LIVERMORE FALLS – The Jay-Livermore-Livermore Falls Chamber of Commerce hosted its Feb. 3 breakfast meeting at Murray Hall. Members and guests gathered at 7 a.m. for networking and a light breakfast. The business meeting followed at 7:30 a.m., conducted by the incoming chairman, Jeff Howell.

Howell thanked the 2005 executive board for its dedication to growing the chamber. He also shared his visions for the chamber being a beacon in the tri-town communities, supporting all local businesses and developing a welcome program for new businesses.

Businesses featured in the spotlight were Kimber and Ross, represented by John Ross, and Visible Results, one of their tenants, represented by Anna McCormick.

Ross spoke on their property management business and their belief in giving back to the community. He also talked about their plans for the “primary” school building they purchased on Church Street in Livermore Falls. Kimber and Ross are committed to buying goods locally and using local employees.

The commitment led to the birth of Visible Results, when a previous women’s fitness tenant closed suddenly and left four local residents unemployed. They started their own fitness center rather than buying into a chain, as they believe the percentage of profit returned to the community is higher in local businesses.

Their plans for the Church Street building include providing a space for community events and meetings and remodeling the second floor for residential units.

Local historian Dennis Stires, appearing as Uncle Frank, spoke on the growing movement of “edunomics” in this area, a movement started by Billie Gammon and her vision for the Washburn-Norlands Living History program that is being spearheaded by the Downtown Betterment Group.

Bruce Adams updated the group on the activities of the Downtown Betterment Group, which has been meeting monthly for the last two years. The group organized after the area received a grant for a consultant to study the area and develop goals to strengthen and expand the businesses in the downtown area. The group is a sounding board for area events and an opportunity for networking between businesses, financial institutions and residents.

Phil Poirier spoke about the $1,000 Maine Initiatives Grant that the Betterment Group was recently awarded. It will be used to advertise and expand the Gazebo Farmer’s Market Project this season.

Martin Puckett, the new Livermore Falls town manager, addressed the chamber about his vision for the future of Livermore Falls. Martin believes businesses and customers can be drawn to the area by expanding on the character of a small town. Educating residents to “shop local” is an important step in the process. He plans to become an active member of the chamber and said he is encouraged by the enthusiasm of the group.

Phil Poirier of Protean Graphics is redesigning the chamber’s Web site. He updated the group on his work to date and asked interested members to join a focus group to share input as well as feedback. The group met Feb. 8 at Otis Federal Credit Union.

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