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.

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

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.

The Healing Community Food Challenge

Are you a business that is ready to sign on to support this challenge? Click here to sponsor a family!

The extended State of Emergency has left many families in our community without jobs and in desperate need of weekly groceries. The LA Metro Chamber has partnered with The Healing Community MEDCo to help match you to families in our community who need the hand up.

We’re looking for 5 businesses to sponsor 5 families in need of groceries each week. To make it easy, we’ll purchase + deliver the grocery gift card on your behalf. Can your business sponsor a week of groceries for $100? Let us know!


Up-to-Date Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update from Your Chamber


Maine CDC and 211 Maine have launched a new option for Mainers to get answers to questions about COVID-19 at any time. This service is available by dialing 211 (or 1-866-811-5695), texting your ZIP code to 898-211, or emailing


Like many of you, we are watching the news and paying attention to our President and Governor. We recognize that limits on travel and events have real financial implications for many of our members, and planning for scaled remote workforce solutions have real human resource and capacity implications. With the first presumptive positive occurring in Androscoggin County, we are also aware of the potential implications stemming from negative perceptions of the LA Region.

We are a strong, resilient region of committed businesses and community-minded organizations.

We encourage each of you to follow the preventions below, while supporting each other and the local economy during this time. We will be offering updates when changes occur, or new guidance is issued. We are watching for additional information about the President’s economic relief measures and employee impact mitigation measures- and will offer updates for you and your employees as new information become available. We are committed to keeping you informed, offering stable services and member benefits, and modeling commitment to business, community, and the local economy.

Thanks for all you do and contribute to the LA Region,
Shanna Cox


As of March 12, 2020, Governor Mills offered updated guidelines from those we shared with you earlier in the week. The most notable change- postponement of all non-essential indoor gatherings with 250 or more attendees for the next 30 days- does not effect the LA Metro Chamber’s schedule of activity. We will be conducting business as usual while following CDC and Maine CDC guidelines

These guidelines include:

  • Postponement of all non-essential large, indoor group gatherings in Maine of 250 or more attendees for the next 30 days
  • Wash your hands often for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer when you are unable to wash your hands.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Stay home if you are sick or have been with those who are sick
Content Source: Maine CDC


As of March 12, 2020, Governor Mills offered updated guidelines from those we shared with you earlier in the week. The most notable change- postponement of all non-essential indoor gatherings with 250 or more attendees for the next 30 days- does not effect the LA Metro Chamber’s schedule of activity. We will be conducting business as usual while following CDC and Maine CDC guidelines.

These guidelines include:

  • Postponement of all non-essential large, indoor group gatherings in Maine of 250 or more attendees for the next 30 days
  • Wash your hands often for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer when you are unable to wash your hands.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Stay home if you are sick or have been with those who are sick
Content Source:


The virus appears to spread in similar ways to influenza (flu) and the common cold. This may include spreading through:
  • The air by coughing and sneezing
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes
Content Source: Maine CDC


Proclaiming An Insurance Emergency: Under Maine law, Governor Mills has the authority to proclaim an insurance emergency in order to respond to “an existing or imminent likelihood of need for a significant increase in health care services or insurance benefit payments due to injuries or sickness.” The proclamation, which Governor Mills signed March 12, 2020, allows the Superintendent of the Maine Bureau of Insurance to require health insurance carriers providing health care coverage in Maine’s commercial market to cover costs related to coronavirus testing and increases access to care.

While this proclamation affects only private insurance sold in the commercial market, the Department of Health and Human Services is also issuing emergency rules to ensure MaineCare provides comprehensive coverage for lab testing and medical treatment. The Maine Bureau of Insurance has determined the extent of the coverage required and issued its own proclamation today. Taking this action will help ensure that Maine people are not burdened by costs or deterred from seeking testing or important medical care related to the coronavirus.

2020 LA Metro Chamber Annual Awards Dinner!

Join Androscoggin Bank in celebrating the 2020 Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Awards. An elegant affair complete with a cocktail hour, live music, live auction, and three course dinner.

The LA Metro Chamber Annual Awards Dinner honors members of the region who have significantly contributed to the success of the area.

Join in the celebration by sponsoring a table or purchasing your tickets today! Click here to register online!

Top Gun LA Applications Now Open for 2020!

The Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce announces that applications are now being accepted for the 2020 Top Gun LA entrepreneurship acceleration program.

Top Gun LA is designed specifically for the entrepreneur with a desire to grow his/her business and achieve long-term success through the use of the right tools and resources. Top Gun elements include mentorship, lessons from successful entrepreneurs, workshopping, discussions, and pitch development and practice, all of which occurs during high-impact weekly gatherings held in multiple locations across the state. The LA Metro Chamber has offered Top Gun LA to Central Maine entrepreneurs since 2017.

Program information and applications are available at Applications are due by Friday, November 15th. The program begins on February 5, 2020 and will run through the end of May. In addition to submitting a short online application, prospective companies will be required to submit a pitch deck and present a live pitch to the Top Gun LA interview committee.

The program will conclude with regional pitch off events where the top two semi-finalists will move on to a statwide Top Gun showcase, where they will compete for a $25,000 cash prize sponsored by the Maine Technology Institute.

For more information on the 2020 Top Gun LA entrepreneurship acceleration program, contact Top Gun LA program coordinator Scott Benson at 783-2249.

LA Metro Chamber announces 2019 scholarship recipients

Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce announces 2019 scholarship recipients

For the past 20 years, the LA Metro Chamber has given scholarships to local graduating seniors planning to continue their studies at either an accredited college or university, as well as a certificate program. The Chamber has also given scholarship awards to adults continuing their education while working called the Member Employee Scholarship.

This year’s local high school recipients were announced at the June membership breakfast held at Poland Spring Resort on June 13th.  The recipients are Ryan Theriault from Edward Little High School, Sadie Waterman from Oak Hill High School, Hunter Steele from Lewiston High School, Catarina Bifulco from Leavitt Area High School, Abigail Castonguay from Saint Dominic Academy, Joshua Landry from Poland Regional High School, and Riley Leeman from Lisbon High School.  These students were selected from their respective guidance office for good academic achievement, positive involvement in the local community, a good record of extracurricular school involvement, and time management skills fostered through part time employment, and continuing their education in the state of Maine.

This year’s Member Employee Scholarship recipient is Laura LaBelle, staff accountant at the City of Lewiston. Laura stated in her essay “Not long ago I did not think it would be possible for me to be an employee of the City of Lewiston or have the opportunity to obtain a college degree” Laura has overcome many challenges but is determined to succeed in her role at the City of Lewiston and as a college student.

The Chamber raises the funds for scholarships through the Annual Chip Morrison Scholarship Scramble.  This year’s scholarship scramble will be held on Wednesday August 21stat Fox Ridge Golf Course in Auburn. The funds raised from the scholarship scramble help improve the education of our local workforce. Opportunities to support the scholarship scramble are still available.

The Chamber’s scholarship program aligns with the Maine Spark initiative, a 10-year commitment from Maine’s most influential education and business leaders to work together to ensure that Maine’s workforce is productive and competitive. MaineSpark is powered by a coalition of organizations—schools and universities, nonprofits and foundations, government agencies and businesses—with a common goal: by 2025, 60% of Mainers will hold education and workforce credentials that position Maine and its families for success.  LA Metro Chamber President Rebecca Swanson Conrad said, “We are pleased to align our scholarship program with Maine Spark’s goal to connect people with the education, training, jobs, programs and resources needed to thrive in Maine’s robust and changing economy aspirations.”