The Oyster Bay Chamber of Commerce is "surfing" the Internet for members. President Karen DeVine-Minicozzi said she sent the chamber newsletter by e-mail to area businesses they usually don't reach. Using a reverse directory she contacted about 120 small local businesses as well as members. She believed it was effective by the increase in the number of people attending the meeting on Thursday, Sept. 5, at the Homestead Restaurant.
The newsletter will be on their website: www.oysterbaychamber.org.
Added to that outreach, she said, "We have Bob Martin out and about looking for new members." Traffic at the chamber office on East Main Street has also been brisk, she said.
Fresh from their successful Art Walk and Annual Golf Outing, the Oyster Bay Chamber of Commerce is looking toward their next project: "Shop Downtown." President Karen DeVine-Minicozzi showed members a Theodore Roosevelt 100th Anniversary bear that is the raffle prize for the new contest. It is a plush stuffed bear and comes with a book on how the president saved a bear which was the idea for the toy. "We will supply your business with raffle tickets, and anyone making a purchase over $25 in your store will be entitled to one. We will be raffling off several Teddy bears each month. We feel this will give the chamber some positive PR, it will also give us an insight into who is shopping in our stores, and what areas we are pulling customers from.
"We at the chamber feel this will be a great advantage to you, as we all know what we spend in advertising dollars each year. Now, we will know what areas we need to target for advertising," she said.
The program is also an incentive for people to join the chamber since it will only be open to current paid chamber members. There is no fee involved: it is a service to the chamber members. The program will run for the next six months, and will be advertised through press releases to identify those businesses that are participating. At the end of each month a chamber representative will stop by the stores and pick up the raffle tickets, she said.
On July 20, the Oyster Bay Chamber of Commerce held its 3rd Annual Art Walk. Eileen O'Leary of Fiddleheads Restaurant co-chaired this event with Daria Lamb of the Book Mark and Page Two Bakery. Daria said the event is gaining momentum. They received $4,150 in sponsorships, $175 in fees, spent $2,500 in advertising and raised $2,800 for the chamber coffers. "Last year we about broke even," said Ms. Lamb.
She said everyone helped by hanging banners this year. Artists displayed their work; there were cooking demonstrations from Look Who's Cooking; free hot dogs at Appliance World; musicians played near Townsend Square and there were more activities for children this year. Since the purpose of the event was to bring people into town, and about 600 to 800 visitors came to the hamlet, the event was a success.
On July 29, at the beautiful Woodcrest Country Club the chamber held its annual golf outing. Vice President John Speece and board member Scott Davis did an outstanding job at running our outing this year, said Ms. DeVine. The foursomes hit the course after brunch, and although the weather was "a little warm" everyone had a great day. Following golf a dinner was held honoring Past President Tom Reardon, who has dedicated much time and talent to the Oyster Bay Chamber and the community at large. He was last year's Rotary Chair of the Oyster Festival.
Tom Kuehhas, director of the Oyster Bay Historical Society was the guest speaker at the Sept. 5 meeting. Mr. Kuehhas announced the plans for their fall 2002 Exhibition of their 20th Century Heritage Series. It is titled "From Doing to Viewing: Recreation in Oyster Bay."
The following is the speech by Tom Kuehhas, director of the Oyster Bay Historical Society:
Let's play a game called "What If...?" What if there was no such thing as TV? How would the people of today occupy themselves? The Oyster Bay Historical Society's Fall exhibition "Recreation During the 20th Century in Oyster Bay: From Doing to Viewing," will document the variety of recreational experiences available in Oyster Bay to generations of its residents during the course of the century.
Over the last few years, the Society has focused on different aspects of 20th century life in Oyster Bay: from the estates of Louis C. Tiffany, to the Italian-American community, to this upcoming look at recreation. In preparation for this year's exhibition and journal (similar to last year's on the Italian-Americans), we have interviewed a number of longtime residents of Oyster Bay for their perspective on how recreation and social life has changed in Oyster Bay since the advent of television. According to the people I've spoken to, that change has been drastic!
A short list of activities enjoyed by Oyster Bay residents in the pre-TV era would include sailing, swimming, bowling, roller-skating, movies, skiing, ice-skating, bobsledding, tennis, horseback riding, cycling, pitching horseshoes, bocce, and dancing. All of which could be done right here in the hamlet!
Of course, Oyster Bay is surrounded by great Gold Coast estates, which have their own recreational history. Hunting, polo, powerboating, and croquet were some of the activities popular on the estates.
In addition to those, other topics which will be covered in the exhibit and journal include aviation country clubs, what Depression-era children did for fun, and the various sports leagues which sprang up in Oyster Bay and which were covered in the local papers.
In choosing the title of "From Doing to Viewing" it was possible to chronicle the spectacular changes in science and technology during this period which changed people's perceptions of recreational activities. Man went from "horse and buggy days" to the lunar landing in less than a century! This evolution will be documented in the society's exhibition; from bobsledding, yacht-racing, and bowling to Super Bowl parties, and most recently, plans for a cybercafe on East Main Street!
In support of the exhibition, the Society has planned several events:
We kickoff with a Cocktail and Lawn Games Party on Sunday, Oct. 6. Attendees will be expected to join in the fun of period lawn games, such as croquet, badminton, golf and bocce (weather permitting) and then enjoy a selection of fine wines and hors d'oeuvres ... or vice versa.
The Society will host a "Hunt for History in Downtown Oyster Bay" on Sunday, October 27th, at 3 p.m. The task will be to solve a series of historical riddles that will lead participants to various historic sites in Oyster Bay. Once the site is identified, participants must go there to collect a token. The team which collects the most tokens and returns to the Earle-Wightman House by 4:30 will be declared the winners and receive prizes! Cocktails and buffet supper will follow.
The final event, a Roundtable Discussion followed by our exhibit opening, will take place on Sunday, Nov. 17, at 2 p.m. A panel composed of local historians, authors, and persons familiar with recreational activities popular in Oyster Bay during the 20th century, will give short presentations on various types of recreation, ranging from activities on the great estates and private clubs to the wider variety of activities available to all town residents.
Following these short presentations, audience participation and reminiscing is encouraged!
The roundtable discussion will be followed by a reception and the opening of the exhibition at the Earle-Wightman House. Personal reminiscences and scrapbooks have been crucial to the Society's efforts these past few years. We plan on conducting dozens of additional taped interviews with local residents. If you, or someone you know of, might be interested in sharing their recollections, photos, and related items, or would like to take out an ad in the journal, please contact Tom Kuehhas at the Historical Society, 922-5032!
The chamber will be selling souvenirs at the annual Oyster Festival on Oct. 19 and 20. Ms. DeVine said a few weeks ago she asked members of the Rotary Club to pick the winning design. It is simple, with a circle and the words Oyster Festival 2002. "Simplest is probably the best. There is nothing not to like," she said. Volunteers are needed to help staff the chamber booth to sell T-shirts and mugs. Both items were ordered from Meridian Industries on the south shore, at the suggestion of Les Marbles of Pine Island Etch.
"Have some fun with your colleagues; sign up for a two-hour shift," said the president. Please contact Toni Junjulas at the chamber office at 922-6464 if you are interested.
Committees are needed for the following: Fall Plantings, Seasonal Splendor- holiday program. Please call Toni if you are interested at 922-6464. They also need volunteers for the nominating committee for the new year. Robbie Hallock said he would serve in the committee. They still need a chairperson.
The chamber voted to give Daria Lamb funds to purchase mums for the planters in town. She said asking for volunteers from the high school worked well last year, since they need to give 25 hours of service to graduate. She will contact them again to help plant the flowers. She complimented Best Nails for weeding and watering their planter over the summer. It was a tough season for plants because of the drought. Some planters sprouted weeds but on the other hand, several other merchants added plants to theirs, she said.
Volunteers from Mill Neck Services have been watering the planters. Robbie Hallock said they are doing a fantastic job. At 10 a.m. he's seen them walking through the hamlet working. "They are proud of what they are doing. The group is really challenged and the work is important to them. It is a win-win situation for everybody. I tear up when I see it," he said.
Karen DeVine will meet with the Civic Association and the Main Street Association on Thursday, Sept. 12 at 7:30 p.m., at the Atlantic Steamer Firehouse. They will plan a joint effort for the holidays coming up. Charleen Niznik of the Oyster Bay Civic Association is chairing the committee which consists of: Vinnie Aqualino and Bob Bagen from the OBCA; Katie Schwab and Ed Molenhoff of the MSA and the chamber's Karen DeVine and Bob Martin.
Karen said she hopes there will be a window decorating contest to inspire people to go all out in competition to make the town look festive. "Let's start now to build a tree lighting ceremony," she said. She suggested local restaurants could host a family-dinner-night-out campaign for the event. The stores could stay open late. Breakfast with Santa should be included in the plans, she said.
Ms. DeVine added that the chamber needs to replace their crèche this year.
Les Marbles said he can "be" Santa this year. He will be at Roosevelt Field until 3 p.m. so he can appear in Oyster Bay too.
The chamber is also looking forward to its new calendar that will be mailed to residents of the area, with ads from local merchants. It will include a letter from the chamber president and historic and current photos of Oyster Bay. Tony Verrelli of Verrelli's Market has spearheaded the project.
Bob Martin reported that Island Properties will include publicity for several new local businesses on their website. "They want to work closely with us," he said.
The chamber is holding an unusual Business After Hours on Wednesday, Sept. 18. They are joining with the Main Street Association inviting people to hear speaker Bob Gibbs discuss marketing and advertising and how to improve retail business in town. It may be held at DBSC, but please call the chamber at 922-6464 to confirm the location.
Nominations are now being accepted for The Small Business Person of the Year award. The person must be an active chamber member-owner or manager of a local business, and have made a significant contribution to our village in the last year. They request that you submit your nomination to the office by Sept. 15. Please include the name of the person and the business and the reason for nominating the person.
Ms. DeVine presented a bouquet of flowers to Dr. James Dick who attended the meeting with his wife Ann. Several members, who are clients of Dr. Dick had heartwarming comments to make.
Robbie Hallock remembered: "About 27 or 28 years ago my youngest daughter was sick and had a rising fever. Between 7 and 9 p.m. her fever hit 104.5º and she was soaking wet. We called Dr. Dick and he said come right over. When we did, he was in a tuxedo. Ann stepped in to help him. They were having a dinner party and everyone was formally attired. In spite of that he stopped everything and took care of my daughter," he said.
Karen DeVine said five and a half years ago her Sarah was six months old. "It was Thanksgiving eve and I was at work. We were taking our first trip to Puerto Rico the next day. I got home and Joe said, she's awfully warm. 'She's on fire,' I said. We called Dr. Dick and he said 'come over.' After looking at her he said 'she'll be fine, take her on the trip,' and we did."
Daria Lamb too had a story. They took her son to Glen Cove Hospital because he wasn't well. The hospital called Dr. Dick and he came down at 3 a.m. to see his patient and his parents. "They made him come down and he did," she said.
Dr. Dick said it wasn't the only time he left the house in his pajamas, often at two in the morning. "It's almost impossible with the insurance now. I'm one of those doctors left over from the old days," he said.
He has not retired, as reported, but is now working as a consultant in malpractice. He reviews cases to see if doctors should fight or settle out of court, he said.