Auburn Celebrates Opening of The Holy Donut with Ribbon Cutting

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held for the new Holy Donut location in Auburn on Tuesday, April 20. Auburn Mayor Jason J. Levesque was joined by the City of Auburn Director of Business & Community Development Glen Holmes, LA Metro Chamber President + CEO Shanna Cox, LA Metro Chamber Board Chair-elect John Rice of Schooner Estates, Senator Susan Collins’ representative, and members of the public.

“Having the opportunity to set up a location for The Holy Donut, a company I love working for, in a community like Auburn and Lewiston, which I love being in, hasn’t just been exciting and fun, it’s really been an honor.  Spreading the joy of donuts to a new area is always going to be great, but getting to know the people in Auburn/Lewiston has made it special,” says Tim Benhoff, General Manager.

The Holy Donut is a locally owned company founded on the premise that when you use the best quality ingredients you can find, you can feel good about having a wholesome treat.  They make their donuts from scratch, by hand, every day, in each of their stores using real Maine potatoes – and they pride themselves on providing an inclusive, clean and welcoming environment for their guests and teammates. The Holy Donut opened its Auburn location in January this year, making it the third location in Maine, and the first outside of the greater Portland area. 

“Today not only symbolizes our community’s desire to be resilient but its desire to recover and thrive past recovery,” said Mayor Levesque, “The Holy Donut is a great addition to our community and I know they have made thousands and thousands of people in Auburn very happy.  We wish the Holy Donut team a bright, sweet, and flavorful future here on Minot Ave.”

The Holy Donut team began looking at Auburn about a year ago, and were excited to see the number of approved residential and commercial building permits, indicating growth in Auburn.  “We felt Auburn would be a good landing spot for us and that the area was ready for our product.  We loved the old Tim Hortons location on Minot Avenue and knew we could retrofit it as we did with our location in Scarborough,” said Jeff Buckwalter, CEO/Co-Owner.

“No matter how delicious our donuts are, it’s our staff that keeps customers coming back. We have been so lucky to find such exceptional people from the greater Lewiston/Auburn area to represent us here at The Holy Donut,” said Ally Emmons, Assistant General Manager.

Whether you are looking for a sweet treat, a savory splurge, a caffeine kick, or a friendly face, the Holy Donut in Auburn has you covered.  Every day their team strives to uphold the values and the spirit on which The Holy Donut was founded – by delivering a one of a kind, wholesome treat in a welcoming, inclusive environment while being thoughtful, kind and positive to their customers and to each other.

“The Holy Donut management and ownership team have become active in the Chamber and our local business community. They clearly care about the communities they serve, and we are proud to be here today and support their business on its journey in the region” said Shanna Cox, President + CEO of LA Metro Chamber. 

Auburn Celebrates Opening of Back in Motion Physical Therapy with Ribbon Cutting

LEWISTON, ME, April 13, 2021— A ribbon cutting ceremony was held for the new Back In Motion Physical Therapy location in Auburn on Tuesday, April 13. Auburn Mayor Jason J. Levesque was joined by the LA Metro Chamber Board Chair Jessica Donovan, CEO of Lucro Management, LA Metro Chamber Board Chair-elect, John Rice of Schooner Estates, Senator Susan Collins’ representative and members of the public.  

“We are excited to see new business growth in the region, and applaud Back in Motion Physical Therapy for expanding into Auburn at a time when so many businesses are struggling. Their services add to a rich landscape of health and wellness offerings in the area, and Polly and the team are so personal to work with,” said LA Metro Chamber Board Chair Jessica Donovan.  

Back in Motion Physical Therapy is new to Auburn, and currently employs 4 people. Their team of physical therapists help people recover from injuries, whether it’s a sudden, unexpected injury, or for those who are suffering from chronic pain.

“Our team of highly trained + experienced physical therapists personalize treatments to fit our patients’ needs, and specialize in treating a wide range of musculoskeletal injuries to help people manage pain, improve range of motion and improve quality of life,” said Polly Legere, Business Development Coordinator at Back In Motion.

When you visit Back In Motion for help with aches and pains, they’ll assess your condition and review your medical history to come up with a course of treatment that helps you reach your recovery goals.

“Your business expanding here, and the services you provide reinforces a message that Auburn takes care of it’s residents.  Your business adds to the betterment of this population – and that makes us feel really, really good about what we do every single day,” said Auburn Mayor Jason J. Levesque. 

“We strive to hire great people to meet the needs of this community, here in Auburn, across the bridge in Lewiston, and to the LA region,” said Ryan Martin, Back In Motion Group Director + Physical Therapist.

For those who are not exactly sure what physical therapy is, and are curious if the team at Back In Motion Auburn can help, visit the Back In Motion website to set up a complimentary pain consultation – and take the first step to begin living pain free.

Available Scholarships for Adult Learners + Local Students

The Chamber Foundation values the role we have in supporting learners across the county and views the awarding of scholarships as one key contribution to supporting a workforce for businesses in the region. We are proud to introduce a common application that makes it easy for your employees, adult learners, and graduating seniors to apply for financial support to further their learning and professional development.

Continuing your education after high school, seeking certifications and training to further your chosen career, or jumping into a new career pathway takes courage and hard work. Finances shouldn’t be the biggest factor in your decisions. The LA Metro Chamber is proud to offer three different scholarships for learners listed below, and invite you to apply today or recommend an individual deserving of some financial assistance for their learning.


Chamber Member Employee Scholarship
One award of $1,000

  • Be employed at least part time by an LA Metro Chamber member in good standing
  • At least 18 years old
  • Have not graduated from a traditional high school program in the last 12 months

High School Senior Scholarship
One award of $500 per high school

  • Be a graduating senior at a high school in Androscoggin County; planning to attend a local institution of higher learning
  • Be recommended by your high school guidance counselor, teacher, or principal.

College for ME – Androscoggin Scholarship
A minimum of one award per recipient of $500 per semester- or the cost of the class in Androscoggin County

  • Have previously earned a high school diploma or high school equivalency diploma
  • Have been out of high school (or equivalent program), or a college program for more than a year.

The Scholarship Application Deadline is April 15, 2021. For a successful submission, we will need the Scholarship Application, a Letter of Recommendation (submitted by recommender), and a Completed Personal Statement of no more than 350 words.

NEW COVID-19 Testing Site to Open in LA

Beginning Friday, November 13, 2020, community members of the greater LA area will have access to free COVID-19 testing at a new drive-thru location at the Downtown Auburn Transportation Center.

We are grateful to our 60+ members and community partners who supported the request for increased access to testing. Our ability to see results can be achieved when the business community speaks with one voice. This collective strength and your support made a new testing site possible for our community and ensures that our business owners will be able to operate safely through the winter months while prioritizing the health of their employees and customers. 

Learn More + Make an Appointment

LA Metro region launches a colorful face covering campaign

The business community of the LA region has a new, colorful campaign highlighting the importance of wearing face coverings to ensure customers and employees feel safe, and the area’s businesses stay open.  The clear messaging and bright personas were developed by LA Metro Chamber of Commerce Director of Marketing and Communications Meredith Carson to promote a healthy, protected, all-inclusive, local economy.  

“Months ago, people were ready to do anything to support local businesses and keep them open. Today, the request from these same businesses is simple- mask up and be kind. It keeps businesses open, customers coming in, and staff safe” says Shanna Cox, President + CEO of the LA Metro Chamber of Commerce. Wearing a face covering in customer-facing businesses is a simple and effective way to help reduce the spread to customers and employees while also making those around us feel safe and protected. A Midcoast Chamber survey reaching 3,000 consumers in Maine showed that one out of two customers have or would leave a business if they didn’t feel safe. 

This campaign will run through October 31st, and features ads on CBS13, Fox23, Spectrum digital, as well as banners at multiple locations throughout Lewiston and Auburn. Any business can get a free laminated sign for their business at the LA Metro Chamber, or by visiting the City of Auburn or Lewiston. Staff from both municipalities will also be visiting business locations throughout the next two months to drop off signs and additional information about financial relief and business support. For more information, visit or email

Reopening: Your business, Your Chamber

Key Resources and Our Approach

Last Friday, late in the afternoon, the Mills administration announced the Rural Reopening Plan. This announcement was on the heels of the expanded testing announcement, made the day before. The major takeaway– 12 of our 16 counties would be opening retail, restaurants, and camping 2-3 weeks earlier than noted in the original stages of the Safe, Gradual Plan to Restart Maine’s Economy; Androscoggin was not among them

What does this mean for you?

You have the advantage of the next two weeks to prepare for reopening- a luxury many counties in Maine weren’t afforded. And you need this time to prepare. At the end of this post, I have called out the specific references and resources that you will find the most helpful. The single most important piece worth calling out twice is the General Guidance checklist. Any industry with their own checklist (listed on the DECD site now or in the future) requires you to also follow the general guidance. There are a lot of factors all businesses should be considering as Maine reopens. If you have been open all along– this new stage of reopening still offers new information and guidance for you that allows for interactions with the public and vendors again. If you are preparing to reopen, you will need to review the checklists that are available, keeping an eye out for new checklists for your industry, and most importantly– look for any changes in the general guidance specific to the relaxing of some protocols. 

What does this mean for us?

Like you, the LA Metro Chamber is preparing to reopen. We are looking at offering events limited to 50 people, hosting seminars onsite, and continuing our business services in office. We are committed to offering all in-person events with a virtual-join option for our at-risk members. We are also committed to our in-office and event operations following all Maine CDC guidance. 

What does “Reopening” really look like?

As we prepare, we wanted to share some of our key lessons with you, helping you think through your preparations. We have consulted with our attorney and insurance carriers. Consider this a case study, a peek inside how one organization is preparing. Here are the key factors that we suggest focusing on: 

Employee Preparedness and Protocols

Training– This includes providing the training outlined in the Retail Checklist, many of which we will be providing virtually to our members in the coming weeks to support you. Key trainings: 

  • Physical distancing expectations (required)
  • Monitoring and reporting employee personal health (required)
  • Cleaning protocols (required)
  • Use, removal, and disposal of PPE at work (required)
  • De-escalation techniques (suggested)

Remote Workforce– Your at risk employees are recommended to stay home when possible through Stage 3 (at least August). The Families First Coronavirus Response Act has implications for those who remain remote, as well as future sick or required quarantine absences that your workforce will experience. 

Staff Sentiment– This includes your staff’s readiness and willingness to participate in the work environment, interacting with members of the public who might be experiencing anxiety or anger, taking on new roles for cleaning or temperature checking, and more. 

Facility Preparedness and Protocols

Changes to the Physical Environment– This includes adding floor markings for 6ft distancing for line management, using floor marking to delineate public and employee-only spaces, closing or changing break rooms, changing furniture layouts, adding signage, and posting limits to the number of people. 

New Purchases– This could potentially include thermometers, disposable masks/face shields/gowns (industry dependent), clear barriers, single use items (condiments and more), and necessary disinfectant supplies. Be prepared, but patient while many of these items are in demand and delayed in shipping. 

Disinfectant Protocols- This includes clear internal procedures and processes for what gets cleaned, how often, by who, and how you record it. 

Risk and Liability 

Lawsuits may be next battleground for businesses as pandemic economy reopens- BDN Article

Employee Illness– This will be governed by the Maine Workers’ Compensation Act. From our attorney- “If the infection arose out of and in the course of employment, then it is compensable and the employer’s Workers’ Compensation insurer will be liable. 

Employee PPE– This is governed by OSHA’s Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19. A few important notes (from our attorney)

  • While most guidance is suggested, face coverings for employees are mandatory. 
  • Employees must follow “informal dialog” under the ADA reasonable accommodation standard for any exemptions from face covering, and provide medical documentation to their employer to be exempt. 
  • If an employee refuses to wear PPE where required, they are subject to discipline. 
  • If an employee is symptomatic, they should be sent home. 

Public/Customer PPE– If a customer feels unsafe, they should be helped away from the business as soon as practicable. The Order to Stay Safer at Home (through May 31st with potential for extension) does not require a medical note provided for a customer’s refusal to wear a mask. The business will be responsible for weighing the risk of an ADA claim against their risk for public health and other customers’ claims. 

Will we see you soon?

As you, other businesses, and the Chamber prepare for reopening, there is plenty of excitement to see each other again. We are also hearing the trepidation from business owners as they gauge customer behavior. Will you take this 3 question poll to help us get an insight into customer behavior? Share with others and on your social media, helping us get meaningful results we can share with you and our members. 



Complete listing of Maine CDC’s FAQ’s

LA Metro Chamber key links and Pathway to Reopening recordings


The past week has brought conflicting messages about a move towards reponening- if not normal- with an extension of the Maine state of civil emergency (now through May 15) and a plan for opening up America. As our workers file for unemployment in record numbers, many of our businesses are wondering when things will get back to normal. As I write this, protesters are lining up in Augusta, demanding a reopening of our economy. The desire to see our family and friends, recover our livelihoods, and find the stability and familiarity that we crave is understandable. 

I would like to introduce to our shared vocabulary “the next normal”. Why do I prefer this to “the new normal”? It reminds us that we have found new normals before, that we are a resilient species who have innovated and adjusted in the past, many, many times. While COVID-19 might call on us to adjust in more significant ways and more rapidly  than before- it is helpful to remember the next normals we have already created for our society and our economy. There was a time when people smoked in hospitals and when air travelers kept their shoes on while walking through security checkpoints, neither part of the next normal that was created. There was a time when book reports utilized large encyclopedias, and mail always had a stamp- neither part of our post-internet next normal. Likewise, seeing someone you love or a colleague you need to connect with stationed far away was considered impossible before FaceTime, Zoom, and Skype. Working remote was moving from a contractor norm to employer norm, and has already become the next normal of employers. 

So what does the next normal look like, and when will it arrive? Many articles have been written, offering a full spectrum of options. This one from Politico outlines 30+ potential societal changes, while this Forbes article offers 9 concrete changes to the business landscape. This New York Times article outlines the full year ahead in America. The truth about what the next normal looks like- and when it arrives- is far more complex than any of these articles can offer. We cannot focus on the exact time, or the exact shape of our future, but rather must focus our energy on the path to our next normal. This McKinsey & Company article offers the path as 5 stages, variant by industry and geography; where institutions might operate in more than one stage simultaneously. 

Resolve, Resilience, Return, Reimagination, and Reform. “Collectively, these five stages represent the imperative of our time: the battle against COVID-19 is one that leaders today must win if we are to find an economically and socially viable path to the next normal”, writes authors Sneader & Singhal. In short, (but seriously, read the article!) these 5 stages will need to be navigated by the leader, employer, and business. 


  • Do you have the Resolve to move through the crisis induced paralysis determine the scale, pace and depth of action required?
  • Do you and your company’s balance sheet have the Resilience to recover quickly?
  • Are you ready to Return to operations, assuming that your operations don’t look like they did before? 
  • Have you begun to Reimagine- your workforce needs and environment, your supply or distribution channels, your customer’s behaviour and preferences? 
  • Are you anticipating the Reform of policies and regulations that history tells us follows events of this scale? 

So what do you do now, in this moment? Businesses and leaders that will navigate this upheaval successfully will follow a path like the one offered above, and won’t wait for the success of their peers to crowd the marketplace or determine the future. 

Actions you can take, this week: 

  • Get a plan-ahead team. It’s hard to plan ahead when you are responding to the current crisis. You alone can’t do it all- so get a team. If your operation is large enough to get a full team in-house, great! 
  • Connect with your peers. Review information from your industry specific communications, doing research on trends, new protocols, and what is around the corner. 
  • Lean on the LA Metro Chamber. We are here for you, and are able to help you connect to your peers, pull down or clarify information from associations and state offices. Just ask. 
  • Advocate, right now. Engage your elected officials, ensuring they know about impacts to your industry and business. Enlist us, making sure we know what your position is. 
  • Connect with your customers and key business relationships. They need to hear from you- share your support (not your disinfecting method, again). 
  • Connect with your employees. Communicate clearly and often, these tips might help. This includes folks you have temporarily laid off- and want to keep. 
  • Take a deeper dive into strategy. If you are up for it, this compendium of resources focuses on Strategic Thinking in a Long Term Crisis, curated by LA Metro’s own member Up With Community. 
  • Tell Us About Your Experience– take the short survey to help us find the best resources, content and ways to support you. 

Be on the lookout for Part 3 in our series, Local Context for a Local Economy. If you missed it, read Part 1: On the Ground Observations. As always, reach out directly to

PART 1: On-the-Ground Observations: Real-time feedback from LA and beyond

This message is bit longer than usual, and certainly less flashy. Take 5 minutes, and read it fully.
Every day I am talking to businesses and organizations dealing with rapid change. Financial institutions implementing new programs quickly. Restaurants shifting to curbside and hiring delivery drivers. Retailers learning how to increase online sales. Managers learning new tech and supporting newly remote teams. Members and non-members alike, we are making and receiving calls to hear how things are going, and what we can do. We are looking for trends and patterns, planning ourselves how to adapt to meet your needs- now and in the months to come. 
What we see is that running a business, leading a team, executing your work goals- all seem infinitely harder right now. Processing new information every day, hour and minute has our brains in overdrive. Grieving the loss of planned events, milestones and normalcy are indicators of the collective trauma we are experiencing as leaders, teams, and individuals. Many of us are either experiencing a type of paralysis in action or patterns of thinking that are harmful to ourselves and to your long-term sustainability and success. 
What we know is that you are not alone in this crisis, or your response to it. This message to you is part of a series where I will share on-the-ground observations from businesses, NGO’s and regional peers. I will offer some of the best strategic thinking I have culled, and I will contribute my own locally contextualized thoughts. I will end the series with some of the key strategic questions we all should be asking ourselves if we want to stay relevant, solvent, and strong in the Next NormalClick here for on-the-ground observations of businesses across the greater LA region, and from our peers and counterparts across the state and US.

Spread the Love

Spread the Love – support our members!

Valentine’s Day has arrived and what better way to spread love in our community than to spread the love amongst our members! The LA Metro Chamber Spread the Love Giveaway is an opportunity for our members to give a little back to our members, support each other, and have a chance at winning big!

What you do: Pick one of our Spread the Love envelopes, pay the amount on it, and give us contact info for notification of winners. Feel great knowing you are supporting Chamber members! Claim your envelope at an upcoming event, at our office, or over the phone – and enter for a chance to win one of four packages, each with more than $1,000 worth of member items (gift cards, service coupons, and incredible stuff – all purchased from members)!

How it works: We enter your name the number of times that is on the envelope. So, if you purchase envelope #136, you will get 136 chances to win and will have paid $136. We will spend $4,000 at our members to get the best services, products and more to make into baskets for you to win!

We love purchasing from our members, and hope you do too! This is a great way for each of you to spread the love!

Are you ready to Spread the Love? Here’s what you do:

  1. Find us at an official Chamber event over the next month, swing by our office during business hours, or give us a call;
  2. Select an available envelope to purchase;
  3. Watch Facebook and your email for the drawing to discover if you’re a winner!

Have questions? Ready to purchase an envelope? Give us a call at 207-783-2249!

November Chamber Breakfast

November 14, 2019

Martindale Country Club, Auburn

This month, we’ll have Breakfast for Dinner along with our regular speaker program at Martindale Country Club from 4:30PM-7:00PM.

This month’s topic: Veteran Hiring for Employers

Many Americans outside of the military are unaware of the many skills and experiences that veterans acquire while in service. Misconceptions about what sort of skills one picks up while in military service abound, and some employers mistakenly believe that the skills that veterans have are not transferable outside of the military world.

In an effort to clear up some of those misconceptions, Leo and Tom will discuss the overarching military culture, bring light to the many intangible skills that employers can benefit from by hiring a veteran, and address the misconception that the skills that veterans have are not transferable outside of the military world. They will also share some veteran hiring success stories to help you understand that hiring a veteran is not only a good idea, it’s good business!

Don’t forget to bring business cards for door prizes and networking and $5 for 50/50 tickets!

More Information Here