Giving, building, coaching and lighting things up – it’s a two-week Buzz.
First of all: the return of a familiar face with a new mission.
Bill Webster, who retired in 2019 after eight years as Principal of the Lewiston School, is back in the area, this time as a SCORE Maine Certified Mentor seeking to help grow local businesses.
“Our customers include people who just have an idea and want to make it happen,” said Webster. “These are people who really want to start a business – they know what they want to do, they just don’t know how to do it. Or people who are already in business and have a problem.
He’s already working with a wedding barn, coworking space, and someone who wants to start a social club.
SCORE’s office in Lewiston in the chamber closed about 10 years ago, leaving the area overseen by offices outside of Portland and the Oxford Hills. The Twin Cities have since been underserved, he said.
Over the summer, SCORE’s new central chapter in Maine, serving Bethel to the central coast, opened an office in the Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments building in Auburn. Webster, who lives in Georgetown, has limited office hours there and also does remote mentoring.
“The most common requests are to help someone develop projections and a business plan, maybe hold their hand through a fundraising process,” he said. “And another very common question is to help people determine how they should legally structure their business, should they be a sole proprietor, should they be an LLC.”
Prior to becoming superintendent, Webster worked as an executive at Hannaford and at a salmon farm. He also owned Haven’s Candies for 11 years, growing from four employees and $ 250,000 in annual sales to 20 employees and $ 1.5 million in annual sales.
“I have a lot of experience and it’s an opportunity to share that with others, but it’s also an opportunity to stay up to date,” he said.
Find Webster and other mentors at centralmaine.score.org
AND TALKING ABOUT HELPING
The Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce’s annual Stuff the Bus gift drive ends Monday.
The chamber has partnered with Auburn Walmart and Lewiston Walmart distribution centers to encourage donations to nine local drop-off sites to help 1,000 area families, teens and seniors this year.
“We were excited to include seniors in 2020 and continue to search for the gifts and items this group needed – knee blankets, card games, warm clothes,” said the President and CEO of the House, Shanna Cox. “The goal of 1,000 people this year is almost double the goal of last year.”
The gifts will be picked up by room staff on a Northeast Charter bus on Tuesday, then distributed through agencies such as Community Concepts, Sandcastle Clinical & Educational Services, Promise Early Education Center, Safe Voices, New Beginnings and Tri-County Mental Health Services .
For wishlist ideas and drop-off locations, LAMetroCC.com/bus.
State regulators approved Saddleback Mountain’s plans for a new $ 8 million solar panel last January and this week the mountain announced it would work with Nexamp on the project, the same developer behind a panel. $ 16 million to Auburn.
At Saddleback, the project will span 31 acres in the northwest corner of the property and generate 7.36 megawatts of electricity.
Construction is expected to begin early next year and be live by the start of the 2022-2023 ski season, according to a press release.
Included in Auburn’s November permit report, released Wednesday:
Tambrands has received a permit for a nearly $ 1.2 million foundation project at 2879 Hotel Road, as part of a $ 15 million expansion approved last spring.
The other major business permit for the month was a new foundation for a six-unit apartment building at 28 Wellington Court for GM Morin Enterprises, a $ 25,500 project.
LET’S END ON MORE NUMBERS
At the Annual Chamber Membership Meeting on Thursday at his monthly breakfast, Cox and Board Chair Jess Donovan presented a host of facts and figures for the past year:
• The number of members stands at 766 with 43 new members in 2021. The chamber is working with 72 other potential members.
• Its revolving loan program supported 23 loans to 17 clients and $ 700,000 was repaid to the program during the year.
• Of the 15,000 Explore + Discover guides showcasing the region that the chamber printed last summer, only 500 remain. Some 6,000 have been used by local talent recruiting companies, 800 have been requested for wedding guests and over 500 were requested by mail and sent across the United States.
“Some (who got them in the mail) pulled into our lobby and moved into the area,” Cox said. “It’s one of the things that helped them make that decision, so it’s something we’re really proud of.”
• The first JumpstartME competition for small businesses with the Downtown Lewiston Association received 15 entries. The winner, Rusty Bus Brewing Co., is slated to open in the spring.
• Boost LA, the new jobs and workforce collaboration, worked with 118 people and placed 36 in employment and education opportunities, according to Cox.
“It’s pretty exciting considering we didn’t really start this admissions process until 2021,” she said. Looking to 2022, “We are excited about this work (and learning) what the workforce needs and your needs are. “
Quick shots on arrivals, departures and business events. Got a Buzzable Tip? Contact editor Kathryn Skelton at 689-2844 or [email protected]
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