About eight times per year, I write a 10 x 100 — 10 updates in 100(ish) words or less. Often these are event updates, observations or tidbits of information that I found to be interesting but typically unrelated. Enjoy.

Retirement enrollment for businesses of five or more

We’re presenting a workshop titled “How Do I Get There From Here: Navigating Maine’s New Required Retirement Policy for Businesses of 5+ Employees” at the BBRC Office in Brunswick at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 7. Anastasia LaMarca from Primerica will be speaking about MERIT, the Maine Retirement Investment Trust, that goes into effect this spring. All companies with five or more employees are required to register by April 30 and many know nothing about it. This is very important; in this free workshop, we’ll discuss how to comply, discuss contribution rates and what other plans qualify. Anastasia is not here to sell, she’s here to help get your questions answered. For more information, email me at cory@midcoastmaine.com. Open to members and non-members.

Huge Chamber After Hours in January, next one Feb. 15

Over 110 attendees were at the last Chamber After Hours hosted at Brickyard Hollow in Brunswick on Jan. 30. Thank you, those who came out, and for the non-members who joined us to experience what a chamber event like this is all about. Please remember, you don’t need to be a member to attend, you simply need a business card to prove you’re a business leader in the region. Our February After Hours will be at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Bath and co-hosted by Bath Savings from 5-7 p.m. on Feb. 15. RSVP on the BBRC website at midcoastmaine.com.

Bath Winterfest is back on Feb. 24

Main Street Bath is bringing back Bath Winterfest on Feb. 24 with many events that day and in the days leading up to it. The lantern parade will be at 5:30 p.m. that Saturday night, but lantern-making classes are happening earlier that day and also at Midcoast Youth Center on Feb. 22 and 23. There will be the disc golf contest, the Yeti on the prowl, a baked bean supper on Friday night and three comedy shows over two nights. For more information, go to visitbath.com.

Businesses: Sign up today for interns and bus tours

Everyone is stretched out, but it couldn’t be easier for businesses to get their names on the list as potential host sites for high school interns and bus tours. Our chamber website at midcoastmaine.com has downloadable forms that are easy to fill out, and we share those completed forms with the schools for their students. We have at least a dozen forms we’re waiting on, so if you do want to be a part, please email those forms back to us or give us a call.

Businesses: Get in the classroom for career exploration

Want to tell students why you love your career path and why it might be a great one for students to look at? Then contact us at the BBRC at 725-8797 and we’ll connect you to the right people at Brunswick, Mt. Ararat or Morse high schools, or Midcoast Youth Center, as they are constantly looking for business leaders to come meet the students and share their stories.


Census data: How old are we?

I’ve been in some meetings recently where we are looking at very interesting regional data taken from the census and data sets, which I find fascinating. For instance, of the 16 communities our chamber represents, which community has the oldest median age for their residents? Harpswell is the answer with a median age of 61.5 years old, followed by Georgetown (58.8), Arrowsic (54.2) and Phippsburg (54.0).

Census data: How young are we?

Conversely, can you guess which community in our chamber region has the youngest median age of their residents? Richmond is the answer at 36.4 years old, followed by Brunswick (41.3) and Bath (43.5). This type of data can help us anticipate what the needs might be in some of these communities going forward.

Zillow Index: Median home value by community

To understand the housing issues in our region, it’s important to know where we stand in relation to each community and to the national average. According to the Zillow Index, the median price for a home in the U.S. in 2023 was $346,000. Of the communities in our region, the only communities below that number were Richmond ($309K) and Bath ($335K). The highest median values were in the coastal communities, of course, with Harpswell and Georgetown both over $650K.

Percentage of new builds by community

According to the American Data Survey and the five-year census, most of the communities in our region have less than 10% of their housing stock being built since 2010. However, can you name the community that has had nearly 19% of their homes, nearly 1 in 5, built since 2010? Harpswell. The only other community to crack double digits was Phippsburg, where just over 10% of their housing stock was built in 2010 and after.

The importance of facts

One last note on the facts above: Facts are very important with the consequential issues facing American decision makers in 2024. Real-life, actual, verifiable statistics are more important than ever. I have no doubt that some who read the statistics above said, “That statistic doesn’t feel right to me” or whatnot. Know that how you feel about a statistic doesn’t change the fact of it.

For instance, you may feel that Phippsburg has a higher median value home price than other communities because you know a few well-to-do homeowners out there. That doesn’t make it a fact. It’s going to be really important this year that when we are presented with facts, even if they disagree with what our expected presumptions were, that we acknowledge that our presumptions about those facts may have been incorrect, not that the verifiable facts are incorrect. It sounds basic, but it’s vital.

Cory King is executive director of the Bath-Brunswick Regional Chamber of Commerce.

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