On Tuesday, March 21, the Taste of Nashoba will be held from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the Lawrence Academy gymnasium. Celebrating its 16th year of providing an enjoyable evening for both vendors and attendees, the Taste of Nashoba has become a "must attend" Nashoba Valley event.

Once again, SpringHill Suites by Marriott, Devens Common Center, Hilton Garden Inn and Great American Grill will be the presenting sponsors. According to Jon Mehlmann, Devens Area Manager, they continue to sponsor this event because "the Taste of Nashoba is a great community event. This event is a great way to highlight our facilities to the greater region. Our employees love attending this event to network and talk about the hotels and our function spaces available.

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Mike Campbell of Platinum Productions will be setting up his photo booth at the event to capture fun moments to share. Dan's Balloons will be at the event with his imaginative balloon creations.

Representatives from the area's finest restaurants, caterers, gourmet markets, wineries, brew houses and local purveyors of fine liquors will once again offer delicious samples of food and beverages. Last year there were 43 vendors -- our largest year yet. The list includes many vendors who have participated in the past and are returning to once again compete in the famous "Best in Nashoba Valley -- Peoples Choice" award competition. For a full list please check out our website at www.nvcoc.com.


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Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 the night of the event and may be purchased through the Chamber office, on-line, or from any of our partners. Mobile app

The Nashoba Valley Chamber has launched a regional app aimed at driving business growth and fueling business to business relationships. The app is intended to help chamber member businesses engage with their customers, whether they are targeting an end-use consumer or another business.

The app connects users with places to stay, shop and dine, things to do, local job postings, community event calendar, in addition to a listing of local businesses and special offers.

Two of the current offers include 15 percent off for first time customers at Unique Boutique in Townsend and free guitar lesson at Rob's Guitar School.

The mobile app is free and now downloadable at the Google Play Store or Apple's App Store.

Public Policy update

On January 10, Mark Melnik, Director of Economic and Public Policy Research at the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute spoke to us about the economic contributions of Devens to the Commonwealth. Devens long served as New England Headquarters for the US Army and, when Fort Devens closed in 1996, the loss of industry was distressing to the region. The property was conveyed to MassDevelopment and designed to stimulate economic investment and redevelopment.

Devens hosts a mixture of private, non-profit, and governmental entities in the Advanced Manufacturing, Professional Scientific and Technical Services, Wholesale Trade, and Transportation and Warehousing arenas. In addition to the $1.4 billion dollars in combined sales by Devens establishments, an estimated $1 billion in spending, $7.4 million in corporate profits tax and $23 million in personal income tax, Devens provides just fewer than 5,000 direct jobs and supports an additional 6,000 in-state jobs.

In addition to the economic contributions of Devens, Melnik spoke about the youth labor market in Massachusetts. Melnik discussed labor force participation and the influences shaping the youth labor market.

The Donahue Institute operates to consult and engage in matters of economic, demographic, and public policy analysis for clients in government, quasi-public, and non-profit arenas.

Melissa Fetterhoff is the President and CEO of the Nashoba Valley Chamber of Commerce, a 600-member organization based in Shirley.

Learn more online at www.nvcoc.com.