PARIS — The Town Office is reaching out to the business community for input on ways the town can support businesses and encourage further economic development.
“Without strong businesses like yourself, no community can survive and prosper,” Town Manager Amy Bernard wrote in a letter to business owners last week. “We would like to hear more from you so that we can be a better partner in expanding opportunities and making our town more accessible for yourself and your customers.”
In the letter, Bernard encourages businesses to reach out to the Town Office or the Western Maine Economic Development Council to discuss what forms of assistance may be available.
The council, funded largely from the Oxford County commissioners’ office, helps provide technical and financial assistance to businesses and entrepreneurs throughout Oxford County.
“They want people to know that Paris, as a government, as a community, values their business community and they want to do anything they can to help,” council Director Glen Holmes said.
The decision to reach out to the town’s business community was partially a response to the decision by several businesses to relocate from Paris to neighboring towns in the past year, Bernard said Wednesday.
“Seeing that happening, seeing that trend, I definitely want to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to help businesses stay here and become profitable,” she said.
The attempt to build relationships with the town’s businesses comes at the same time that a citizens group focused on revitalizing Main Street is beginning to coalesce, Bernard noted.
Generally, Bernard said town government needed to build better relationships with local business owners and show that it values their presence in the town.
“I get the impression from many business owners that come into the office that they think there is not much of a partnership going on,” Bernard said.
“I would like to extend that olive branch that I’m more than willing to help them and work with them to help their business thrive in Paris,” she said. “We need to keep all of our businesses and hopefully grow more so we can broaden our tax base.”