Franklin County Chamber moves to Walmart

Posted Sept. 27, 2012, at 6:56 a.m.

FARMINGTON, Maine — Franklin County Chamber of Commerce will settle into its new location at Walmart this weekend.

The office opens Monday, Oct. 1, with some potential renovations being considered later, Marc Relford, interim director, said. A public open house will be held later.

Relford is starting to move some items and chamber members are expected to help make the move Saturday from the office at 248 Wilton Road.

Brochures and information will be available during office hours from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with interns and volunteers manning the office part of the time while Relford works on projects. A move for the chamber’s kiosk is still under consideration.

The move is expected to help the organization financially although the chamber will continue to pay rent on the CN Brown space.

The chamber is still in negotiations with CN Brown for a possible lease-buy deal, Michael Blanchet, chamber vice president, said. The chamber signed a three-year lease for the building prior to an April vote to continue and not dissolve the organization.

Faced with expenses of nearly $9,000 a month that outweighed income, members have sought creative ways to keep going, including moving and subletting the current space.

Walmart, a chamber member, approached the board offering to lease the space, President Scott Landry said in August when he announced the intention to move.

The plan was to move by Oct. 1 to save on utility bills. Walmart has offered the space rent-free until January, Blanchet said, including utilities, janitorial services and plowing.

Besides rent and payroll for one employee, the chamber’s other responsibility at the new office is phone and Internet, which are covered by a grant from Beeline.

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