The Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce proudly announces the launch of two vital initiatives aimed at bolstering small businesses in Androscoggin County. In the wake of the October 25th Tragedy, the Chamber recognizes the challenges faced by local businesses. The LA Metro Chamber, a trusted resource for information, support, and response efforts, has been instrumental in addressing the needs of businesses affected by the tragedy, and is launching a two-pronged approach to support local businesses.

Small Business Relief Fund (SBRF) Grants: Immediate Relief for Androscoggin County Businesses

The Small Business Relief Fund (SBRF) is a crucial endeavor designed to offer short-term relief to businesses in Androscoggin County. These funds aim to stabilize the local economy and position the region for economic resilience following the unprecedented challenges of the October 25th tragedy.

History and Context:

During the October 25-27th lockdown, businesses in the area faced unexpected closures and incurred unforeseen expenses related to evacuations and disposal of perishable goods. The economic impact extended beyond the closures, with a slow rebound in customer return and revenue generation. Responding to the community’s needs, the SBRF was initiated by the LA Metro Chamber prior to November 1, 2023, and has received overwhelming support with approximately $575,000 raised by December 15, 2023.

Use of Funds:

As of December 15, 2023, the funds raised will be utilized in two phases:

  • Phase 1 Grants (Immediate Relief):

    • $150,000 available on a first-come, first-served basis.

    • The first 150 eligible and complete applications received by January 19, 2024 will be awarded $1,000, or until funds are fully granted.

    • If funds remain after January 19, 2024, they will be awarded through Phase 2 Grants.

  • Phase 2 Grants (Short Term Relief):

    • $350,000 allocated for grants for businesses, and requires additional documentation.

    • Eligible Phase 1 applicants will be encouraged to submit Phase 2 Grant applications.

Regional Marketing and Contingency:

Collaborative marketing campaigns, led by the Chamber in partnership with media and municipalities, will encourage residents and visitors to support local businesses. The #LocalLAFlavor contest, starting immediately, invites participants to share pictures of their favorite local spots using #LocalLAFlavor for a chance to win.

$75,000 is earmarked for initial marketing and emergent needs. If additional marketing funds are identified, SBRF funds will be used as a last resort, ensuring a portion of funds remains reserved for 2024 emergent needs.

Important Dates:

  • The Small Business Relief Grant Application launches on December 20, 2024.

  • Live support line available from Thursday, December 21, 2024, running 7 AM – 8 PM Monday-Friday (except holidays).

  • Deadlines for Phase 1 and Phase 2 Grants: January 19, 2023, 11:59 PM

FMI about the Small Business Relief Grants, click here.

#LocalLAFlavor Contest: Celebrating Local Cuisine and Community Support

To encourage area residents to get back out to their local favorite spots, a collaborative contest has been launched. Many bars, breweries, family entertainment, and restaurant businesses across Androscoggin County continue to see year-over-year losses since October 25th. “Many owners and operators are just starting to see a portion of their customer base return, and their first question is “Where are the exits”.” said Shanna Cox, President + CEO of the LA Metro Chamber of Commerce. “While the likelihood of another mass shooting is infinitesimally small, lingering fear is to be expected. This contest encourages people to check on their favorite bartender or server, order takeout, or sit down inside again.


“The contest is easy – simply share a picture of a purchase from your favorite local spot with #LocalLAFlavor on Facebook or Instagram for a chance to win. Three lucky winners will be selected – one $100 winner and two $50 winners. Let’s celebrate our local flavors and demonstrate community support. The contest ends on January 8, 2024.

Businesses and individuals are both encouraged to get involved and enter to win. FMI, click here.

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