Chamber honors outstanding businesses

By Gail Geraghty
Staff Writer

The historic Town Hall was transformed by twinkling white lights and delicate branches as members of the Greater Bridgton Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce gathered Friday for their annual dinner and awards ceremony.

The decorations were done by a new chamber member, Heart in Hand, Inc. owned by Matt and Jen Cohen of Brownfield.

“This is where we used to play basketball. To see this is nice,” Executive Director Jim Mains told the crowd of around 100 seated at rows of tables. He said the chamber’s finances are stable, and “we’re growing and we’re poised to move ahead and continue with our mission.”

Mains took over as director of the chamber last December, during a difficult transition period for the organization. “I want to thank the board for the patience they’ve showed me — it’s been a lot of learning experience,” he said.

When it came her turn, Chamber President Karen Harding, owner of Pleasant View Too Bed & Breakfast, asked the members to think about the chamber’s mission, which is to advance the commercial, recreational, industrial civic, cultural, educational and economic interests of its membership in the communities it serves.

Sometimes I hear the question, what does the chamber do for me? I want us to think about that for just a minute,” Harding said. “We are the chamber. Therefore it is up to us to support each other.”

An organization is only as strong as the support of its members, Harding said, which is why the board, at its most recent retreat, decided to start a campaign called “For Every Member, Get a Member.”

“If we want this chamber to grow, we have to spread the word,” Harding said. Chamber officers for 2011 are, Harding as president, Holly Dvorak as vice president, Chuck Hamaty as secretary and David Barker as treasurer.

Before the dinner provided by Lake Region Caterers was served, Mains and Harding announced this year’s winners of chamber awards, as voted by chamber members, as follows:

• Rookie of the Year — Blaine Chapman of Chapman’s Lawn & Yard Works of Bridgton;

• President’s Award — John Likshis, director, Lake Region Television, serving 12 communities in western Maine;

• Small Business of the Year — (a tie) Lake Region Caterers of Naples, owned by Jeff and Vicki Toole, and Main Street Graphics of Bridgton, owned by Jayne and Chuck Hamaty;

• Business of the Year — (a tie) Point Sebago of Casco and Renys Department Store of Bridgton;

• Community Volunteer of the Year — (posthumously) awarded to the late Nancy Smoak, for her work on helping found the Bridgton Community Center, Gallery 302 and Rufus Porter Museum Cultural Heritage Series, among other volunteer efforts.

Please follow and like us: