LEWISTON – At a sold-out, bigger-than-ever annual meeting Thursday night, the Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce recognized more than a dozen area businesses and individuals.

Chamber Chairman Peter Murphy of Neokraft Signs told the crowd of more than 450 that the 121st annual meeting of the organization is the communities’ single largest celebration of excellence. He said the chamber’s membership count has now reached 1,340.

The chamber’s Business Leadership Award for a larger company went to Bedard Health Care Pharmacy of Lewiston and owners Mike and Annette Nadeau.

Bucking national trends, the Nadeaus are the third generation in the pharmacy business and have grown their business remarkably in the past decade.

Mark Stasium of TD Banknorth, who presented the award, noted the many decades the firm has been in business, including several generations of family ownership.

The Business Leadership Award for a smaller company was presented to Mike Morin’s Auto Center, which is located on Center Street in Auburn.

In her presentation remarks, Patti Gagne of the Patti Gagne AllState Agency noted that the firm’s eight employees include five who have been with Morin since he opened the business.

Chip Morrison, chamber president, presented two President’s Awards this year.

DaVinci’s Restaurant and owner Jules Patry took one of those awards for his work in helping to change the image of downtown Lewiston.

Morrison said Patry’s vision of the downtown as a destination was the beginning of a major transformation.

The second President’s Award went to Robert Cooper and Marc Cooper, owners of Bisson Transportation/Lynxus LLC. Morrison said their investment in Auburn has taken the transportation and logistics segment of the local economy to a whole new level.

Several individual honors were made.

The annual Ray Geiger award, presented by Peter Geiger in recognition of his father, went to Jan Barrett of the Ware Street Inn for her tireless work in supporting the chamber. For nearly 10 years, Barrett has been a major player on the Regional Image Committee and the chamber’s board of directors.

Geiger noted that she is “a people-oriented problem-solver,” and said that skill probably resulted from her early career in the Washington offices of Senators Edmund Muskie and George Mitchell.

The Education-Business Partnership Award was presented to Rick Speer, who heads the Lewiston Public Library. Speer has been instrumental in making the library a force in forging community partnerships to foster learning, particularly for youth and residents of downtown neighborhoods.

Mary LaFontaine of the CareerCenter made the presentation.

The Community Service Leadership Award went to Andrew Harris of L/A Arts for his efforts in promoting local arts organizations and local artists.

The award to Harris was presented by Jeff Nevins of FairPoint Communications.

Nevins said Harris has taken seriously the mission of getting arts organizations to work more closely together. He said in the past year Harris has pushed for a more timely and comprehensive community arts calendar.

Under his leadership, L/A Arts has launched several new galleries in such places as a pub, a coffee house, a French bistro restaurant, and in its administrative office.

The Public Service Leadership Award went to Dottie Perham-Whittier of the city of Lewiston for her work promoting youth and leading development and implementation of local projects. Her award was presented by Conrad Wenzel, Maine Turnpike Authority.

The Ken Additon Business Advocate Award was presented by Iman Poeraatmadja of Burgess Computer to Maine & Company for its work in bringing new businesses to the state.

The chamber’s New Member Award for 2009 went to Heidi’s Brooklyn Deli, a franchise started in Denver by transplanted New Yorkers Heidi and Steve Naples with about 50 stores nationwide.

Michelle Tribou is a longtime resident of Auburn who made Auburn the site of the first Heidi’s in New England.

The award to Tribou was made by Jennifer Hogan of Community Credit Union.

This year the chamber introduced a new award, “The Cool Chamber Award.”

Presented to an organization or business that has made a significant difference in reducing energy usage and preserving resources, the initial award went to Efficiency Maine. Rick Malinowski of Proctor & Gamble gave the award.

The Greene Business Award was awarded to that community’s Riverwalk Creations and owners Kathryn and Jonathan Beausang. They have put together a new business in Greene featuring hand-crafted jewelry.

Presenter was Sue Donovan of Donovan’s Auto Sales.

Brigeen Farms, a family dairy farm in existence since the 1770s, received the Turner Business Award.

Steve and Mary Briggs and Bill and Betsy Bullard are the eighth and ninth generation to operate the farm in Turner. The dairy herd consists of 475 mature animals and 400 head of young animals.

Presenter was Susan Stacey, Central Maine Community College.

The Lisbon Community Federal Credit Union received the Lisbon Business Award. A part of Lisbon since 1959, the credit union grew so much that it required a new home, which is now located in the center of town. Recently, the credit union became one of the key supporters in launching the Keep Maine Strong campaign.

Presenter was Steve Eldridge, town of Lisbon.

Recognition also went to past-chairwoman Trisha Fletcher and to retiring board members Barbara Trafton, Celeste Yakawonis, Steve Boulet and Chandra Sasseville.

In remarks to the group, Maine’s Second District Congressman Michael D. Michaud said he recently talked with the head of the Veteran’s Administration and received assurance that a Lewiston-Auburn clinic for veterans is still planned for the Twin Cities.

He also said the economic stimulus package moving through Congress contains important benefits for Maine related to infrastructure rehabilitation.


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