August 19, 2019

Chamber has small staff, small budget

WINTER HARBOR — The communities of Gouldsboro and Winter Harbor have proven that a chamber of commerce need not have a hefty budget and a large staff in order to promote a community.

Peter Drinkwater, president of the local chamber, said the organization is launching a low-key effort aimed at changing the name of the Winter Harbor-Gouldsboro Chamber of Commerce to the Schoodic Peninsula Chamber of Commerce.

“More people know us as the Schoodic Peninsula area and we hope to work into the new name gradually,” he said.

The organization’s major event is the Winter Harbor Lobster Festival, a summertime bash that attracts about 6,000 people to the area each year. Preparations for the festival begin in June with many of the participants picking up their respective responsibilities year after year. The chamber is completely self-sustaining and the revenue needed for the promotion of the event is contributed by the organization’s 80 membership businesses.

“We’re strictly a volunteer organization,” Drinkwater said. “All of the money we raise goes to scholarship funds for our area high school kids.”

The Schoodic Peninsula Chamber of Commerce produces a flyer listing all of the businesses in both communities as its primary local promotional vehicle.

“We don’t make any money on it, it just pays for itself,” he said. “When people write to us, we send them one so they can find out about everything that’s going on during the year.”

In addition to the festival, the chamber has found that the May Trade Day has become an increasingly popular event. Drinkwater said the Trade Day essentially can be defined as “a town-wide yard sale” with many of the items not sold during the day going up for grabs at an auction in the evening.

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