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Business Notes: Dec. 22, 2013

Wells River — During the coming year, the Cohase Chamber of Commerce plans to focus its resources on existing campaigns and programs to promote businesses in the region that spans the Connecticut River and stretches from Piermont to Woodsville, the new executive director said last week.

“We have a lot going on, and we have to depend on volunteer energy to get things done, and you don’t want to stretch it too far,” said Gabe Zoerheide, who is the former director of programs at Vital Communities, a non profit organization in White River Junction.

Zoerheide, a Corinth resident, was hired in November to fill the part-time position that was vacated by artist and architect Mark Nielsen, who resigned to devote more time to his business.

The Chamber made a good choice with Zoerheide, Nielsen said in a news release announcing Zoerheide’s hiring.

“I was aware of Gabe’s passion for a number of economic drivers, such as local food production, transportation and energy conservation. What I did not know until recently is what a grasp on the strategic and big picture of non-profit organizations he possesses. I believe our members will benefit from qualitative improvements at the Chamber within the first year. … I am very much looking forward to the next chapter for the Cohase Chamber of Commerce,” Nielsen said.

In April, Zoerheide left Vital Communities after about a decade with the organization to develop and expand his pasteur-raised meat business that he runs with his wife, Hayley, on Winter Moon Farm in Corinth.

“I’d been looking for part-time work, and this really complements the farm. It’s a very exciting opportunity for me that’s similar to Vital Communities. Both are nonprofits doing good work in the region, and this is a region with an exciting future,” he said.

The Cohase Chamber, which was founded in 2002, has more than 200 members and serves the towns of Orford, Piermont and Haverhill in New Hampshire and the Vermont towns of Fairlee, Bradford and Newbury and the surrounding area. As part of its regional marketing program, the Chamber’s members participate in the “Take 5, Hang 10” campaign, a name drawn from the U.S. and state routes that run through the region.

The Chamber also supports a summer garden tour, antique fairs and the “48-Hour Film Slam” in the fall. For four years, the Chamber also ran the Whole Hog Barbecue Contest, which was suspended a couple of years ago, at the North Haverhill Fairgrounds.

Although no final decisions have been made about resuming the barbecue, it was a big event that required a large, exhausting volunteer effort, Zoerheide said, adding that doing a number of smaller events seems to be a better use of limited resources. “It’s difficult for us to expend all of our energy on one event.

“There’s strong growth in this region — it’s not Lebanon and Hanover — but it’s growing with home-based businesses that are part of the creative economy, and the Chamber is committed to encouraging that growth,” he said.

For more information, visit www.cohase.org.

Company News

More New Hampshire residents and businesses in the Upper Valley are getting high-speed broadband as result of a recent FairPoint Communications service expansion. FairPoint is now providing broadband service to 51 additional homes and businesses in Lyme, 55 in Unity and 143 in Newport and Croydon.

This expansion is part of FairPoint’s plan to increase broadband availability to 95 percent of its access lines in New Hampshire by the end of 2013.

The new high-speed connection areas include Dorchester, Norris, Old Dorchester, Reservoir and Reservoir Pond roads in Lyme. The new areas in Unity include portions of 2nd NH Turnpike, Britton, County Farm, Fisher, Honeydew, My Way roads and Nursing Home and Pinewood drives, Strout and West Unity. In Newport, the new service is on Edgell Road and Town Line Lane. In Croydon, residents and businesses now have service on these streets and roads: Brighton, Camel Hump, Central Station, Croydon Brook, Croydon Turnpike, Dawgs Way, Fletcher, Hayward, Lane, Misery Mountain Lane, NH Route 10, River, Sugar River Lane and Winter.

Items of interest to the local business community are published every Sunday. Submissions may be mailed to: Business Notes, c/o Sunday Valley News, P.O. Box 877, White River Junction, Vt. 05001. You may also send your items by e-mail to biznotes@vnews.com. All items are subject to editing for clarity or space.