Kennebec Valley Chamber

Serving the Kennebec Valley, Maine Region

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Friday Report ~ July 15, 2016

"Light 'em up!"

Monday night was an average night. After getting home from work, I went to a meeting at the Lisbon town offices to discuss the potential for façade grants in my community. I returned home at roughly 8:00. At 8:30, I was sitting on my front porch, when my wife came out and asked if I wanted to attend some rally at the High School with her, my mother in law and oldest daughter. Having spent a long day at work, followed by a meeting at the town office, I opted not to go. An hour later, when I began to hear sirens, a lot of sirens, I checked Facebook to see what was happening.
The story, as I can best put it together, goes something like this. Lisbon Junior Athletic League had a 12U baseball team in the Cal Ripken State Championship. Their team won the State Championship in Skowhegan Monday afternoon 4 - 2. On the ride home, one of the moms posted on Facebook that they were travelling in a caravan and would be arriving at the high school at roughly 9:15 (so people would know when to pick up their children).
What followed is the reason I live in a small community in Maine. A woman saw the post and mentioned it to her husband who happened to be on the fire department. He, in turn, contacted the police department. Word quickly spread throughout the community and, unbeknownst to the team, the caravan was met at the town line by a police and fire escort - lights and sirens blazing. They were met at the high school by a cheering crowd of close to 100 people, complete with pom poms and horns. Queen's "We are the champions" was played through a PA system. There were even bottles of Moxie sprayed on the kids as they celebrated. Just to clarify, many of these people, my wife included, didn't know any of the players, but were there to celebrate the success of this young team. I have seen the video, and the smiles on the faces of these boys are absolutely priceless.
This kind of outpouring of support for positive events is key to the success of our society. Our news sites and social media feeds are barraged daily with negative and argumentative issues. Taking focus away from that energy and turning it towards the positives is going to change our region. This past week I've had the opportunity to help celebrate some monumental success in our region. I was thrilled to help highlight the announcement of the arrival of "Five Guys" coming to Journal Square. I also praised JS McCarthy in an article which highlighted their expansion, allowing them to increase production, reduce cost, and add jobs.
These are just two examples of amazing things happening in the Kennebec Valley. I know the list could go on for pages and pages. Sadly, we at the chamber do not always know about the great things happening. We are asking for your help in this effort. When you know something positive happening in our region, please contact us. We have countless avenues to help spread the word through social media, our monthly newsletter and with the local press as well.

 It's time we spent some more energy focusing on the good, this will give us the strength to work to repair the not so good. Let's fire up some sirens, and start celebrating.
Recent Events
KLI Golf Tournament
Our 21st Annual KLI Golf Tournament saw one of our biggest crowds yet! Thank you to all of our wonderful sponsors, especially major sponsor On Target Utility Services for their dedication to this great event. We changed things up this year and we appreciate everyone that came out to support KLI! 
Small Business Resource Team
Let us know if you want to be a part of this team dedicated to seeing the growth of small businesses in our region! This program is made possible by the generous support of Camden National Bank!

Upcoming Events 

Ribbon Cutting
August 5, 4:00p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Rocky's Stove Shoppe
14 Brick and Mortar Drive
Augusta, ME
Business Insider Breakfast
August 17, 7:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.
at The Senator Inn
Featuring Gov. Paul LePage

Since Governor Paul LePage took office in 2011,  a steady decline in Maine's unemployment rate indicates that thousands of Mainers are working again. Gov. LePage plans to continue to increase job opportunities with good public policy that strengthens economic development, reduces taxes, and reforms welfare. At this month's breakfast, he will present his plans concerning taxes, welfare reform, and energy, as well as, inform us about the five ballot referendum questions presented to voters in November.
Business Insider Breakfasts are sponsored by 
Business After Hours
August 24th, 5:00-7:00 pm
at Viles Arboretum
co-host  Skowhegan Savings Bank
Business After Hours are sponsored by Capitol Dental Care.
Women's Network LuncheonSeptember 14, 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
at The Senator Inn
Featuring Sue Grenier

Women's Network Luncheons are sponsored by Anthem and Bangor Savings Bank.
New Happenings
Uncle Henry's is announcing a brand new competition to encourage the ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit of the people of Maine. The Uncle Henry's Pitch ME Challenge officially launched July 14, 2016 and is accepting applications through September 30, 2016.
While there are a lot of great programs to help people start a business or grow one within the state of Maine, this one will have some key differences. Most significant, there isn't a set prize or number of winners. The Pitch ME Challenge will evaluate each idea on its merit with the possibility that several winners emerge, each receiving a different package of awards that applies to their specific business idea. It is the hope of the organizers to help boost several worthy ideas and nurture them on the path to success.

Kevin Webb, the President of Uncle Henry's, came up with the idea based on years of conversations and interactions with customers both of the traditional printed editions as well as the online site at  These customers show a level of creativity and ingenuity which never ceases to amaze the staff. The team at Uncle Henry's brainstormed on the concept and unveiled the official process today.

 and the Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce will be amongst the partners in the process, both as judges as well as providing awards/support for the eventual winners.

For more information, please see the ads in the print editions of Uncle Henry's and find the application here.
Final Thoughts    
The Lisbon 12 U team plays for a regional Cal Ripken championship this weekend in Chelmsford, MA. Please join me in wishing them the best.


Ross H. Cunningham
President & CEO
Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce 
269 Western Avenue, Augusta ME 04330