Ellsworth Chamber Hosts 65th Annual Dinner and Awards

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ELLSWORTH – With thunder and lightning providing the visual and sound effects, the 65th Annual Ellsworth Area Chamber of Commerce Awards Night on June 30 celebrated the efforts and successes of the local business community, with a focus on community, under the big High Street tent.

A special directors’ award was presented to staff at Northern Light Maine Coast Hospital for their response to the arrival of COVID-19 in Hancock and Ellsworth County last year.

The past year “has been a unique year in our history,” said Chairman of the Board, Tom Wheeler, in his opening remarks. “Not all rooms in Maine have been successful.”

The room not only survived, but it has moved from its long-standing building on the edge of Ellsworth Shopping Center to a shiny new office further inside, next to Martha’s Diner.

A huge crowd showed up to show their support on such a scorching and hot day that the ice in the water glasses melted long before the water was poured out. “Watching the storm clouds come in at 3:45 am was a little scary, but that’s where Wallace [Events] comes into play. They are very important to thank, ”said chamber executive director Gretchen Wilson afterwards.

The 2021 Top Drawer and Citizen of the Year awards, announced earlier this year, received a standing ovation from Stanley Subaru and Fred Ehrlenbach.

“They’ve been nominated many times over the years, but they turned down because they were on the chamber’s board and felt it wasn’t appropriate at the time,” Wilson said. “It was their turn and it’s a long time coming for both of them.” Ehrlenbach and Stanley Subaru owner Mark Politte recently left the board after years of service.

Former Chairman of the Board, Ehrlenbach is a native son of Ellsworth who first worked for Ray Builders, then Irving Oil Corp., then again for Ray Builders before retiring in 2011. But that’s his community work which really shone, including with the Special Olympics, the Autumn Gold festival, several local councils and non-profit organizations in Ellsworth, Trenton and Hancock County and as a reserve officer with the police department from Ellsworth.

“It’s your community,” Ehrlenbach said. “Leave it better than you found it.”

In business on Route 3 in Trenton for more than two decades, Stanley Subaru has grown from 7,000 square feet and 13 employees to 30,000 square feet and 45 employees, said Politte, who shares ownership with his wife, Samantha.

But aside from its long history, Politte credited its employees, who embrace “the culture of engagement” at Stanley and noted that partnering with community organizations is the best part.

“We are very, very touched and happy to be part of such a wonderful community,” said Politte.

The other traditional prices were also announced. The revitalization award went to Mexican restaurant Margaritas. Momo’s Cheesecake in Ellsworth, owned by Brenda and Andres Ledezma, was named New Business of the Year, with Brenda thanking “my sister, the community and God”.

Main Street mainstay, The Bud Connection, won the customer service award. “I imagined this little flower shop and I scribbled it on a napkin in the [Bar Harbor tavern] Thirsty whale ”, owner Barbara Courchesne shared.

“There was just a vibe last night,” Wilson said of the dinner. “I think people were really happy to be out.”

Anne Berléant
Journalist Anne Berleant covers news and reporting in Ellsworth, Mariaville, Otis, Amherst, Aurora, Great Pond and Osborn. When not reporting, find her hiking the local trails, reading, or watching professional tennis. Email him at [email protected]
Anne Berléant

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