Cumberland forms alliance to promote local businesses

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CUMBERLAND – A first-of-its-kind local business group hopes to promote and support businesses and bring together the town’s public and private sectors for increased economic development.

Membership in the Cumberland Maine Business Association is free to all Cumberland business owners. Invitations to join the new group have been sent to about 120 businesses, Alyssa Daniels, Cumberland’s economic development coordinator, said Monday.

“We will try to host meetings or informational sessions whenever we can,” she explained, adding that the association will ultimately be an entity that is separate of the town. But at the outset the town will provide assistance and resources.

The association’s first quarterly meeting is scheduled to be held at the Val Halla Banquet Center on Feb. 2.

“We’d just like to introduce everybody to the new association and let them know what the idea is, so that they can join if they want to,” Daniels said.

An association Web site will include a business directory, a discussion forum for business owners, promotional materials from member businesses and a Frequently Asked Questions section.

“We want to have a resource base for current businesses, but we also want to attract new businesses, and have something in place for them to use as a resource,” Daniels said.

The town has also produced a four-page color brochure that has been sent to businesses for feedback and will later be used to attract new businesses. The document contains information about Cumberland’s demographics; environment (economy, government, school district); incentives to businesses, like tax increment financing districts, credit enhancement agreements and shovel-ready sites, and success stories from existing businesses.

For more information, contact Daniels at 829-2206 ext. 314 or cmba@cumberlandmaine.com.

Alex Lear can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.