2018-02-22 / Neighbors

Biddeford+Saco Chamber

Biddeford/Saco – With more than 420 business members, the Biddeford+Saco Chamber of Commerce+Industry aims to help the region grow by supporting and promoting local businesses and providing information to citizens and visitors. Whether providing guidance to tourists about retail, restaurant and recreational businesses in the area, or helping a new business to navigate the legal and logistical requirements of opening, the Chamber is committed to making the Biddeford+Saco Region a preferred destination and a great place to start a business.

Like all businesses, the Chamber is always evolving to meet the current needs of its members and driven by the needs of the communities. The Chamber is continuously searching for new programs and services to benefit its members. Executive Director, Craig Pendleton said “We understand what it takes to run a membership based organization. We must provide value and return on their investment. We take this responsibility very seriously.”

One great asset to the communities is the Chamber Welcome Center located at 28 Water Street in Biddeford. It has information about Chamber members and most of the places to see and things to do in the area. It is one stop shopping for the resources you need to have a successful and rewarding stay in the Biddeford+Saco Region. The Welcome Center is open during regular business hours (8am to 4pm). You will be greeted by knowledgeable, friendly staff and volunteers. We sell discount tickets to Funtown/Splashtown USA and the Old Orchard Beach Surge Baseball games.

All Chamber members receive a listing on the Chamber website where each member has a profile, contact information and link to their business website. Members also have access to their listing page so they can post coupons, menus and other relevant information. The website also compiles useful information for visitors and residents, such as a tide chart, a community calendar of events, good news about the area, and listings of places to reserve lodging, places for good food or simply to have fun.

The Chamber regularly distributes information about our communities beyond the area, by displaying materials at all the state’s turnpike rest areas, Ocean Gateway, the Portland Jetport and the Maine Mall. We also participate in trade and travel shows from Canada to New York.

PJ Lassek, marketing and communications person for the Chamber said, “Many times, people think of the Chamber of Commerce as being a resource for only for-profit business. However, a good portion of the Chamber’s membership include nonprofit organizations. They all work to make the area more vibrant and well-rounded.”

A high priority of the Chamber in 2018 is workforce development. Pendleton started a workforce development committee in 2016 with the goal of better connecting the business community with the education community. The Chamber and the committee are focusing on training, and career development but also creating appositive message about the Biddeford+Saco Area. “Many jobs today are high tech in some way, said Pendleton. We are letting job seekers know if they want an opportunity, it exists here in Biddeford+Saco. I’m tired of hearing that Maine is the oldest state in the Union and that kids are leaving-it’s like we have a self-fulfilling prophecy. The Chamber is sharing positive stories, highlighting the growth and acknowledging that we have a future workforce in our universities, high schools and middle schools -all we need to do is convince them they can grow up and thrive here in their hometowns.”

Among the Chamber’s members are the area’s largest employer Southern Maine Health Care, many sole proprietorships and even municipalities such as the City of Biddeford, City of Saco and the Town of Waterboro. Currently, we have 425 members from 28 communities and 4 states. Now that is a diverse membership!

“The Chamber is an umbrella and underneath it we do many different things, stated Pendleton. Most importantly we focus on the entire region, from Main Street to Camp Ellis to Biddeford Pool to the shopping plaza – everywhere people choose to do business. Whether it is the Route one corridor or an industrial park all the businesses are important to our communities. They add jobs and they make our communities strong.”

Member Services person Alexa Ducharme said, “we want to help wherever we can. There’s always questions along the way and we are here as a resource for them. If we don’t have an answer, we have the connections to find you someone who does. Residents, visitors and businesses are encouraged to call or stop into the Chamber. We want to make connections and build relationships. It’s what we do.”

We encourage you to take some time and get to know about all we do and all the resources we have to help your business thrive, help you plan a relaxing stay or a scenic drive, or enjoy a delightful dinner and entertainment. We have it all in the Biddeford+Saco Region. For more information, visit the Chamber’s website at www.BiddefordSacoChamber.org

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