2023 Chamber Awards Nominees Announced

Vote for the Chamber businesses, organizations, or individual(s), that you wish to see celebrated at this year’s Annual Chamber Awards Gala on
Friday, November 3rd, Bayview Room, United Farmers Market of Maine.

This is your opportunity to recognize your favorite Waldo County businesses or Chamber members! We have offered nominees below for your consideration. Write-in votes are also permitted.


Vote now through Thursday, October 19th!

BUSINESS GROWTH AWARD: A Chamber Member business that has successfully expanded, renovated, or increased employees in the past year.


HEY SAILOR – Purchased adjacent building, installed new pizza kitchen, expanded dining space with local art and created live performance venue, the Starboard Lounge.

THE HOMEPORT INN & TAVERN – Continued renovation of historic inn, created beer garden and performance space outdoors, expanding live music offerings, staff and hours 7 days a week.

KATWALK – Not only expanded into the adjoining retail space to add gifts and a new youth clothing line, Katherine Loblein has purchased her building. Since first opening in 2011, this boutique has secured their location for the future.

OAKNUT PROPERTY MANAGEMENT – A Women Owned business servicing all of Waldo County since 2021. With over 15 years of experience managing properties, they have doubled available units in the past year and the business continues beyond the loss of their main office and most equipment during a tragic fire.

OPAL BUILD – Co-founded two companies: GO Lab, to manufacture the most environmentally friendly wood fiber insulation in the world – TimberHP; and OPAL Build, to use that insulation and other high performance forest products in delivering streamlined, single-source, prefabricated building shell solutions with the goal of reducing labor and schedule by 50%.

RE/MAX JARET & COHN – Keirsten Wyman, Erin Merrifield, & Jestine Sawyer stepped into ownership roles while honoring all that founder Ellis Cohn built, who opened the first office in 1981. This monumental move marks a significant milestone in the careers of these three women, all locals to Waldo County.

SEASCAPE MOTEL & COTTAGES – Continued success with property and cottage renovations and new destination marketing to draw visitors to our area.

SOLARLOGIX – A family owned and operated installation company, established in 2015. Their vision is to help increase Maine’s energy independence by reducing the need for fossil fuel consumption. New offices and retail location under construction.

STONE TREE FARM & CIDERY – A small batch winery and cidery with a focus on quality over quantity. New tanks, expanding product line, expanding live music, food, and community events.

SWEET MONKEY BUSINESS – Expanded from cooking for friends to farmers’ market to kitchen space to full Main Street kitchen and production.

RISING STAR AWARD: A new Chamber Member business that has been around for three years or less and holds the promise of being here for many years to come.  The new business may be creative, innovative, unique and/or fills a need in the community.


ALWAYS LISTENING HEARING AID CENTER – Opening in May 2022, Felicia Curtis began offering a wide selection of hearing device makes and models suitable for treating varying degrees of hearing conditions. Providing affordable hearing solutions in Belfast and the Midcoast.

ANODYNE BOOK SHOP – Searsport’s first bookstore in over 11 years. Elly Burnett opened her independent, full-service bookstore in April 2023. Beautiful little shop, great curation of used and new books.

FON’S KITCHEN – Right in the heart of the historic downtown, Fon’s Kitchen opened in March 2022 by Sarunya ‘Fon’ Rock and husband Dan Rock. They offer friendly service and authentic Thai cuisine in an elegant setting.

GRUMP & SUNSHINE BOOKSHOP –  For Cassidy Gintz, a lifelong entrepreneur, it is the latest in her business pursuits. Opening in May 2023, she curates a romance bookshop with a mix of mainstream bestsellers and works from independent authors and publishers. 

LEAFSONG FAMILY FARM – Created by Stacy Leafsong, an organic farmer, floral artist and passionate nature lover with over 35 years of professional horticulture & floriculture experience. Small family-owned 89-acre farm, gardens, nursery and garden store, available for weddings and special events since 2021.

LIMINA RENEWAL CENTER – While hiking in Maine, Libby and Bill Catania were inspired to create a retreat in Searsport in 2023 for quiet reflection, renewal, spiritual direction, and professional and private group stays.

THE PARSONAGE GALLERY – New art gallery in Searsport, opening in June of 2022 by Dr. Aaron Rosen and Rev. Dr. Carolyn Rosen. Special interests in providing educational opportunities for youth, partnering with museums, schools, and non-profits to provide free workshops, lectures, and community events.

WALDO COUNTY BUSINESS AWARD: This award recognizes a Chamber Member from Waldo County or just somewhere outside of greater Belfast, that has demonstrated sound business development, civic involvement, or support for our overall business community.


BAHNER FARM – Maintains popular farmstand and CSA, 37-acre certified-organic farm, seedlings orders and care, online recipes and ordering available.

FRANK’S HOME WATCH – Frank LaSeta created his business from the ground up, voted Best of the Best in Property Management for the last decade. He provides Professional Home Caretaking, Property Management and Home Monitoring services.

HAMILTON MARINE – Wayne Hamilton launched Hamilton Marine from his garage, which he expanded many times, to the current Route 1 Searsport location. Through the years, Hamilton Marine has become the largest discount ship’s chandlery north of Boston and has grown across Maine with locations in Jonesport, Southwest Harbor, Rockland, Kittery and Portland. There are about 100 employees at the Searsport location and 170 overall.

REVISION ENERGY – Top solar installer in New England, employee-owned, certified B Corp, educating and engaging their community.

STONE TREE FARM & CIDERY – Popular winery/cidery in Unity growing their own offerings while supporting local food trucks, crafters, musicians, meetings, and events at their picturesque venue.

UNITY POND POTTERY – Offering one-of-a-kind hand-crafted pottery, demos and lessons for schools, groups, and visitors for nearly forty years in Unity.

WHALE’S TOOTH PUB – Continued growth at historic restaurant, fresh ingredients from farm and sea, supporter of local arts/business/community groups, opened Northport Inn & Lodge for working professionals seeking affordable housing.

HEALTH CARE PARTNER AWARD: A Chamber Member individual or organization outside of the health care profession who through their actions demonstrates a commitment to our shared vision of making our community the healthiest in America.


ANANDA YOGA & WELLNESS – Providing a safe space for the community to learn, grow, and transform through yoga, mindfulness, meditation and more. Classes and workshops being offered year-round.

BELFAST FARMERS’ MARKET – Providing access to quality, locally grown food and craft. Many vendors accept WIC/EBT/SNAP and Maine Harvest Bucks. Accessible year-round.

BELFAST FLYING SHOES – Promoting community education, workshops, and connection through events around music and dance.

BELFAST PARKS & RECREATION – Supports health and well-being of its citizens by promoting regular physical activity through many parks and trails and events.

COASTAL MOUNTAINS LAND TRUST – Maintaining over 35 nature preserves and 50+ miles of trails for outdoor recreation. Offering education and events to get outdoors.

DORYWOMAN ROWING – Licensed Maine Guide Nicolle Littrell welcomes all in her dory boat seeking fitness, wellness, connection and adventure on the water through different rowing opportunities.

KIDS UNPLUGGED – Classes and workshops for children and families offering gymnastics, parkour, indoor gym and creative play.

HOMETOWN HERITAGE AWARD: A Chamber Member business that has been around for more years than we can remember and is a bedrock in the community.  They contribute experience, knowledge and wisdom to other businesses.


ALLEN INSURANCE & FINANCIAL –  An employee-owned company with over 70 on staff, serving communities in the Midcoast since 1866. They are the local company that individuals and businesses in the community seek out first for advice, information, and education on all insurance and financial services issues. They work hard every day to earn your trust with their knowledge, expertise and professionalism.

BELFAST CURLING CLUB – The Belfast Curling Club is an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization committed to promoting and teaching the sport and spirit of curling. Founded in 1959, they are the only ice facility in Maine solely dedicated to curling, and 200+ members come from seven of the state’s counties. Through leagues, bonspiels (tournaments), and on-ice learning experiences, they provide the community and curling visitors from afar with a warm welcome and inclusive gathering place to share a winter activity, learn from each other, form friendships, and have fun.

BELFAST MASKERS – Community based performing arts theater company, created in 1987, offering workshops and opportunities for people of all ages and live performances with local talent, bringing professional values to community theater. Purchased church in downtown Belfast in 2018 to expand productions, workshops, and other community offerings and events.

MATHEWS BROTHERS – Founded in 1854 as a window sash and millwork company, Mathews Brothers Company has expanded its product line tremendously, rebounded from a great fire in Belfast, and remains the oldest window manufacturer in America and a large employer in our region.

VIKING LUMBER – Established in Belfast in 1944 as ‘Pine Tree Products,’ the 3rd-generation company survived multiple fires, and has grown from a small, short lumber mill to 9 full-service lumberyard and materials locations, including a draft and design office and two hardscapes locations.

WALDO COMMUNITY ACTION PARTNERS – Waldo Community Action Partners was founded in 1965. They provide leadership and advocacy in the community to collaborate and develop programs and workgroups that address community problems and obstacles that prevent families from thriving. Elimination and alleviation of poverty in the areas of body, mind and spirit is their ultimate goal, and service and advocacy are the primary tools. Programs include Transportation, Early Childhood, Energy, Housing and Community Services.

WATERFALL ARTS – Founded in 2000, Waterfall Arts is a community arts center that meets its mission through classes and workshops, exhibitions, community studios, events, and arts-outreach programs. They offer classes, lectures, residencies and other educational events for all ages as well as onsite studio and gallery space. Efforts continue for the beloved 1935 building to be transformed into a fresh, beautiful, self-sustaining and accessible home for experiencing and producing art.

CITIZEN OF THE YEAR AWARD: This award recognizes a person who has made an outstanding positive impact in Waldo County, either through a single event or on a continuous basis.  Nominees can be from any occupation, including business, education, services, medical, government, a charitable organization or they can just be a resident.


COLBY HORNE – Grew up in Belfast working in the family business, Colburn Shoe Store. After graduation, he spent time away from Belfast but returned to purchase the business from his father. Colby supports many charitable community efforts, including his “Sock Drive Window” during the holidays and serves on the Belfast Water District Board.

LARRY THEYE – A former professor of Business Relations and Communications at the University of Nebraska, Larry fell in love with Belfast and became a resident in 1998. He quickly established roots and his volunteerism and dedication to the community have been nonstop ever since. He has been an integral part of Senior College, Belfast Rotary, served on City Council, Parks and Recreation board, and is currently a key member of the newly formed steering committee tasking themselves with “saving The Hutchinson Center.”

MEGAN PINETTE – President and Curator of the Belfast Historical Society & Museum and member of the Cemetery board, leads history tours downtown, sponsors historic house plaques, organizes history presentations at the library, including monthly displays. Megan also serves as the town historian and continues to be a wealth of knowledge, providing much of the information for Belfast’s 250th Birthday Celebration.

ROBERT ‘ESPO’ ESPOSITO – Unity Pond Pottery co-owner with 50+ years as a potter, nearly 40 years in the retail business in Unity with his wife Wendy, and in a constant state of ‘semi-retirement.’ He celebrates his craft by sharing his knowledge to visitors, visiting schools, helping local scout troops, including offering apprenticeships and 20 years teaching pottery wheel free to all ages. Founding member of Unity Area Rotary Club and 10 years on Planning Board.

RUSSELL WERKMAN – Became CEO of Waldo County YMCA in Sept 2020 to promote the physical, mental, social and spiritual development of Waldo County children and families. The YMCA is one of the few places where people of all ages, backgrounds, and beliefs come together. Russell is also a dedicated Rotarian serving as Chair of the Harbor Fest Committee. He provided organizational skills and leadership to the event.

SYRENA GATEWOOD – With family roots in the area, she currently serves as President of the Coastal Care Alliance and is committed to the stewardship of our local hospital. She has served on various boards including Belfast’s Comprehensive Plan, Belfast Free Library, Waldo Community Action Partners, Penobscot Shores, Big Sisters and Belfast Rotary Club, where she served as Treasurer. She enthusiastically supports Rotary’s mission to end polio and has received the Paul Harris Fellow award numerous times.

VICKI KELLER – A retired RN, she spearheads the Habitat for Humanity of Waldo County work to create the Restore Building and provide Habitat Homes for local families. Active in First Church of Belfast, she is always cooking for charitable events. Vicki serves her community in countless ways.

CHAMBER APPRECTIATION AWARD: Selected by the Chamber/Board of Directors, this award is recognition for someone who has worked with our Chamber to advance what makes Waldo County special and unique.