The Biddeford-Saco Chamber of Commerce & Industry was first incorporated in October 1927 as the Biddeford Chamber of Commerce. In September 1935. the name was officially changed to the Biddeford-Saco Chamber of Commerce, Inc. For 87 years, we have been "In Business-For Business" and have proudly promoted our member's businesses and our beautiful communities.
What is a Chamber of Commerce
It’s easiest to start with our purpose statement:
The Biddeford-Saco Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Inc. is organized to advance and promote commercial and industrial growth, as well as the civic, cultural and educational interests of the communities itserves.
And then further clarity comes from our mission statement:
The Biddeford-Saco Chamber of Commerce & Industry is an association of businesses, organizations and individuals formed to foster a strong local economy and a quality of life which will encourage people to visit, live and work in the Biddeford-Saco area.
These two statements set the foundation for the Chamber’s Board of Directors to hire an executive director and create policies and directives that will achieve our mission. The Board members are a representative subset of our local business community; they bring a wealth of knowledge and understanding of the pulse and flavor of our communities heritage and business needs. With that knowledge conveyed to staff, the Chamber develops a number of programs, events, campaigns, informational documents and workshops which are all targeted to highlight the business membership and our communities. Some examples are: The Buy Local Campaign, Wellness for the Mind, Body and Wealth workshops, and the Meet the Candidates nights.
The Biddeford-Saco Chamber was founded in 1927. This year we are celebrating our 85th year of operation. The Chamber is a membership-based organization. We currently have 400 members spanning 32 communities and 4 states. We are unique in the fact that we are supported by sister cities which have an outstanding diversity of businesses. Our communities are a significant economic generator for York County and the State of Maine. To compliment this business diversity, Biddeford-Saco has long been a tourism destination, where travelers enjoy miles of beautiful beaches, walking trails, amusement parks, Saco Bay and the Saco River to name just a few. The third leg of the stool ties everything together. Biddeford-Saco is a great place to live and raise a family. The area offers a range of affordable housing and affluent homes, downtown living, beachfront cottages as well as, quiet rural settings. We feature great local school systems and two university options. Many a story is told of visitors loving our area so much that they found a job and moved here to live, work and enjoy life.
My job as executive director is to bring together a strong team, keep a watchful eye on the horizon and implement programs and services that enable our membership and communities to prosper.
The Chamber serves as Biddeford-Saco’s tourism and visitor information center. At our office located at the Saco Transportation Center, maps, menus, travel guides, business contact information and answers to your every question will be answered by our skilled staff and dedicated volunteers. The Chamber promotes its business members first and foremost when inquiries are received. This gives our membership a competitive advantage. To the best of our ability, staff attends meetings, public hearings, seminars and lectures to gather the latest information and disburse it to our members. Staff serve on committees, commissions and task forces to ensure that our business members interests are well served and views represented. The Chamber uses all means of communication, it has an active website and we actively use Facebook and Twitter to highlight networking functions and to make sure information is shared.
I hope this explanation is helpful. As I continue to write this column, I will describe our activities; keep the readers posted on upcoming events, and highlight potential economic development and business opportunities.
Biddeford-Saco has great potential. I urge you to connect with the Chamber and help us chart a course for a bright future.
Craig A. Pendleton