We have WiFi - Norseman Inn and Motel along with the Rostay have WiFi, a must have amenity now for lodging businesses. From bathrooms, to private bathrooms, to television and now wireless Internet – that’s travelers progress in the automobile age.
Rotary Auction - Impressive results from last week’s Rotary Club yard sale and auction. Total for the day was over $14,000 with about $8,500 from the yard sale and about $5,500 from the auction.
At Big Adventure – the water slide is open.
Business Report—At the Farmers’Market - The Lobster Boys reported 48 lobsters sold, 23 boxes of strawberries 16 pounds of clams, 30 pounds ov haddock, and 10 pounds of scallops; this was a big pickup over previous week’s. John Carter’s specials on hamburger meat made this his best product; he also has inch and one-half thick Angus steaks. Vegetables Dance ‒ best sellers were peas and beet greens.
Next week Cynthia Flores will be equipped to handle sales that accept SNAP benefits. SNAP ‒ Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program which has replaced the Food Stamp Program. With help from a grant from Western Mountain Alliance, Vegetables Dance has the terminal necessary to transact this type of sale.
Also next week and on the first Saturday of each month there will be cooking classes at the Farmers’ Market.
At the Abbott Farm stand this week’s big seller was strawberries then maple syrup. The Northern Lights Farm from Upton had cinnamon rolls as their big seller ‒ when I checked 13 of 14 pans of rolls had been sold. And last but not least Gene Kelly had sold 23 Puzzle Mt. Pies.
New faces at this week’s market ‒ Meadow Ridge Perennial Farm from Hebron ‒ their best seller was cut daisies and sun-loving plants. About as native as you can get ‒ the farm specializes in locally grown perennials.
MORE BUSINESS PLEASE
Tuesday evening, June 26, the Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce held what amounted to a shareholders' meeting. Dr. Bill Strauss chaired the meeting and he also chairs the Chamber's planning task force. About 35 chamber members and interested citizens attended this very interesting two-hours gathering.
With the flip-charts and breakout sessions one might have thought it was an NTL lab. After the full group offered a number of suggestions of ways to improve business and marketing, the chairman broke the group into three sections to brainstorm answers to three specific tops: Marketing and branding, how to increase chamber membership and how to improve local business overall.
From the general session came three pages of suggested actions which might boost Bethel business. Some of these were: Market what we have/how are we unique? Work with State Government to obtain better signage/promote Bethel. Explore integration (for business) with town planning. Encourage business recruitment/seek people who value our area. Create a set of boundaries for promotion. Promotion of non-tourism industries.
In the breakout sessions, discussions of branding, chamber organization and mission and how to get more business elaborated on the ideas suggested by the main group.
One suggestion was to create a distinct Internet presence for Bethel. There are probably more Bethels in the United States than any other named entity ‒ towns, churches and colleges. So from this discussion came the question what is our Bethel’s model? One answer was Stowe, Vt., and another suggestion was link our best features with those of Ogunquit so that people seeking art and scenery for instance would have Bethel included near the top in a Google listing.
The most often expressed economic need for Bethel is jobs. In fact in the town’s sign ordinance complaint hearing in May, a lady attending the hearing pointed out that she had to travel 1,400 to 1,600 miles to see her sons because they could not find satisfactory employment in Bethel.
Planning Board Approves Gem and Mineral Museum Amendments
At last week’s planning board meeting, Museum Director Gena Schwam presented the museum’s amended site plan for its now two adjoining installations in Bethel. Ms. Schwam was assisted by architect James Reuter. Key feature of the amendment was the addition of the former Odd Fellows Hall to the museum’s establishment.
Other business transacted by the Board at Wednesday’s meeting included action on three sign requests and approving an amendment to the site plan for the Timber Creek subdivision which involved an internal boundary adjustment.
Sign permit applications were from Homeslice Pizza, Town of Bethel (for Davis Park) and from the INNside Shop, which is located in the annex of Holidae House. Signs for INNside Shop and Davis Park were approved. Since the Homeslice Pizza sign would be inside the building, it was not a sign according to the terms of Bethel’s Sign Ordinance.
Open House at Artistic Endeavors
Friday at 171 Main Street a special showing of pastel art by Mary Isham was the reason for a steady stream of visitors to make their way to the Artistic Endeavors new gallery and framing center. Mrs. Isham was on hand to greet the guests and chat with them. Much of her work captures scenes from nature such as Screw Auger Falls Picnic, fall scenes and a graphite sketch of a Goss Pond scene. Besides framed pieces there was a fine assortment of her work in unframed panels that would make excellent gifts – most being based on locations in the general Bethel area.
Mr. Milliard has finished the conversion of an apartment at 171 Main to a studio, gallery and work area for his framing business. Some of his guests got a chuckle out of his displaying Walter Clark pictures in the bathroom. Walter would have liked that. His beautifully done pencil drawing of Hanscom Hall hung directly over the toilet.
Although smaller in overall size compared to its previous location, Artistic Endeavors has a friendlier, cozy feel to it which adds a lot of at-home charm to the art work on display. And Mr. Milliard now has a nice kitchen from which he can serve coffee to his visitors.
The Big Yard Sale at Sunday River’s South Ridge
About two/thirds of the South Ridge main parking area was filled with yard sale setups Saturday morning. Sunday River opened its summer season on Friday with Scenic Lift Rides, Zipline and Mountain Bike Park operations and the Biggest Yard Sale in Western Maine.
My grandson and I arrived late, not getting there until after noontime. Our neighbor, Kate Carroll, who was tending a table of yard sale moveables said the kickoff event seemed to go well and many sales were made early on. Some tables fared better than others. Ashton and I picked out three or four notable possibilities – one was a half bike that could be attached to a full-size one for young riders, there was a set of ZIPFY sleds for only $5 each – great for a really thrilling top to bottom ride on ski trails and a set of two diaper champ disposers and best of all – a Rock Band set for only $20.