Cohase Chamber of Commerce Newsletter
Where the River Unites
 Our Communities
March 2016
In This Issue
Upcoming Events



March 19
Annual St. Patrick's
Celtic Concert 
7:00 PM
United Congregational Church of Orford
Orford, NH 

March 19
Cabin Fever Auction
1:00 PM
Horse Meadow Senior Center
North Haverhill, NH

March 19
"I-91" Dance
8:00 PM
American Legion Post #20
Woodsville, NH

March 19
Share Your Skills Day
1:00 PM-4:00 PM
Oxbow High School
Bradford, VT

March 26
Session Americana
7:30 PM-10:00 PM
Court Street Arts
Alumni Hall
Haverhill, NH
 
March 20
Acoustic Music Jam
12:00 PM
Clifford Memorial Building
North Haverhill, NH

April 2
Discovering New England Stone Walls
7:00 PM
Bath Public Library
Bath, NH 

April 9-10
Mountain Money All Stars
Fiddle & Banjo Competition
 7:30 PM(Sat)-3:00 PM (Sun)
Court Street Arts
Alumni Hall
Haverhill, NH 

April 10
Flavors of the Valley Expo
11 AM-3 PM
Hartford High School
White River Junction, VT 

May 11
Business Breakfast
7:45 AM
Colatina Exit
Bradford, VT 

May 22
Paddle the Border
10:00 AM
Woodsville Community Field
Woodsville, NH 


For more info or details about upcoming events, please visit our WEB site at www.cohase.org
:: 802-518-0030
Dear Members:
  
As the Winter (or what there was of it) departs and Spring starts to show her face, we at the Chamber look forward to many great things happening with the Chamber!  We have a number of dates already solidified for some of our events and are working on finalizing others.  Please Save the Date for our Annual Business Breakfast on May 11, Paddle the Border on May 22, our Annual Garden Tour on July 16 and our Film Slam Event on September 9.  Other events include our upcoming Business Workshops, our Economic Summit, our Farm Tour and our Business Passport program (see below for details.)  We are also solidifying some "Business After Hours" events as well as additional educational programs this year as well!  Other events are also in the works!

We hope this year you will be an active participant in the Chamber and let us know your ideas about what the Chamber can do for you and our region.  If you are interested in hosting an event, participating in our Economic Development or Workforce Development committees, or just have a great idea the Chamber can pursue, please let us know!

It's also not too late to help support our upcoming events by being a Sponsor and helping to offset the costs of of these events!  Thanks to those members who have provided sponsorships thus far, both big and small! Minor sponsorships are $150 and major sponsorships are $300.  We certainly would welcome any amount though!

Wishing you a great Spring, and at least for some of you an uneventful Mud Season as Spring approaches!

Sincerely,
 

 

Erik Volk
Executive Director
cohasechamber@gmail.com
(802) 518-0030

  
Member Moment
This  column is devoted to learning more about our member businesses.  We ask the business five questions.  Questions will vary by month.

Chef Martin Murphy
T his month we were very happy to speak with
Chef Martin Murphy of Ariana's Restaurant in Orford, New Hampshire. Ariana's is one of the region's premier restaurants offering delicious meals made from fresh, seasonal high quality ingredients. The setting is simultaneously casual and elegant and the menu offers a variety of foods to fit every palate.  In addition, Ariana's offers the extremely popular Cooking Classes with Chef Martin and the equally popular Wine Dinners with Chef Martin. Visit them at www.arianasrestaurant.com or call them at (603) 353-4405.

Q. Is your background in restaurants? How did you come to own a restaurant in Orford?

A. Well, I have over 30 years in the Food Service industry. I am basically self-taught but have worked for many great chefs and have attended programs including the School for American Chefs in California and being asked to present a dinner at the famous James Beard House in New York City. I actually studied Geology at the University of Southern Maine and originally wanted to get involved in alternative sources of energy. At that time, I was told that there were not a lot of opportunities and I could get a job with the Department of Defense or one of the oil companies which really didn't appeal to me. It was at that time that I started working as a line cook at the Black Point Inn in Maine.

From there, I traveled around the country, working in the industry as a sous chef. At that time, I worked in Florida, Wyoming, Montana and California. I then took a position on Cape Cod and met my wife there. I lived in Boston for a while and then on Cape Cod for a number of years, working in several fine dining restaurants as chef. Then, in the 1990's, during the recession, I moved to Florida for opportunities. I was a partner for a time in a gourmet food store similar to Dean & Deluca. I then ran a Culinary Center in Florida that was a partnership between Robb & Stucky and Kitchen Aid, teaching classes and hosting wine dinners and private events. We eventually decided to sell our house and return to New England. My wife's family had retired to this area and we loved the small town feel. We moved up here but I still had a job in Florida and commuted between Manchester, New Hampshire to Fort Myers, Florida for a time.

My biggest challenge here was that I was an unknown entity. I interviewed with a number of restaurants and finally hooked up with Stella's in Lyme, New Hampshire. I worked with the owners to develop the menu and open the restaurant. I then returned to Florida to run the Culinary Center for a final season. When I returned, I took a position as chef at the Canoe Club in Hanover. While there, we purchased cheese and butter from Bunten Farm. One day I happened to walk into this restaurant, which was then Bunten Farmhouse Kitchen, to pick up cheese. The owners at the time, Bruce and Chris, said we really need someone like you to take the place over. It was fate! We signed a lease on July 15, 2011 and opened on August 3, 2011.

Q. I have heard that the restaurant is named after your daughter. Does she work there? How about the rest of your family?

A. Ariana is my daughter and the restaurant is named after her. At the time, everyone said I should call it Chef Martin's. I went to Concord to apply for that DBA. I was told there was already a Chef Martin Catering in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire and the name was too similar. After that, I decided to call it Ariana's. The name has a certain appeal to it. Also, it is an old Celtic tradition to name things after your family for good luck.

Ariana is not working at the restaurant right now, although she did during high school. She is currently attending college in Washington, DC. My son, Ryan, does work here. Ryan is a writer and is very creative. He is also really great with customer relations at the restaurant. My wife, Nancy, was more support for the first few years. She worked at Rivendell Academy until the kids graduated. This year, she has joined us full time. My sous chef, Maggie, has been with me since day one. She also worked with me when we opened up Stella's. We also have had other great employees over the years as well as some students who have worked for us and come back in the summer and over vacations. We have been very lucky to have great employees. Owners sometimes don't understand how costly it is to get new employees and have a constant turnover. Customers are most important but employees are second.

Q. What is your favorite food to cook and/or eat?

A. To me, being a chef is such craftsmanship. There is an art form but we are mostly craftsmen. I really enjoy seafood because you can be very diverse. You can go so many ways and directions. Fresh fish is so much fun to work with and so beautiful. I also enjoy braising and slow cooking. I love when I create something, like transforming a piece of chuck into something different and delicious. Finally, I love making sauces. I never get bored making stocks and sauces. It is frustrating when I go out to eat because very few people put sauce on a plate!

Q. How important is local and sustainable food to your business?

A. I really care about local and sustainable food. Although we cannot be 100% local, especially this time of year, we are about 80-90% local in the summer months. I also make sure my proteins are sustainably raised. We have our own beautiful garden at the restaurant and pick some of our food from it. I love to show people the diversity of things that grow here. The soil here is some of the richest in New England.

Q. What surprises people about your restaurant?

A. When we read reviews on Yelp or Trip Advisor, we are sometimes referred to as a "diamond in the rough." Others have said it looks like a chicken coop from the outside, but they are pleasantly surprised when they come in. People also view us as being kind of in the middle of nowhere and don't always expect much. They sometimes come in with lower expectations and we exceed their expectations. The key is quality ingredients. Everything is fresh. We focus on balance.

Ask The Chamber

Q.   I would like to network with other member businesses.  What opportunities does the Chamber offer for me to do this?  Does the Chamber have "Business After Hours" or similar events?

A.
Thanks for the question!  The Chamber does offer several events that are good options for networking.  The next event is our Annual Business Breakfast scheduled for May 11 at the Colatina Exit Restaurant in Bradford. This event is an excellent chance for members to network and get updated as to the current economic and business challenges and successes in our member towns.  Our Business workshops are also another chance to network with other member businesses and learn something at the same time.  We will be holding two Business Workshops this year, one in the Spring and one in the Fall.  Our Spring workshop will be on Cybersecurity and our Fall workshop will likely be on Succession Planning for Small Businesses.  In addition, our Annual Meeting is another opportunity, which we just held in January and will be held again on January 23, 2017.

As far as "Business After Hours" events, we did not hold any of these in 2015 for a variety of reasons.  However, we will be resurrecting these opportunities in 2016.  We have several businesses who have expressed interest in hosting these types of events.  Although, we are finalizing dates and details, we expect one to be held in the May/June time frame and one to be held in the September/October time frame.  There will likely be one or two additional ones but we are still working with the hosting businesses to finalize the details.  More details about these events will be announced soon and will be communicated via email, included in our newsletter and posted on our Facebook page.

Please note that we would love to have additional businesses host "Business After Hours" events so please let us know if you would be interested in hosting one by contacting Erik Volk at cohasechamber@gmail.com or by phone at (802) 518-0030.
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Interactive Regional Economic & Demographic Information
 
If you are interested in how your county or region is faring in contrast to the rest of the state or the country, two web sites offer an assortment of interactive tools to give you a clearer picture. These sites feature not only economic indicators but also demographic information such as population, employment data, household income, etc.

Vermont Futures Project

The Futures Project promotes the long-term economic health of Vermont. Through leadership, research and education, The Futures Project seeks to inform the conversation about Vermont's economic future and demonstrate how a health economy contributes to Vermont's vibrant communities and unique quality of life.

The Vermont Dashboard is a snapshot of the current economic health of Vermont that gives leaders important metrics to understand and measure progress in securing Vermont's future. The Vermont Dashboard's key indicators benchmark Vermont's economic growth to stimulate conversation and prompt action that will achieve measurable and positive outcomes.

Click the link below to access the dashboard.  Be sure to access the tabs at the top of the page for additional interactive charts and information.

 
New Hampshire & Vermont Regional Economic Analysis Project

The New Hampshire and Vermont Regional Economic Analysis Projects are part of the Regional Economic Analysis Project (REAP), an organization of regional websites designed to foster and further sound regional economic research, analysis, education, outreach and decision-making.

REAP focuses on bringing regional economic analysis awareness, techniques, and methodologies to local and regional communities across the United States. Using data compiled by the Regional Income Division and Regional Product Division of the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), their web site provides data tables and detailed analysis of the trends and composition of the major economic indicators.  Their interactive tools lets you segregate out specific counties and compare them to state statistics or the nation as a whole.

Click the links below to access these interactive data tools.

New Hampshire:

Vermont:
Cohase Passport Program Proposal
  
*PLEASE CONTACT US IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN PARTICIPATING*

We are excited at the prospect of introducing a new regional marketing program this Fall, which we are tentatively calling the "Cohase Passport Program."  Although we are still working out the final details, we wanted to check with our members to confirm if they would find such a program  usa-passport.jpg valuable and if they would be willing to participate.

How would this program work?
The basics of the program would include the following:
  • A "Cohase Passport" game card would be created which would include "squares" for the various participating member businesses. 
  • Participants would bring the "passport" to participating businesses and get a unique "passport" stamp from each business they visit.  No purchase would be required.
  • Completed passports would be entered into a drawing for cash prizes (tentatively $500 and $100) and a gift basket comprised of merchandise and/or gift certificates donated from area businesses.
  • A minimum number of stamps will be required to be entered into the drawing.  However, the more businesses visited, the larger the number of entries.  (For example, if 40 businesses participate, the participant might receive one entry for every 10 stamps completed.)
  • The program will likely run for the month of September.
Is this program only appropriate for retail establishments?
Absolutely  not!  We anticipate that this program will be not only valuable to retail businesses but also for any business which would benefit from increased customer exposure.  In addition to classic retail outlets, we anticipate participation by service providers, banks, insurance agencies, real estate firms, accommodation providers, fitness centers, restaurants, non-profits, health care providers and other businesses.  Of course, the program will not be appropriate for all member businesses but we hope it will be an exciting marketing opportunity for many.  The program would only be open to current Cohase Chamber members.

What are the major benefits if I choose to participate?
Our goal is to bring new, current and former customers into your business to actually see your business and interact with you and your staff.  Unlike awareness campaigns, you will actually be able to measure the amount of visitors to your establishment as a result of this program.  We believe that once people have made a physical connection with a business or organization, the chances of them returning and remembering to shop local are greatly increased.  We also believe the fun "game" aspect of this program will be an exciting, entertaining and non-threatening way for community members, regional residents and visitors to visit businesses they may not have thought about visiting otherwise.  During this campaign, you may also make marketing information for your business or organization available to further solidify the connection between possible customers and your business.

Is there a cost to participate?
Yes, but although there will be a cost to participate, our goal is to keep the cost low and have as much participation across our region as possible. Although we are still figuring out the specific costs involved, we anticipate the participation fee will be around $50.  The costs will help offset the prize monies, printing costs, advertising costs and other costs associated with the program.  Participating businesses who wish to be a "drop-point" for completed passports will pay a slightly higher fee for that designation, around $100.

OK.  I would like to participate.  Now what?
If you would like to participate, please email us at cohasechamber@gmail.com or call us at (802) 518-0030 to let us know.  In order for us to move forward with the program, we need to be certain we have ample participants to make the program a reality. Thank you!
Member Updates
  • Bank of New Hampshire  was recently selected as a winner in the New Hampshire Business Review's 2016 BOB Awards, which honors the Best of Business in New Hampshire in over 90 categories.  Bank of New Hampshire was honored in the statewide readers' survey for the Best Local Bank for Small Business category.
  • Old Church Theater in Bradford, VT is seeking feedback from community members.  Take their survey and win prizes from Hannaford, Farmway and more!  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/27DXPSL
  • Vital Communities is hosting a Flavors of the Valley Expo on Sunday, April 10th at Hartford High School in White River Junction from 11 AM to 3 PM.  It features over 50 farm and food related vendors. $10 per person.  Children under 6 are FREE and there is a $30 maximum charge for families.  Visit www.vitalcommunities.org for more information.
  • River Bend Career and Technical Center in Bradford, Vermont recently held an Alumni Dinner on March 8 for alumni and business and other community members who support the center.
  • Always Fit Athletic Club  in Woodsville, NH has announced new hours.  They will now be open at 4:30 AM, Monday through Friday!  For a full list of their hours, visit their WEB site at  http://www.alwaysfitathletic.com/
  • Nootka Lodge in Woodsville, NH would like to remind folks that they have a conference room/function space available for parties or gatherings.  The Family Suite has two queen trundle beds whcih fold up to convert to a large function space! Contact them at (603) 747-2418 for more information or visit their Facebook page to see photos!
  • Court Street Arts at Alumni Hall in Haverhill, NH has announced a series of Spring musical events and classes.  Check out their exciting schedule at www.courtstreetarts.org