Originally published in Castine Patriot, April 6, 2017
Merchants association absorbs CED responsibilities
by Monique Labbe
With the Castine Merchants Association continuing to grow in numbers, it has been decided that the association will take over responsibilities formerly handled by the Community and Economic Development Committee, according to Town Manager Jimmy Goodson.
The CED committee will be dissolved, and continuing promotion for the town will fall into the hands of a promotions committee, formed by the Castine Merchant’s Association and composed of merchants, at-large community members and, as ex-officio members, Maine Maritime Academy and the future Castine Visitor Center director.
“I’m finishing up my third year as town manager, and I have seen the CED Committee guide the town in creating a strong brand, ‘Under the Elms and By the Sea.’ They were a party to creating and maintaining the Visit Castine portion of the website, and they coordinated social media to create real momentum in our town,” said Goodson. “Castine continues to have a shared vision for success, but we feel this vision is no longer centered on the work of the [CED].”
Goodson added that many of the next-stage activities, including buy local campaigns and cross-promotional events, such as Bastille Day, can and should be handled by the Castine Merchants Association.
“The Castine Merchants Association should best be able to direct its own marketing and advertising efforts to benefit current merchants and attract other merchants to our town,” said Goodson.
The merchants association is currently in the process of interviewing and hiring a director of the Visitor Center for the summer months. That person will be in charge of scheduling volunteers and keeping a presence on social media. The association was granted a request of $5,000 for that position, and the town has also submitted a grant to fund the other half of that salary. Ideally, that position will become sustainable and self-supporting after the first year, said Goodson.