HOB’s Amy Hegeney, HOB Director Delilah Poupore, Mills, Casavant and Sen. Susan Deschambault. Tammy Wells Photo

Mills’ visit was part of a sweep of various communities in York County, including a tour of Kennebunk Main Street and earlier visits at Pratt & Whitney and Hussey Seating in North Berwick as well as a stop in Wells.

At Heart of Biddeford, Mills had a conversation with Executive Director Delilah Poupore, HOB board Chair Denise Desrochers, HOB’s Megan Hageney,  Mayor Alan Casavant, Sen. Susan Deschambault and Maine Speaker of the House Rep. Ryan Fecteau that touched on the themes of housing, the labor shortage, and more.

Poupore told Mills Thursday that eight new businesses set up shop in Biddeford during the height of the coronavirus pandemic and are still operating. She said Biddeford business owners have told her that a lack of housing people can afford is an issue, and that having affordable housing could help ease the labor shortage.

Gov. Janet Mills visited Mark’s Garage on Main Street in Kennebunk May 26, one of several stops she made in a sweep of York County that day. Courtesy Photo

Heart of Biddeford was accredited as a Main Street America program in 2007. Since that time, the organization has played a role in bringing $216 million in public and private reinvestment to Biddeford, seeing a net growth of 167 new businesses, and assisting with the revitalization of 99 buildings, officials said. Main Street America praised the city for its strong small business environment and its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.


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