Truth be told, I’ve had writer’s block since June when I last wrote my President’s Message. Images of the beach, sun, travel, fun and relaxation took over this summer. My law practice was busy as ever and Chamber duties kept me hopping. But I couldn’t write a Summer Message, even though the Chamber website kept promising one!
But all good things do come to an end, including this glorious summer. With that thought, my writer’s block has been busted and I can write a new message.
So what’s happening with the Chamber? This past year we’ve grown by leaps and bounds–we’re over 170 members. We’ve had exciting events and new programs. Our new website is great, chock full of information and it works to enhance our Chamber and our businesses with our own customized pages. The website has over 1000 hits per month so there’s good activity highlighting our talents, services and products. Click Here to read a great review of last year’s highlights.
Where are we going this coming year? Forward is the answer!
Part of the future will include a modest increase in Chamber membership dues: from $100.00 to $150.00. Our dues have been at the $100 level for close to a decade and have been substantially lower than many other Long Island Chambers. The Board decided that the modest dues increase would bring us in line with other local chambers, allow us to offer great programs and continue our steady growth path.
You may ask, what am getting for my dues? Let me tell you! We’ve been able to employ Barbara Mars, our Chamber assistant, who has elevated the operations of the Chamber. Barbara professionally maintains our website, communicates with members and makes our organization more active. We’ll continue to bring interesting speakers and programs to our General Meetings and hold Networking Events. We’re going to advocate for our members and their business interests. Have you seen the Plainview-Old Bethpage Herald the past few months? Our members are being profiled regularly in each issue. Our Facebook page is growing, reaching existing members and new audiences.
Membership in the Chamber offers instant business credibility and enhances your stature in the community. It is well documented that consumers at all levels prefer to do business with Chamber members. The Chamber offers great value and the small increase in dues will give each of us more bang for the buck.
September General Membership Meeting: We have an important and dynamic speaker for our Kick-Off Meeting on September 16th. Chris Wright, one of the Directors of NIFA–the financial oversight board for Nassau County–will speak about his work, NIFA and where the County is going. Nassau County has one of the highest per capita incomes in the United States yet our local governments seem to be in chronic financial disarray and crisis. Is Nassau County on the Edge of Disaster or a Miracle in the Making? Come on down to the Kick-Off Meeting on September 16th and hear Chris Wright’s presentation. We will also have Spotlight Speakers Rhonda Schwartz of AXA Advisors and Robert Kothe of Factxback Websites and Videos.
The Fair! Our annual Craft and Gift Fair is right around the corner: Sunday, October 4th. It’s going to be sunny and beautiful and a fantastic showcase for our Community and our Members. Over 40 Members are Sponsors and Vendors! What a great way to promote your business in POB. This year’s Fair promises to be even more successful than last year’s. (Bring the umbrellas just in case!) What’s really great about this year’s Fair is that many new members have joined the Fair Committee and are working to make it a great day!
Think about being a Fair sponsor—sponsorships at the Bronze level and up include next year’s membership fees. Besides the great values provided by these sponsorships, you’ll get next year’s membership at a discount. It’s not too late to be a sponsor. Just Click here to sign up! Interested in being a Vendor–Click here. Want to Advertise in the Fair Program–it’s easy as 1-2-3–Click here
Country Pointe: Numerous changes are in the air for the POB community. Beechwood’s Country Pointe development may begin soon. Regardless of how we may feel about the development, it can bring new economic activity and business opportunities to us. We have met with Beechwood’s officers to explore how Chamber members can participate in these opportunities. Beechwood is receptive to working with us to promote Chamber members and businesses in connection with the development. Stay tuned-–more information will follow.
South Oyster Bay Road Access: As some of you may have heard (I first learned about it through Facebook’s “Plainview Mom’s”), the NYS Dept. of Transportation has granted Federal Express approval to use South Oyster Bay Road as an access road from the Long Island Expressway to their new facility in Bethpage. Given the traffic that will be created by the Beechwood project, there is a concern that South Oyster Bay Road might become a mini LIE. The Chamber has communicated our concerns to Councilwoman Rebecca Alesia, Nassau County Legislator Judy Jacobs and Assemblyman Charles Lavine. Not surprisingly, they were all extremely receptive to our concerns and have offered to help in an attempt to undo the State approval and allow community input in the decision making. Stay tuned for more developments. Check out this link to the news in the Long Island Business News. LIBN
Political Support: Last year the Chamber made a conscious effort to meet with our local government leaders. We met with Councilwoman Alesia, Legislator Jacobs, Assemblyman Lavine, Congressman Steve Israel, as well as other leaders, all of whom have been very supportive of the Chamber. We’ll continue to meet with political leaders in order to maintain good working relationships. When issues, problems or opportunities arise, we know we’ll have a receptive audience for our concerns.
Don’t Be Shy! We’ll continue to have new programs including our Focus Groups, leadership programs, entertainment, networking events and promotion of our members in the POB community as well as the greater Long Island community. We want to encourage more participation by Chamber members and get ongoing input into the Chamber’s future. We want to develop new leaders for the Chamber–some of us are getting old! (Not me!) There are several opportunities to get involved–-at whatever level you’re comfortable with. Come to meetings and events! Let people know who you are and what you do! Let me or any Board Member know that you’re interested in getting more involved. We want to use your talents. Don’t be shy and don’t be a stranger!
Community Outreach: Last year the Chamber “adopted” the Compass Project and helped increase its exposure to our members and the community. Many of us are now working with Compass to offer internships and jobs to young adults with special needs. This year we’re adopting The Morgan Center, a preschool program in Hicksville that offers free services for children with cancer who can’t be in a regular school setting due to their vulnerable immune systems. The Morgan Center is a safe and fun place for preschool children to learn and be with other kids–instead of being isolated and withdrawn. The Morgan Center is an island of light, hope, fun, learning and love. We are looking forward to learning more about The Morgan Center and its founders, Nancy and Rod Zuch. Our “adoption” will get the word out and bring them increased recognition and support for its programs.
The writer’s block is really busted. I have to stop now. It’s late and I have to watch the Mets crush their opposition! (Sorry Yankees fans).
Visit the Chamber website and watch for the news. Read the Chamber e-mails–they are filled with interesting information. Come to meetings and events! Get involved. Let’s engage and do great things.
Happy Labor Day and enjoy those last gorgeous rays of summer!
To those who celebrate, Best Wishes to you and your families for a very Happy & Healthy New Year!
I’m looking forward to seeing you all at the September 16th Kick-Off meeting at 7:45 am at the Marriott Residence Inn! Let’s get rocking and rolling and have a great year!
Warmest of Regards,