RONA debuts at Maine Home Show

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AUGUSTA, Maine — The networking group for Maine resident-owned communities hosted an information booth with ROC USA at the Maine Manufactured Home Show this weekend.

Resident Owned Neighborhood Association (RONA) of Maine set up at the show to promote the idea of resident ownership in Maine.

“This is the first the year RONA has officially attended, and we’re just here to educate people about all the benefits of resident ownership,” said Dawn Willett, a technical assistance provider with Cooperative Development Institute and a resident of Brunswick Bay Mobile Home Cooperative. “I’m really excited because resident ownership is great and I want to share it with everybody.”

The show featured homes from several retailers, as well as vendors who serve all facets of the manufactured home industry. The RONA booth drew people from numerous aspects of the industry and homeowners from across Maine — as far away as Fort Kent on the Canadian border.

Jo-Anna Jackson, secretary of Medomak Mobile Home Cooperative as well as RONA, said she was surprised that some of the people she spoke with didn’t know that resident ownership was even possible.

“But once we explained it, they said what a great idea it was and how glad they were that someone was out there doing it,” Jackson said. “I’m really motivated to tell people who we are and to get the word out there.”

Jackson said she planned to spend the weekend networking with the hopes of securing discounts for and attracting new homeowners to the six ROCs in Maine.

Several other RONA volunteers and ROC USA staff were planning to man the RONA booth all weekend. The show runs through Sunday at 4.

Willett said telling people about resident ownership was fulfilling, but she didn’t expect to have as strong a reaction as she did.

“I actually got goosebumps when I heard a woman talking about the pride that community members have in ROCs”, she said. “To hear someone say it who isn’t even living it means so much.”