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Weekly Chamber Beat

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February 02, 2021

February 4, 2021

We are working hard to make sure that we update and post on our Facebook page, but we need your help. Like our page and share it to help us establish a better foot print.
It is not too late to apply for the federally funded PPP Loans (Payroll Protection Program). If you are a small business this second wave of the government backed stimulus package of forgiven loans can be accessed through a number of financial  institutions in our area. Go to to get started.  All the information you need to know about applying for one of these loans will be provided on the SBA (Small Business Administration) website. You can also call the bank you work with and find out if they are one of the lenders.
The Chamber is looking to find ways we can help our restaurants in the area and we were contacted by the Portland Visitors Info Center, asking if we thought our restaurants would “embrace” the idea behind dinning outside in the winter. This is an idea that is being shopped around statewide. The intention is to, of course, help struggling eateries and finding alternative ways to do this. For example, Quebec absolutely embraces everything about winter with their traditional Winter Carnival and restaurants engage in the activities by offering dining outside. I’ve been there and I’ve seen it. We are Yankees (and I don’t mean that in baseball terms) and we love our outdoor recreations during the winter months so what about the idea of dinning outside?  
I’m interested in hearing from you on this idea to see if we can get some traction for this right here in the Oxford Hills. Email me at or call me at 207-743-2281 and let’s talk about it. I’ll also check back with more details so stay tuned!
Our magazine, Oxford Hills, the official, magazine of the Oxford Hills, is available at great stores like Hannaford, Wal Mart and Roopers Beverage & Redemption Center in Oxford. Pick up a copy today from one of our customized racks. They are free and filled with fabulous information about the communities, personalities and characters, businesses, profit and non-profit, historical gems about what has made us special, a calendar of events, Chamber business directory and a destinations map for the entire family.
Finally on a personal note thank you Rick Colpitts for your commitment to the children of the Oxford Hills and your willingness to always work with and partner with our Chamber of Commerce, helping to bring education and business together for the benefit of those children and the communities of the Oxford Hills. Your leadership will certainly be missed but I am equally sure that you will enjoy a well-deserved retirement.

January 21, 2021

Here’s hoping that your new year is filled with a sense that somehow things will get better as long as we all work together to make that happen. It’s important that you know the Oxford Hills Chamber of Commerce is here to support our 13 communities in any way we can. In the meantime wear that mask, safely distance, use sanitizer and spend time outdoors whenever you can!  

The new stimulus package is out and individuals are receiving their $600.00 checks and if for some reason you are concerned you haven’t received or won’t get yours, call the IRS and they can(and should)be able to answer your questions about it. I know because I’ve already looked into this for others.

PPP (Payroll Protection Plan) is rolling out as well but it appears to be taking a bit longer to get to some of the banks. You can go directly to the SBA (Small Business Association) to get specific information about applying for the relief money. Just google SBA here in Maine and there will be information about the program and what options you, as a business have to get access to these funds.

We will continue to provide our communities with access to every resource at our disposal in an effort to help sustain and maintain until we are able to return to any sense of normality. Go to our website for breaking news, videos and podcasts that are intended to keep you up to date on what is happening and where you can go for help. Follow our Facebook page where we will be posting news and information about what is happening in the communities of the Oxford Hills. Finally remember to read this column each week and to listen to my weekly Chamber Chat on WOXO 92.7 & 100.7FM, and check out our weekly video posted on our website with NPC TV.

I would like to welcome our newest Board Members to the Chamber of Commerce.

  • Stan Bennett is the President and owner of the Bennett Radio Group. Stan purchased the Gleason Radio Network last summer and is thoroughly committed to our local market here in western Maine. He brings decades of experience as a radio station operator at the highest levels here in New England. Great to have him on board!
  • Paul Bickford is the director of the Oxford Hills Technical School and a tremendous asset in strengthening the partnership between the technical school and area businesses. His energy and skills are already expanding the programs available at the school and I look forward to his support in the year ahead!

Support local business more than ever right now. When you want to eat out and know you really can’t do much of that, order take out from your favorite restaurant and help them get through this. Shop retail locally, buy your groceries locally with stores like Hannaford and Wal-Mart offering to bring it to your car after you order online.

January 12, 2021

We are into a brand new year and hopefully a much better year ahead. With distribution now underway with the vaccine, we certainly look forward to the day when the Covid 19 pandemic will be behind us!

However, until that day comes it is imperative that you be diligent in following all Covid 19 protocols as mandated by the State of Maine. Wear your masks in any public place and always use sanitizer after handling anything, including groceries, retail products you buy, door handles, etc.

I’ve even gone so far as to demonstrate how you should be appropriately covered with your mask on our weekly video “The Chamber Moment”, which you can find on the front page of our website at . In addition I talk about the stimulus checks, the Payroll Protection Plan (PPP) and the earned Paid Leave law, now in effect here in Maine. Each week we produce a new video that is intended to inform and provide an ongoing resource to the communities we represent.

You can also find information about the new stimulus program and issues that affect your business by going to our Face Book page and you will also find that information in our constant Contact directory but you need to register your email information if you would like to receive these announcements, which come out, oftentimes, two or three times a day. You can do that by going to our website and at the bottom right side of the page there is a "Join our Email List" box where you can sign on!

I want to welcome our new Board of Directors Chairman for 2021. James Hamper has served our region as a Republican State Senator in District 19 for 8 years and has now retired from the Senate after 4 terms. Senator Hamper also served as a representative in the Maine House for 8 years prior to being elected to the Senate. He has chaired the state Appropriations & Finance Committees while also serving on committees associated with health & human services.
We are looking forward to taking advantage of his vast knowledge of state government in focusing on serving the members of the Chamber and the communities of the Oxford Hills.

I also would like to take a moment to thank our outgoing Chair, Michelle “Micki” Fratianne, of Granite Ridge Estates, for her leadership during a challenging and disruptive year. Her hours of volunteer work associated with the Chamber’s ongoing service to the communities throughout 2020 is notable.

Finally, a recommendation about staying healthy in 2021. Get outside and ski, cross country ski, snowshoe, at Mt. Abram, at Carters Cross Country Ski Center, at Roberts Farm Preserve. Get on that snowmobile and head out on one of the great trails that are provided by our local snowmobile clubs, a perfect way to safely social distance by the way, and head out onto one of the many lakes and ponds that we have, once the ice is safe, and go ice fishing!
John Williams, Executive Director, 207-743-2281

Oxford Hills Chamber of Commerce

4 Western Avenue South Paris, ME 04281

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