March 2017 Newsletter
Although it may not yet seem like it, Spring is just around the bend!  Although many of us enjoy the winter and its associated activities, most look forward to the promise of warmer weather and seeing the earth come alive once again as Spring comes to our region.

Soon we will see the leaves emerge from bare branches and colorful flowers start to poke their heads through the previously frozen earth.

Spring also reminds us of new beginnings and helps us to have a fresh outlook on our personal and business goals.  At the Chamber, we are using the time to reassess and reevaluate our goals for 2017 and to try to identify new programs and initiatives that will serve our businesses and our community.

Our Workforce Development and Economic Development committees are actively working with other area organizations to identify solutions to our economic challenges and to come up with new and exciting way to celebrate the beauty of our region.

Please do not hesitate to contact us with your ideas and suggestions for programs you would like to see the Chamber spearhead in 2017.

With gratitude,

Erik Volk
Executive Director
Upcoming Events
Please visit our WEB page at for more details on any of these events and a listing of other events in our area. Details of the events listed below appear at the bottom of our WEB page

March 17 - Cohase Young Professionals Lunch Social, Local Buzz, Bradford, VT
March 18 -  St. Patrick's Day Concert, UCC of Orford, Orford, NH
March 19 -  Quarter Auction, Monroe Town Hall, Monroe, NH
March 23 - Work At Home Group, Alexander's Restaurant, Bradford, VT
March 25 - Session Americana, Court Street Arts, Haverhill Corner, NH
March 28 - Cohase Young Professionals Open Coffee Club, Local Buzz, Bradford, VT
April 3 - Clara Martin Center 5K Color Splash Discount Registration Deadline

Member Moment - Tilden Electric, PC
This month we are pleased to speak with Ben Tilden, owner of Tilden Electric.  Tilden Electric is full service electrical contracting company serving residential, commercial and industrial customers.  Tilden Electric is located at 260 Cross Street in Fairlee, Vermont and can be reached at (802) 333-4678.

How long have you been in business and what is your background in the electrical field?
The business started in 1979, right in this same location, the same spot where I was born.  I have worked in the electrical field since attending St. Johnsbury Trade School in 1960.

What services does your business provide?  Are there any special services you provide that others may be unaware of?
We do everything including commercial, residential and industrial and have an approximately 30 mile service area.  We work with local contractors, residential homeowners, and have worked on numerous manufacturing and sawmill facilities in the area. Our services include electrical installations and repair; remodeling; fire alarms; generators; TV, phone, and data cabling; as well as service & repairs for residential and municipal septic and potable water pumps.  Our company also has a bucket truck service, light crane service up to 5000 pounds and we wire solar systems.  We also do all of our own vehicle maintenance and repairs, light metal fabrication and some welding.  Whatever it takes!  We always try to stress good service and taking care of our customers.

How many employees do you have?
We have six employees including myself.  This includes five licensed electricians including myself.  Jeff Hodge is one of our electricians and he also serves as our project manager and handles all the scheduling, estimating and looking at jobs.  Jeff has been with the company for 37 years.  Steve Barker is a Journeyman Electrician and has been with us since 1990. Ryan Aiken has been with us since 2012.  He recently completed his four year apprenticeship and has now attained his electrical journeyman license. Doug Randall is our newest electrician who joined us in October 2016. And Roberta Knight our Office Manager has been with the company for 30 years.

What would you say to any young people who are considering becoming an electrician?  Are many young people entering the field?
I read recently that the average age in the industry is 56 years old so we could certainly use some new electricians.  Being an electrician is a good job.  It’s good work and it’s work that won’t be outsourced or sent offshore.  It’s also a very interesting line of work because of all the new technology that comes along every day.  To become an electrician, you have to serve a four year apprenticeship program and accumulate 8000 hours of work in the trade.  You also have to take four years of classes at night school through the state.  After that, you can qualify to take a test for your Journeyman’s license.  After you pass the test, you can work on the job under the supervision of a Master Electrician.  Anyone considering this as a profession also has to be willing to face the physical demands of being outside including working in the cold and the rain.

What are some of the new things you are seeing in the industry these days?
Well, there are certainly a lot more wireless devices which we see more frequently now.  Also, variable frequency controls are being used a lot more now.  These are controls that allow motors to start at lower rpm and gradually come to operating speed. They have been around for between fifteen and twenty years but they are being used more and more for motor speed controls, fans, compressors, water pumps…basically anything driven by an electrical motor. Also there have been great advances in lighting technology since the advent of LED lighting.

Ask The Chamber
Q.  It seems like there are a number of people involved in the various activities with the Chamber.  How many paid employees does the Chamber actually have? Who actually sets policies, makes decisions, etc.?

A.  The only official employee of the Chamber is the Executive Director who is employed by the Chamber for +/- 15 hours/week.   However, the Chamber is very lucky to have a fantastic Board of Directors and a number of these Board members are very active in facilitating and participating in activities, meetings and events for the Chamber.   The Executive Director is responsible for the day-to-day activities of the Chamber.  The Board of Directors, which is comprised of representatives of our region's business community,  is responsible for setting policy and providing guidance to the Executive Director.  The full Board meets once a month to discuss issues of importance, set Chamber goals and make policy decisions.  The Executive Board; which is comprised of the President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and past President; maintains frequent communication with the Executive Director between regular Board meetings and provides him necessary guidance and feedback.

Welcome to Our Newest Members!
We are excited to continue to grow our membership as the year progresses and are very happy to welcome the following new and returning members to the Chamber!  Thus far, we have welcomed 12 new and/or returning members to our Chamber for 2017.

  • Edward Jones Investments, White River Junction, VT
  • Northern Mountain Associates Wealth Strategies, Wells River, VT
  • Mountain Vewe Coopworth, West Newbury, VT
Just Between Members
We are still hoping to implement our Just Between Members discount program but are still looking for interested members who would like to participate. We would like to have enough members to sign up to assure the viability of the program for at least 6-8 months.

Basically, the program would allow a member to offer a discount to other Chamber members for a one month time period.  A new discount would be available every month to help the keep the program fresh and exciting.

Similar programs have worked well for other Chambers and there is no charge to member businesses who wish to participate.

The program is open to not only retail businesses but any kind of service business who would like to expand their customer base.  We expect our membership for 2017 to expand from last year's membership of 150 to 165 this year.

Interested?  Please email us at or call us at (802) 518-0030!  For more information about the program, click the link below.

Click here for more information!
New Cohase Work At Home Group Formed
The Cohase Chamber is facilitating a new group dedicated to those individuals who run businesses out of their home and/or work from home.  The group provides a networking opportunity for people who work independently in our rural communities and who sometimes may feel disconnected from the larger business environment. 

The group, which has held three meetings thus fa,r not only comes together to socialize but also to discuss issues which affect this specific population.   Recent discussion topics have included regional internet access issues and the planned cooperative workspace, The Space on Main,  which is taking shape in Bradford, Vermont.

In addition, a LISTSERV email group has been created to facilitate online discussions.  The group is currently meeting the 4th Thursday of each month.  For more information, to join our LISTSERV and/or to find out details about our next meeting, please send an email to
Member News
  • The Colatina Exit in Bradford, VT continues to offer live music on Fridays.  In March, they will be hosting the Twisted Knickers on March 17, Rick Clogston on March 24  and Dwayne Benjamin on March 31.  All shows start at 7 PM.
  • Ariana's Restaurant in Orford, NH is now back open for dinner on Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights starting at 5 PM.  The dining room has been painted a new color with pendant lights for the tables. Chef Martin is well-rested after taking some time off and eager to get back in the kitchen!
  • The Hungry Bear in Bradford, VT has been posting lots of "Facebook Deals of the Day."  If you have not been checking out their Facebook page, be sure to do so!  Lots of great deals on delicious food!
  • Congratulation to Maria Ryan, CEO of Cottage Hospital in Woodsville, NH for being named a 2017 Outstanding Woman in Business by the NH Business Review.   See the wonderful story in NH Business Review by clicking here.
  • Woodsville Guaranty Savings Bank is hosting a "Secrets of Homebuying" workshop in conjunction with AHEAD on Saturday, March 18th from 8 AM-4 PM at Mt. Eustis Commons, 262 Cottage St., in Littleton, NH.  The cost is $65 per household.  To register or for more information, call (800) 974-1377 or visit
  • Wells River Savings Bank is hosting a Mortgage Seminar on March 18th from 9AM-11AM at the Bradford office location.  The seminar is free but space is limited.  To reserve your spot, RSVP to
  • Upper Valley Coffee Roasters in Newbury, VT were recently featured in Seven Days.  Read all about their growing business by clicking here.  Also, their coffee is now available at Bliss Village Store & Deli in Bradford, Vermont!
  • If you have not checked out the two new restaurants in Fairlee, VT!  Be sure to visit them soon!  We look forward to them joining their fellow businesses on the Chamber.  The new restaurants are Samurai Soul Food and The Lunch Box Deli & Cafe.  Samurai Soul food offers Asian Fusion food, chicken, burgers, beer, wine and more!  The Lunch Box Deli & Cafe offers quality all natural meats, homemade soups and stews, subs, paninis, fresh baked bed and locally roasted coffee!  Both businesses are doing a thriving business and look forward to meeting more area customers and becoming more involved with their community!
  • Congratulations to the Bank of New Hampshire who was a recent winner in the New Hampshire Business Review’s 2017 BOB Awards, which honor 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.  To read more about the awards click here.
  • The Clara Martin Center will host a 5K Color Splash at the Thetford Academy Woods Trail on Sunday, May 7, 2017 to raise awareness for mental health and recovery services in the area while also celebrating the center's 50th anniversary of providing mental health and addiction services to the greater Upper Valley.  Walkers and runners will enjoy the Academy's elite cross country trail while being doused with non-toxic colored powder.  For more information, visit or call Heidi Allen Goodrich at (802) 786-4466 x221 or email her at