The Damariscotta Region Chamber of Commerce honored members of the community and celebrated accomplishments of the past year during its annual meeting at Water’s Edge, the event facility at Sheepscot Harbour Village Resort in Edgecomb, on Friday, May 17.
John Roberts, president of the chamber’s board of directors, spoke about the renewed energy of the board, the creative overhaul of the 2019 Visitors Guide, and opportunities for members to look forward to, including lunch-and-learn events and a partnership with Husson University.
Rebecca Telega, the chamber’s marketing and membership coordinator, was introduced during the meeting. Telega stepped into the role April 8. She is the first full-time employee at the chamber since the resignation of former Executive Director Stephanie Gallagher in October.
Roberts, along with board members Cerina Leeman, Maia Zewert, and Terri Herald, presented awards to area businesses and individuals. Each winner received an aerial photo taken by Dennis Boyd.
Leeman spoke about Billy Claflin, the recipient of the Individual Community Service Award for his extensive volunteer work in the community, including trail stewardship, setting up and taking down Christmas trees in the Twin Villages, and work with the Damariscotta-Newcastle Rotary Club. Claflin was not able to attend.
Zewert presented the Business Enhancement Award to Shuck Station, of Newcastle.
“As far as the board of directors was concerned, a business that grew from an extensive renovation of a former gas station into a successful raw bar and retail shop that draws visitors from around the state, celebrates the economy of the Damariscotta River, and educates visitors about the ecology in our own backyard is pretty deserving of this award,” Zewert said. “Since opening in August 2017, the business has continually evolved to become the best version of itself. Whether it’s the addition of new menu items, outdoor seating and live music, or a new name for the business, owner Brendan Parsons and the entire crew are committed to keeping the Shuck Station as a destination for both shellfish specialists and raw bar rookies.”
Roberts presented the Organization Community Service Award to Renys, which is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year.
“While many things have changed in the company, the retail industry, customer habits, and in the Twin Villages, there are some constants,” Roberts said. “First, Renys’ headquarters remains in the Twin Villages, with stores operating on Main Street in Damariscotta. Second is the family ownership and mentality to serve customers while making improvements for the next generation. Third is the commitment to serve the community and make a difference beyond just running a business. This is a fundamental characteristic which has been passed down from R.H. (Reny) to his children and to the next generation.”
John Reny, Faustine Reny, and Adam Reny accepted the award on behalf of the company.
Herald presented the final award of the night, the Business Person of the Year Award, to John and Freida Hanlon, co-owners of Stars Fine Jewelry in downtown Damariscotta. The husband-and-wife team is celebrating the store’s 25th anniversary this year.
“What I really find special about these two is that they want to know the story of their clients just as much as they want to share their own story,” Herald said. “They take great pride and joy in listening to the stories of all of their clients that walk through the door. They want to know their stories, ask questions, and drill down to find the perfect gift to add sparkle to any life event.”
“To them, jewelry isn’t just an item. It’s a piece of history,” Herald said.
Also at the meeting, the chamber membership elected Boyd, Park Clegg, Jeniffer Cooley, Jane Gravel, Graciela Ramos, and Mike Sprague as new board members for three-year terms. Roberts was reelected for a second three-year term.
Roberts was also reelected as president of the board of directors. Mark Doe was reelected as vice president and Leeman was elected treasurer.
Roberts recognized outgoing board members Ruth Etheridge, Christine Henson, and Zewert.