We’re diving back into the award profiles this week, but before that though, we have a few April events that you may want to know about. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, we have a management agreement with the Yarmouth Chamber of Commerce, and they have two April events coming up, while our Bath-Brunswick Regional Chamber has three April events. Here are some quick details; all are welcome:

• 100 Days to Clam Festival, 5-7 p.m. Thursday, April 10, at Brickyard Hollow, Yarmouth: We are so excited to get together and chat with potential volunteers, nonprofits and clam lovers about this year’s festival (July 19-21). Join us at Brickyard Hollow in Yarmouth (236 Main St., Yarmouth), have some food and meet some awesome people while hearing about what’s new this year!

• 12 @ 12 Networking Lunch, noon to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 17, Brunswick: Our monthly networking lunch series is in Brunswick this month as we get 10 members and two non-members together for a free lunch and talk about their businesses for five minutes. Email anthony@midcoastmaine.com to get one of the four remaining open seats for next Wednesday.

• Yarmouth Financial Planning Event and Yarmouth After Hours Networking Event, 5-7 p.m. on April 23: Nonprofits and entrepreneurs are invited to join us at shepard FINANCIAL for a financial literacy event from 5-6 p.m., followed by a Chamber After Hours networking event beginning at 6. For more information, email cory@yarmouthmaine.org.

• Chamber After Hours, 5-7 p.m. on April 24, co-sponsored by SCORE and Union + Co., Bath: Join us for BBRC monthly networking event — turnout should be huge! SCORE is co-hosting with Union + Co. in Bath. RSVP at midcoastmaine.com.

• WILL Power’s Let’s Be Social Networking Event at Social Goose, from 5-7 p.m. on April 25, Brunswick: Our Women in Local Leadership team kicks off its 2024 event calendar with a social, appropriately enough at The Social Goose in Brunswick, sponsored by GoNetSpeed. Come meet local business leaders and chat about events you’d like to see in 2024.


Here’s our profile on the incredible Jen Charboneau who was honored by our board President Shannon Anketell at the BBRC’s Annual Awards Night on March 7.

Jen Charboneau, 2024 President’s Award

The world needs more people like Jen Charboneau.

Jen is a native Mainer who, after a brief 20 years in Vermont, finally found her way home. To be fair, when she was ready to come home after a few years, she met her husband Nick and decided to start their family in Vermont. Yet Jen missed her big extended family in Maine, and Nick understood, so when he said, “Find me a restaurant and we will move,” Jen did just that. In 2013, Jen’s family sent a realty flyer to her about Cook’s Lobster & Ale House being for sale in Harpswell. They drove up to see it a few weeks later and they fell in love with the location, even if the condition of the property at that time needed its own love. It was a bit of a rollercoaster after that, but on July 1, 2015, they signed the paperwork.

Six months later, and after their first summer of really seeing where the gaps were in the effectiveness of the equipment and the layout, Jill and Nick shut the restaurant down from January through April to do a complete kitchen renovation and an expansion/renovation of the pub area. Their staff helped where they could, and many local contractors helped on the project. When they reopened, the public was blown away with the changes, and that set the course for several successful years that followed.

In 2018, Jen and Nick got a food truck that they stationed at Flight Deck Brewing, which was still building its client base in Brunswick, and together, the partnership flourished. Flight Deck had great food options, and Cook’s got great exposure, which drove more traffic to its Harpswell location. 2019 led to a huge septic upgrade and a driveway repaving that was necessary, too. All in all, since they took over the space, they have invested close to $1.25 million into rebuilding, repairing and upgrading.

From the very beginning, Cook’s has been involved with the chamber and the events we do. Jen and Nick have been a part of at least one chamber event per year since owning the restaurant, and in the past three years, they have been part of every major event the chamber does each year. This is just part of their story, though, as they are heavily involved in the community, and though some of that is Little League teams and those types of supports, they also do big-dollar fundraisers.


For several years now, they have done an annual Home Heating Oil fundraiser for the Town of Harpswell. They raised so much in 2023 that it covered every request the town received for assistance. To date, they have donated over $120,000 raised from the dinner-auction event from attendees. Additionally, after the destruction of the working waterfronts, they did a fundraiser that helped raise $20,000 just last month that went to Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association. This working waterfront restoration fundraiser will become an annual event as well, as rebuilding will be a process over many years.

This is who Jen and Nick are, and they have instilled this into their culture at Cook’s. Their staff is full of friendly faces many people know and love. When it came time for the annual awards, Shannon Anketell said that Jen needs to be recognized for all that she has done and continues to do. She is a valued board member, an active sponsor and volunteer at all three major events every year, a great representative of the hospitality industry and of the Harpswell business community, and they give back so much to the region. We couldn’t agree more.

Congratulations to Jen Charboneau for being named the 2024 President’s Award winner.

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

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