So here is the whole story....
The North Brookhaven Chamber began in 2009 as a product of the merger between the Port Jefferson Station-Terryville Chamber and the CDM Chamber (so only 9 years old, not 17). The North Brookhaven Chamber is one of the few ALL Volunteer chambers around. In 2015 we added the Shoreham - Wading River Chamber, as they contacted us due to their lack of membership and wanting to keep their local community / local business event Duck Pond Day alive after over 20 Years. Of course, we welcomed them with open arms! From East to West the North Brookhave Chamber is approxiamtely 17 miles long and encompassing Port Jefferson Station, Terryville, Mt Sinai, Miller Place, Sound Beach, Rocky Point, Shoreham and Wading River. About a 45 minute commute from end to end. We cover 5 School districts, which we generously donated a $1,000 scholarship annually to a graduating senior within each district. With a total of 10 Board of Directors (who are local community business owners or Managers) who donate their time to manage this large geographical organization, it just grew beyond effective management. We found it extremely difficult to give the proper focus to each and every community/town within our area.
The decision to "RE-ORGANIZE" the chamber into individual town chambers was not a quick or a light decision. Many meetings went into this! The fact was, that after (2) 3 year terms as President of the North Brookhaven Chamber of Commerce there was no one that would step up to be the President. There was no Board member or Chamber member in good standing that would be the President of this large organization. The best thing to do for each community and the local businesses within those communities, to give them the proper attention that they deserve, was to re-organize. In the past, we have implemented an "Ambassador" program; where there would be one person per town to be the liaison. Again, needed more volunteer participation, that we could not get, to make the program successful.
People will volunteer when it is beneficial to them and their business. Which, often times, will be within their direct surrounding area town. Many are just too busy trying to keep their local business alive! Chain stores, big box stores, online shopping and outsourcing are what is killing local businesses. However, the small local businesses are the ones supporting the communities and donating to the fundrasiers in the schools and other local organizations, with minimal loyalty from the consumers.
With that being said - at our last Chamber meeting in October, at the Train car, it was announced, that I (Jennifer Dzvonar) will be the President of the Port Jefferson Staion - Terryville Chamber of Commerce (which will continue to maintain the train car and the flag) with Sheila Wieber of Bethpage Federal Credit Union and Diane Jensen of Teachers Federal Credit Union which will start January 1st 2018. Donna Boeckel of Awsomotive Car Care with Carol Genua of Coach Realtors will be forming a Business Organization for Mt Sinai, Marie Stewart of Brooklyn Bagels will be pushing forward with her, already in existance, Rocky Point Local Business owners group and welcoming the Chamber Members from Rocky Point and Sound Beach, and Millie Thomas of Landmark Realty in Wading River will be reforming the Shoreham Wading River Chamber once again. We are still looking for a definitive representative for Miller Place. We encourage all those interested, and yourself, to attend our last and final North Brookhaven chamber meeting on Monday November 20th 6pm - 8pm at the Chamber Train car (Rt 112 and Rt 347 in Port Jefferson Station) Without volunteers and local business owners stepping up, Chambers of Commerce will not exist!
I would NEVER just up and leave without the local businesses being thought of and having plans in place for them in ALL the towns I currently represent. When you are a volunteer, you volunteer for many organizations and truly take pride and care for, in what you do. I am involved in the Comsewogue School district PTA and NSA, I am a Girl Scout leader, the Training Officer for my son's Young Marine Program, a baseball coach and a Business owner. Our current Board of Directors are also members of the Rotary, Lions Club, other networking groups and charitable organizations. We care about our communities and local businesses!
On Saturday December 2nd from 6pm - 8pm the Chamber will be hosting its Annual Tree Lighting with Santa. All welcome and encouraged to attend this FREE event! We will also be lighting the Menorah on the first night of Hanukkah at sundown with a ceremony - all welcome and encouraged to attend this free event!
Thank you for taking the time to read my story,
President - North Brookhaven Chamber of Commerce