Trisha Mosher is the new executive director of the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce. Mosher grew up in Temple and graduated from Mt. Blue High School. She and her family have been active participants in the Farmington Agricultural Society, especially during fall fair season. Her career path and training has led her to this point in her life.

In past years, Mosher has served as program and career development director for Women Unlimited, a program that started in 1988 to help women train for jobs and careers in non-traditional industries. She also worked for the Maine chapter of the national organization, Associated Builders & Contractors. “All of my last 12 years has been working with businesses,” she said. “This area is where my heart is, and I know I can do a lot of good.”

A Chamber membership is a way to support the economic vitality of the area, according to Mosher. The community ties in Franklin County are strong, and businesses support each other. Mosher said she has set a goal to increase membership by 20 percent in her first year.

“I want to get out into all the communities and meet people, so they know more about what we do and want to accomplish,” she said.
She’s also eager to encourage collaboration among all the business organizations, even if all businesses aren’t Chamber members. “By working together, instead of competing, we add to the vitality of the area and the overall welcoming business atmosphere we show our visitors and potential businesses,” she said.

Mosher knows many small enterprises have been family-owned for generations, but many have closed. The shoe, wood products, agricultural and logging industries have declined or even disappeared, but new industries are taking their place. The University of Maine at Farmington and Franklin Memorial Hospital are both large employers, but many young people and new business owners need to know the economy will be strong in the future. Mosher said she firmly believes that a Chamber membership is a fundamental investment in the future of Franklin County and all of its residents.

“The idea isn’t, ‘What has the Chamber done for me?,’ ” she said. “It’s more, ‘What would you like the Chamber to do for you?’ ”
The tourism industry has improved and, in many public locations, visitors can pick up a comprehensive Visitors Guide with current information on places to stay, shop, eat, hike, camp, swim and sight-see. The location at the Walmart store on Route 4 allows the office to distribute brochures, business information and cards. The Chamber also maintains a website and online calendar of local events.

The Chamber traditionally sponsors the Chester Greenwood Day on the first Saturday in December. A fall golf tournament at the Sugarloaf Resort raises money for area scholarships. The Chamber also offers a monthly Business After Hours networking gathering, hosted by local business members and offering opportunities for professional development.

Other committees help with the annual Wellness Fair, the Wilton Blueberry Festival, the Chamber’s booth at the Farmington Fair and the annual recognition meeting in November.

Another committee organizes the Gerry Wiles Holiday Food Basket Drive each Thanksgiving, assisting with donation requests and coordinating each basket’s delivery. The annual publication of the Welcome Guide has its own committee to plan the layout, review material and advertisements, and work on distribution.

Mosher’s job also includes studying legislation that will impact the county’s employers and employees. The minimum wage law, for example, has an effect on small businesses, because employers worry they can’t afford the extra costs. She’s part of the Legislative Committee, which meets to discuss current legislative issues and invite speakers to explain what members need to know to make informed decisions.

A Membership and Welcome Committee provides information for prospective members and welcomes new area businesses. The Economic Development Committee works to attract new business and industry to the area.

Chamber Bucks is a program that has become very popular. Individuals buy certificates that can be redeemed at participating member businesses. The Chamber reimburses that business for the amount spent, and the purchaser can spend as much or as little as she wants.

“The Chamber Bucks program makes shopping and gift-giving easier and benefits local businesses,” said Mosher. “People can take care of all their shopping in one step, because the Chamber bucks don’t have to be redeemed at just one business.”

For more information, email Mosher at [email protected] or Executive Assistant Kait Frost at [email protected]. Visit the website at franklincountymaine.org for a calendar of Chamber events and schedule of community activities and celebrations.

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