December 12, 2012

Farmington Business Association organizing to fill advocacy gap

Local contractor, selectman sees group as 'a place we can bounce ideas off each other'

By Kaitlin Schroeder kschroeder@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

FARMINGTON — A town selectman will be starting a new business organization in January to address a void he says he and other business owners think needs to be filled.

After about 40 people attended a recent informational meeting, Selectman Andrew Hufnagel said he will be organizing the Farmington Business Association formally next year. 

He said he thinks the new association will address local business owners’ needs.

“We talked and felt like we were missing something. We needed a place we can bounce ideas off each other, and I thought now is a good as time as any to see what the interest is,” he said.

Mike Bolduc, a Farmington general contractor, said he thinks the new association will meet the needs of his business that have not been met by other groups.

“Being a member of the chamber and having my name on the chamber website only got me solicitation. It didn’t offer to produce any work. The Farmington Downtown Association doesn’t fit the bill, because I live two miles out of town,” he said.

He said his schedule prevents him from attending early-morning networking opportunities at the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, but he thinks the new association will have evening meetings that work with his schedule.

Hufnagel said he thinks he has support for the group, which he said will cast a broader net than the downtown association, which promotes downtown businesses, and will be a Farmington-focused alternative to the countywide chamber.

“It’s not for outside of Farmington and not focused on one specialization, but it’s for all of Farmington,” he said. 

Hufnagel said his organization and the chamber will be cooperating to promote area businesses.

The chamber has been rebuilding itself since April, when the organization nearly disbanded because of declining membership and a lack of annual dues.

Interim chamber director Marc Relford said the two groups are still deciding how they will work together.

“The farthest that we’ve gotten is that we agreed to talk about things after the holidays,” he said.

Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252
kschroeder@mainetoday.com

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