Yarmouth hires economic development director

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YARMOUTH — Yarmouth has hired its first economic development director with the hope of attracting new businesses to town.

Denise Clavette of Old Orchard Beach started in the new position Jan. 26. According to the town website, Clavette’s job is to “support and enhance the features and programs of Yarmouth that make it an attractive place and market for business investment and community life.”

Clavette said she is excited about the new position.

“I really enjoy economic development and helping large and small businesses in the community,” she said.

Clavette previously worked for 15 months as the executive director of the Kennebunk-Kennebunkport-Arundel Chamber of Commerce. Before that she was the business development manager for Brunswick from 2009 to 2013.

“Denise is bringing a lot of energy and a lot of experience,” Town Manager Nat Tupper said.

The town began looking for someone for the position in October 2014. Tupper said there were approximately 30 applications from people with “a great variety of backgrounds.”

Clavette said the first thing she’s doing is meeting with people in Yarmouth’s business sector. She said she is also working on a strategic business outreach program to “promote Yarmouth as a place to live, work, and play.”

Clavette said she’s “trying to integrate all aspects of the community” and find a balance between maintaining Yarmouth’s rural character and bringing in more businesses.

“I’m going to work at striking a balance that will be an outcome of all the conversations I’m having (with business owners and residents),” she said.

Clavette said she is also planning to “create and develop an economic development advisory board and strategy,” as suggested by a committee that spent 18 months figuring out what the town would need in an economic development director.

The committee consisted of Councilors Tamson Bickford-Hamrock, Jim MacLeod, and Pat Thompson; Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Carolyn Schuster; Chamber of Commerce board member Ed Libby, and resident Peter Small.

Tupper said the advisory board will have five to nine members.

Clavette said that while she will remain a resident of Old Orchard Beach, she is very happy to be working in Yarmouth.

“It’s a very beautiful community and it’s a wonderful opportunity to serve,” she said. “There are a lot of great opportunities and things going on.”

Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or kgardner@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitte: @katevgardner.

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I'm a reporter for The Forecaster covering Freeport, Yarmouth, Chebeague Island, and Cape Elizabeth. I'm from a small town in NH no one's ever heard of. When not reporting, I can be found eating pasta and reading books, often at the same time.