PARIS – Interest in the new strategic plan being developed by the executive staff and board of directors of the Oxford Hills Chamber of Commerce has been extraordinary, said Rich Livingston, chamber president and CEO.

“The extent of interest has been extremely gratifying – the lifeblood of a chamber of commerce is its membership, of course, and interest in how this chamber is evolving to better meet the needs of our members has helped fuel a strong influx of new and renewing members, including more than a dozen totally new members in just the past month alone.”

“Some of these new members are commensurate with our continuing efforts to redefine the Oxford Hills – Preservation Park at Poland Spring and the Maine Wildlife Park in Gray among them,” Livingston added.

At least one is among the region’s most unique and globally significant entities: Seeds of Peace camp, pioneering efforts to build lasting peace among conflicting factions, nations, religions and ethnic forces in troubled areas all over the world by focusing on the next generation, today’s young people.

“But the backbone of the new members – as is the backbone of business throughout the Oxford Hills and the rest of Maine – are small businesses, often entrepreneurial in nature, dependent to some degree on their ability to collaborate with their neighbors, to buy and sell products and services in the community from which they have chosen to operate,” said Livingston.

One of the ways in which the chamber is responding to the needs of its members is to revive a breakfast meeting series, beginning with the Business Showcase Kickoff on Friday, Oct. 28. Tickets for the first in the series are limited since it will be held in the culinary arts center of the Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School.

This is the chamber’s first opportunity to share its vision and plans with the community and to unveil its branding strategy being created for the Oxford Hills.

“We believe we have an exciting new way to describe the Oxford Hills, one that brings cohesion to all the elements of this unique and diverse community, and one which will also reach out and be attractive to those who are not already here,” Livingston said.

The second in the new series will be on Wednesday, Nov. 16, and Chip Morrison, president of the state’s largest individual chamber of commerce – Androscoggin – will speak on “How to Get the Most from Your Chamber Membership.”

That will be followed, on Thursday, Dec. 15, by an address from Ed Snook, new publisher of the Advertiser-Democrat. For more information, call the chamber office at 743-2281 or e-mail [email protected]

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