Friday, December 4, 2009

Bashaw named Chairwoman of
Ogunquit Chamber Board of Directors

By Jim Kanak
Staff Columnist
Carla Bashaw has added some new responsibilities to the ones she routinely executes as the owner of Genesis Day Spa in Ogunquit. She was recently named Chairwoman of the Ogunquit Chamber of Commerce’s 12-member Board of Directors. She takes the post at a time when the Chamber is taking on some new things.
“We want to do fun and family oriented things to get businesses and residents together,” Bashaw said. “Our focus is pulling the community together as well.”
Most immediately, Bahsaw, Chamber President/Executive Director Karen Arel, and their colleagues on the Board are looking to the upcoming Christmas by the Sea weekend on Dec. 11 - 13. “We’re looking for it to be one of our best events,” said Bashaw. “We’ve added a bell choir concert and will continue with carolers at different locations. The carolers will be at the Tree Lighting at Veteran’s Park on Friday night. The Village Spirit Committee is putting on the parade again. We’re still having the chowder and chocolate fest. It’s always fun.”
Bashaw noted that the Chamber puts on events throughout the year, including the OgunquitFest weekend in October, the Patriot’s Day weekend in April, and the Sidewalk Art Show in August.
“In the past few years, we’ve started the Mardi Gras event in the winter and Cinco de Mayo in May,” Bashaw said. “We just did Celebrations by the Sea, where the Dunaway was transformed into an Expo. We’re currently working on a restaurant week in the spring, a new and different way to showcase restaurants. It may be a progressive supper. We’re hoping it will culminate with a wait staff Olympics, with events like hurdles for food servers. We think it will be fun.”
The events aren’t the only thing the Chamber does, Bashaw said. “The Chamber facilitates interactions among members, through things like our monthly Business After Hours,” she said. “We have put on seminars in the past, that have been free to members. We’re working on getting promoted in places like Boston. We use co-op ads that allow members to have exposure at lower cost. We have a calendar of events on our website where members can post events. We try to keep members informed about anything political that might affect them. We offer different services and benefits.”
In the past in Ogunquit, as in many resort communities, there have been some tensions between businesses and the police, particularly over things like parking and traffic enforcement. Bashaw said that situation was much improved. “It’s going great,” she said. “The police and fire chiefs and the Town Manager have taken great strides in creating more of a feeling of unity. The selectmen have been a big part of it as well. It was apparent this summer when we put the fireworks on again.”
Looking to the future, Bashaw said the Chamber wanted to take advantage of the growth its experienced. “The Chamber has grown in the past three years,” she said. “We need the members to get involved and give us their ideas. The Board looks to members for ideas on what would help them.”
Photo caption: Carla Bashaw (Jim Kanak photo)