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.”

Golf Tournament Sponsorship Opportunities

Chip Morrison Scholarship Scramble

Wednesday, August 21, 2019
Fox Ridge Golf Club
Registration: 8am, Shotgun start 9am

Sponsorship Opportunities

Download the golf brochure here


  • Logo/name on gift to be provided to golfers
  • Recognition in all publicity
  • Banner or sign at registration & reception
  • Opportunity to present tournament prizes
  • Team entrance included
  • Two preferred parking spaces


  • Logo/name on gift to be provided to golfers
  • Recognition in all publicity
  • Banner or sign at registration & reception
  • Opportunity to assist with prize presentation
  • Team entrance included
  • Two preferred parking spaces

CO-SPONSOR – $2,500

  • Logo/name on gift to be provided to golfers
  • Recognition in all publicity
  • Banner at post-tournament reception
  • Team entrance included


  • Logo/name on hat to be gifted to golfers
  • Recognition in all publicity


  • Signage at the reception


  • Signage at the barbecue


  • Signage on each cart


  • Signage at the registration table area and event


  • Signage at the Tournament


  • Signage at the hole site


  • Signage at the hole site

HOLE – $400

  • Signage at one tee

GREEN – $200

  • Signage at one green

You can sign up for a sponsorship or register your team by clicking here

Download the golf brochure here

For more information contact Maureen at the LA Metro Chamber, 783-2249 or

Beckie’s March 2019 Message

News From 415 Lisbon Street

Spring is coming, we promise!  Don’t forget that our April events are mixed up for April Fools. No joke, we are having Business Before Hours on our usual breakfast date (Thursday, April 11, 7-9AM) at Fishbones and Breakfast for Dinner on our usual Business After Hours night (Thursday, April 18, 4:30-7PM).

And just to get you prepared to be off schedule, the March Business After Hours is one week later than usual on Thursday, March 28 at Side By Each, our newest LA Metro brewery. This event is the night before the Magnetize Maine Summit sponsored by Uplift LA.  Please send young professionals from your business or organization to this important conversation about Maine’s economic future, click here for more information.

And just in case there is more snow in our future, our friends at MDOT show us how to save our mailboxes from destruction click here.

Workforce Development

KUDOS to our local educators!

Jim Horn from Edward Little High School has designed a 2-year aviation program partnering with UMA beginning this September. Nine area high schools are invited to participate. The EL videography class is doing video promotion to send to schools and air on local public access stations.

New Ventures Maine, in collaboration with Lewiston Regional Technical School, Central Maine Community College (CMCC), and other community planning partners, are offering a hands-on, half-day conference designed to encourage girls to consider careers in fields traditionally populated by men. The Totally Trades Conference will bring together over one-hundred ninth-graders from particular schools in Androscoggin County on Friday, May 17.

Economic Development

Maine International Trade Center is hosting the New Product GlobalShowcase at Maine International Trade Day. This annual event – with over 300 attendees including Maine business professionals, investors, government officials, R&D groups, representatives from foreign trade and consular offices, and media – provides excellent exposure for entrepreneurial, innovative companies.

Does your company have a new product or service? If so, enter today! The New Product Global Showcase is open to all Maine companies and industries. To be eligible, the product or service:

  • was launched within the past two years (May 2017 – May 2019)
  • must have commercial viability and currently be in the market
  • will be evaluated on international market appeal as well as innovation

This is a juried process, and participation is limited. Questions? Contact Tom Conley at 207-553-7708. LEARN MORE

You are invited to a Climate Round Table at the Chamber on Thursday, March 21.  Small businesses have a big part to play, and a lot to gain, in efforts to improve Energy Efficiency throughout Maine. Join the Maine Climate Table, business leaders, service providers, and others committed to promoting energy efficiency in our state for a convening that will explore opportunities, challenges, and resources for small businesses seeking to improve energy efficiency in their operations. The day will include facilitated discussion sessions, a resource panel, and a networking lunch. Registration required click here.

Make It Here: Tourism

As part of the Francophone Francophile Network, Museum LA has secured an intern from Quebec from March 25 to June 14 to complete our cultural heritage trail to link to the international network of trails.  We need housing for her stay. She speaks both French and English. If you know anyone who may have a room where she could also have access to cooking, or a furnished apartment, or camp (she has a car) please be in contact with Rachel Desgrosseilliers at

This year, the Maine Tourism Association will be hosting its 98th Annual Meeting as the tourism reception at the Governor’s Conference on Tourism on April 9 & 10, 2019. The opening reception will be held at the Governor Hill Mansion in Augusta. This reception includes hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar and networking with tourism professionals across the state.

It’s time to update your free 2019 event listings on! The website is a key resource for the Maine Office of Tourism marketing and PR teams for information to use in response to inquiries from Travel Media, and in selecting events to feature in social media posts @VisitMaine with 200K+ combined FB and Instagram followers, and in MOT’s consumer email distributed monthly to approximately 390,000 potential visitors.Visit the PartnerLogin page at for instructions on how to manage your listings.

LA Metro Partners

The Retail Association of Maine is the host state this year for the annual Eastern States Retail Executive Conference in July. Each summer, the states from Maine to Virginia get together to discuss legislative issues of importance to the northeastern states. You are invited to join them! The event will take place at the Samoset Resort in Rockport, ME from July 14-17. For registration click here.

The SBA’s Emerging Leaders Program will take place at TechPlace facility on Brunswick Landing in Brunswick this year! They need your help to recruit interested small businesses.The SBA Emerging Leaders Initiative is a federal training initiative that specifically focuses on executives of businesses poised for growth in historically challenged communities. This initiative provides these executives with the organizational framework, resource network, and motivation required to build sustainable businesses and promote the economic development within underserved communities.

This training is for established business owners and is not for start-ups or people who are thinking about starting a business. The Emerging Leaders Initiative advanced training series is open to small business owners and executives that:

  • Have annual revenues of at least $250,000
  • Have been in business for at least 3 years
  • Have at least one employee, other than self
  • Must has decision making authority
Please encourage interested businesses to apply at or contact Brad Currie at or 207-248-9040.

Make Shift Coffee House is an initiative to get people from all walks of life to get together for food, coffee, music and conversation about what are often divisive issues.  There is a Make Shift Coffeehouse coming up on Friday, March 22 at USM LA College in Lewiston. Click here for the flyer.

MaineCanDo was founded last year to help individuals, employers, and investors prevent future #MeToo incidents in the workplace. #MaineCanDo and Pan Atlantic Research have teamed up to conduct the first comprehensive survey of sexual harassment and workplace culture issues in Maine in the #MeToo era. This data will be used by organizations such as #MaineCanDo and the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault to understand and raise awareness of the level of workplace sexual harassment in Maine. This brief, confidential survey seeks observations and experiences in the workplace around this critical topic. Responses from both employers and employees are strictly confidential. No identifying data will be collected, and all data that is collected will only ever be analyzed or reported at the state and county level – not by individual organization. Employee responses will never be matched to their employing organization.  If you’d like more information about how the data will be analyzed, please contact Jason Edes, Director of Research at Pan Atlantic Research at

Applications are now being accepted for the 2019-2020 classes of the Maine Development Foundation’s Institute for Civic Leadership (ICL) and Leadership Maine classes. Now in their 27th year of bringing diverse groups of proven professionals together for powerful, experiential development, both programs have widespread impact on individual growth and the enrichment of entire communities.Register at