LA Metro Chamber Operations During COVID-19

As of: March 16, 2020

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To our members and the communities of the LA Region,

As we find ourselves in unprecedented times, we are adapting our operations and organizational focus to reflect the public health reality of our communities, and the real and pressing needs of our members. During the coming weeks, you can count on the LA Metro Chamber as a source of information and support.

We will be sharing information regarding business supports and emerging policies or changes to health insurance, taxes, human resources and economic development strategies. We will be reaching out to our members to find ways to promote your businesses and public messages. We will be tracking and communicating changes to key workforce supports, including childcare and transportation.

To ensure our ability to prioritize and deliver these key services and communications, we will be instituting our own social distancing practices through April 6th. All of our in-person events or meetings will be rescheduled, and our staff will be abstaining from in-person meetings. We are still open by appointment for your notary of certificate of origin needs, please call our offices to schedule ahead. Our team will remain responsive by both phone and email, and we encourage you to reach out for assistance and support.

Our region, our businesses, and our Chamber are strong. We will support each other through these uncertain times, and be here to support the restarting of LA’s economic engine, together.

I invite you to reach out directly with questions or comments about these operational shifts by emailing shanna@lametrochamber.com.

 

Stay well,

Shanna Cox
President + CEO
Lewiston-Auburn Metropolitan Chamber

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!

Stuff the Bus: Brightening the Holidays for Families

As December arrives, so do the cold nights and gift giving holidays- both often cause stress for families in need in our region. Stuff the Bus- one of the Chamber’s most loved events- is working with over 10 members to host “Bus Stop” drop-off locations. Help us meet our goal of a donated gift a member.
We will celebrate and help distribute these wonderful donations to our nonprofit businesses at Business After Hours on Tuesday, December 17th.

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

October Chamber Breakfast

SOLD OUT- We are unable to take walk-ins at this breakfast! 

October 10, 2019

Martindale Country Club, Auburn

This month’s topic: MaineSpark’s Opportunity to Change Our Current Workforce Challenge

This month’s topic will focus on MaineSpark and it’s opportunity to change our current workforce challenge. The challenge facing all of Maine, as well as most industries today, is our workforce. Education and skills gaps, as well as limits to our workforce supply, are problems being faced all over our state. What are we doing to recognize the needs, fill gaps, and attract new people? This month’s speaker, Dana Connors, President, Maine State Chamber of Commerce, will explain how through MaineSpark, the efforts that are underway and currently working to address and help solve these issues.

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

More Information Here

October Business After Hours

Join us on Thursday, October 17th for the LA Metro Chamber and Uplift LA’s Business After Hours hosted by Community Credit Union & Maine Credit Unions at the Good Shepherd Food Bank

Due to safety reasons, we require you to wear closed toe shoes.

Volunteer Time Slots Available:
4:00pm – 5:00pm
4:15pm – 5:15pm
4:30pm – 5:30pm
Please register to volunteer and choose your preferred time slot, only 12 spots available per time slot.

Registration to volunteer is required!

Click here for more info and registration!

Stuff The Bus!

The Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, Uplift LA and Northeast Charter & Tour are joining forces to brighten the holidays for local families in need.

From now until December 18 you can donate NEW toys and clothing, appropriate for children ages 0-18. All donations received will be distributed by representatives of Advocates for Children, YWCA Central Maine, Promise Early Education Center, Sandcastle Clinical and Educational Services, Boys & Girls Club, Tedford Housing, Tri County Mental Health, Safe Voices, and Trinity Jubilee Center and will stay within our community, assisting only local families.

Where can you make your donation?
*At the LA Metro Chamber, 415 Lisbon Street, Lewiston by December 14
*Drop off at one of our participating bus stops before December 17
(List available here)
*Business After Hours at Lost Valley on Tuesday, December 18

Top Gun LA – Deadline Extended!

Application deadline has been extended to Thursday, November 15!

The Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce announces that applications are now being accepted for the 2019 Top Gun LA entrepreneurship acceleration program.

Top Gun, Maine’s premier entrepreneurship program, accelerates the progress of the state’s most promising start up and early stage companies through a combination of mentoring, learning sessions, and networking. First established by the Maine Center for Entrepreneurs, Top Gun celebrates its tenth year in 2019. The LA Metro Chamber has offered the program locally since 2017. The Top Gun program is also offered in Portland, Bangor, Rockland and Waterville.

Program information and applications are available at http://www.mced.biz. Application deadline has been extended to Thursday, November 15! The program begins February 6, 2019 and runs through the end of May 2019. 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 interview committee in the location they wish to join.

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

For more information on the 2019 Top Gun LA entrepreneurship acceleration program, contact Top Gun LA program coordinator Scott Benson at 783-2249.

Fish Bones American Grill Hospitality Scholarship Application

Fish Bones American Grill Hospitality Scholarship Application

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Application must be received by NOON on Monday, April 30, 2018 and include the following:
  2. Student’s high school transcript.
  3. Letters of reference, two letters should be from teachers or counselors.
  4. A typed letter of not more than 300 words describing your affiliation with the hospitality industry, why you are applying for this scholarship, and your career goals.

NOTE:  All materials submitted will be held in strict confidence by the committee and become the property of the Fish Bones Hospitality Scholarship Fund and the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, Lewiston, Maine.

ELIGIBILITY:

  1. Open to all students, traditional or non-traditional pursuing a career in the Hospitality, Travel Tourism, and Food Service Industry.
  2. Open to any secondary or post-secondary student pursuing a career in the Hospitality, Travel Tourism, and Food Service Industry.
  3. Student must maintain a full class semester of 12 credits, and;
  4. Student must maintain a GPA of 2.5 or higher. Awards will be disbursed after receipt of an official sealed transcript detailing the above mentioned criteria.  Please mail transcript to L/A Metro Chamber of Commerce C/O Fish Bones Hospitality Scholarship Fund, 415 Lisbon Street, Lewiston, ME 04240.   Deadline to receive transcripts is June 1st,2018

USE OF SCHOLARSHIP:

  1. May be used at any accredited college, university, or technical school providing training in Food Service and/or Food Service Management and Hospitality.
  2. Must be used within 12 months.
  3. May be used to defray tuition, supplies or room and board. The scholarship will be issued to the Institution.
  4. This scholarship is provided for one-time use only. No continued scholarship support for the student is stated or implied.

SELECTION GUIDELINES:

The Selection Committee will give consideration to the following criteria in making a final decision:

  1. Desire for career in Food Service Industry.
  2. Employment record and extracurricular activities.
  3. Need based on information obtained in application.
  4. Scholastic record.

Contact Erin@LAMetroChamber.com for more information

415 Lisbon St, Suite 1, Lewiston ME

207.783.2249

Download the application by clicking here!

Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber Supports Merger of Twin Cities

Following a day-long retreat on September 22nd, the board of the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce voted to support the merger of Lewiston and Auburn.  “The decision to take a position followed several months of conversation at the board level,” said Beckie Conrad, Chamber president, “and took into account a survey of the membership earlier this summer about the merger that found 63% in favor of combining the cities and 15% undecided.”  She continued, “The board’s vote followed a morning of discussion reviewing the Chamber’s mission, its current initiatives and how those initiatives support the two key results we heard from our business climate survey where owners and directors of our member businesses and organizations were asked for the most important issues facing them today.  Overwhelmingly, the business climate survey showed that the barriers to an even stronger local economy are workforce development and local image and that the Chamber has a role to play in both areas.”

The retreat was designed to define the Chamber’s leadership role in the Lewiston Auburn metropolitan region and decide if member priorities and the Chamber’s mission were being met.  Given the number of members who cited a workforce deficit and fostering a more positive image as pressing needs, the merger was slated as a separate topic in the afternoon to consider how combining the two cities might have an impact on these issues.  Board Chair, Robin Robbins commented, “As part of being a leader in the community we must be innovative as well as recognizing and supporting opportunities that move our region forward.”

Prior to considering the merger, the board looked at new ways to serve and promote the Lewiston Auburn metro region by transitioning from membership to “investment” in Chamber priorities that will benefit new strategies of regional economic development and tourism, both designed to make the area a more desirable place to live, work and visit. Conrad said that the conversation was thoughtful and difficult at times and that getting to the core of the Chamber’s work to best support both the membership and the larger community brought up many questions about the role of a Chamber of Commerce. She shared research on Chambers in other communities where economic development, tourism and image campaigns were key priorities to drive change.

Following the morning presentations and discussions, the board then addressed the Chamber’s leadership role as the largest organization in the area that encompasses businesses, nonprofit organizations and government agencies. Of the more than 1050 members, 89% are from the for-profit sector, 10% from the not-for-profit sector and 1% from government. “We all agreed,” Conrad said, “that Lewiston and Auburn are one economy. Business does not stop on the bridges and in all actuality our greatest strength is that the community functions as a large regional economic engine for Central Maine.”

“Ultimately,” Conrad continued, “that was the basis for the board’s decision to support the merger.  If we function as one economy, what naturally follows?  Do we currently have a consistent, coordinated and unified long term approach to preK-16 education, workforce development, urban housing, planning, and public investment to grow our economy and encourage private investment, both local and from outside investors?  We all acknowledged that meeting those priorities is possible—as it has been for years—if we keep trying as two cities but that if we merge, a unified approach will be required. Fundamentally, I believe the board considered the issue as they would for their own business or organization. When an opportunity to be stronger is presented, the risks and rewards are weighed and a decision to move forward occurs.”

Prior to the vote, many board members spoke passionately that the merger was the right move, and in response for her to share her own opinion, Conrad said, “I’ve lived here 39 years, owned two businesses, worked in higher education and volunteered for numerous social service, arts and civic organizations tasked with joint projects. But no matter how hard each of us has worked, and no matter how committed we are to change, the fact is we have not made the progress we want on poverty, graduation rates, our image—all things that have an influence on business. So as president of the Chamber, I believe we need a catalyst beyond staying the cooperative but separate course and hoping we’ll pick up the pace. The merger is the opportunity to drive us. To engage all of the good hearts and minds on both sides of the river to work together across the next decade to realize Lewiston-Auburn’s unique attributes as Maine’s best place to live, work and play.”

Robin Robbins added, “The board recognizes that a merger of the twin cities is the first step toward a stronger future. It will require engagement from businesses, organizations, civic leaders and residents all working in unison to develop a more vibrant Central Maine economy. The LA Metro Chamber is prepared to be a leader in ensuring that one merged community will be successful.”