Doing Business in the kennebec Valley
The Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce is a business association of some 650 businesses,
industries and organizations in the greater Augusta region and southern Kennebec County.
The Chamber's teamwork approach is key in building a stronger economy, better business
environment and higher quality of life for the 70,000 citizens in the 22-community area.
While government provides four of every ten jobs in the region, other large employers
include high-tech manufacturers, health organizations, the state's largest electric utility
headquarters, financial institutions, major distributors, growing retail centers and statewide
Manufacturers include Alternative Manufacturing (computer components) Kenway Corp. and Filter
Belts (paper industry products), Kennebec Tool and Die (high tech and space products) and a number of wood products specialists.
The area is headquarters for the state's largest electric utility, Central Maine Power Company, an Energy East Company, and includes
major distributors such as NRF Distributors (flooring), PFG NorthCenter, Progressive Distributors and Pine State Trading (food service companies).
Health services in this central part of the state are provided by Waterville and Augusta campuses of MaineGeneral Health, which includes a teaching
unit associated with Dartmouth Medical School. Other health facilities include Veterans Administration Hospital, Home Resources of Maine,
HealthReach Network home services and a number of others.
Recent construction of a major natural gas pipeline through Maine has added a new energy resource to the area's strong mix of electricity and fuel oil.
Bright Future: The Capital area has grown significantly in retail business in the past decade with the addition of some major new retailers
and redevelopment of others. The Marketplace at Augusta is the largest open air shopping mall north of Boston with about 600,000 square feet
of retail space and significant expansions planned. Consumer retail sales have grown to nearly $900 million by 2005.
Local automotive sales, now in excess of $300 million, contribute significantly to sales growth.
Augusta boasts several modern business parks, Gardiner opened a very successful new industrial
park in 1999 and Winthrop is refurbishing an old downtown woolen mill to house a medical care
center and a mix of tenants.
FirstPark Hosts T-Mobile: The large telecommunications company, T-Mobile, has selected FirstPark
for the home of a new United States call center where more than 700 Maine people will be employed.
FirstPark is a high-tech business development center created by the Kennebec Regional Development
Authority (KRDA). Twenty-four cities and towns in Kennebec and Somerset counties collaborated a
few years ago to build "Maine's premiere technology park in Oakland, just off I-95. A number of
professional offices have been built on the Verizon SmartPark property with opportunity to build
out to some 3,000 quality jobs. FirstPark seeks to entice high tech, communications, research &
development, insurance/finance and other new economy businesses to help create a new quality job
center. FirstPark completed the $5 million business park site in 2001and began marketing the
pre-permitted business lots to potential developers and tenants.
Banking, financial and professional services round out this full service regional center and state capital.