Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Strong on Strong

“Lately Strong seems to be known as the town that has lost three major businesses in the last three years and we’d like to change that perspective,” said Eileen Miazga who owns EJ’s Market in Strong. So Miazga led an effort to turn things around in this NW ME town of 1,259. She and a small group of local citizens set up the Strong Area Business and Civic Alliance.

Strong’s economy has been dominated by lumber and the milling business. When those three mills closed their doors, many thought that would be the end of Strong. But, living up to its name, Miazga and others are working on highlighting the existing businesses in the town and developing new ones. They did an inventory of businesses in the town and as Miazga said, “I was amazed at the number that are here. I thought we maybe had 25.” But, the survey by the Alliance showed that they had 115 businesses, 8 civic organizations and 3 working farms. Many of those businesses started up after the mills shut their doors, demonstrating the entrepreneurial spirit of small towns.

Strong, ME is a great example of a town that isn’t going to shrivel up and die. Its people are strong minded and entrepreneurial. There are a lot of Strongs in the USA that are going to figure out how to prosper in this new century.

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