Written by Shelley Feigelson and Elan Wurtzel Friday, 28 January 2011 00:00
The Plainview-Old Bethpage Chamber of Commerce kicked off its annual membership drive on Jan. 19 at the Holiday Inn with a well-attended breakfast meeting that featured Stephanie Sokenis of Creative Contacting speaking about e-mail marketing.
The chamber is a community-wide organization that consists of local businesses, civic associations and community residents whose goal it is to promote local business, develop relationships amongst members and promote the Plainview-Old Bethpage community as a place to “Live, Work & Play.”
Chamber president Gary Epstein announced at the meeting that membership had grown by almost 25 percent over the past year. Epstein encouraged both new members and veteran members to become active in the chamber as a means to developing and growing a business, as well as giving back to the community.
The meeting was well-attended by new and prospective members. Elan Wurtzel, first vice-president of the chamber, described the current benefits of membership which included regular networking events, marketing opportunities on the chamber’s website, public speaking opportunities, community programs, internship program with the high school and corporate discount programs. He also announced new initiatives for the chamber, including member-to-member discount programs, after-business hours networking events, workshops, business fairs and community advocacy. Wurtzel noted that Beechwood Homes is presently working on developing a property on Old Country Road and that the chamber hopes to be an active and strong voice for the community concerning the project.
One of the meetings’ highlights was when the attendees described their respective businesses that demonstrated a wide variety of interests: lawyers, accountants, real estate agents, social workers, landscapers, librarians, developers, movers, civic associations, sign manufacturers, bankers, computer consultants, opticians, telephone consultants, design consultants, assisted living facilities, printers, financial planners and private investigators.
Rosemarie Davidson of Caring Transitions described her experience with the chamber in making new connections with lawyers, social workers and movers, all of which helped her in developing her business of assisting senior citizens in downsizing their living arrangements.
New member Doug Hilfman of Regent Investigations Corp., a private investigations firm that offers background security checks for companies, was one of several people who joined the chamber at the meeting and explained, “I joined to meet new people and service local businesses. I want to enhance existing relationships and build new ones. By doing so, I can improve my business and provide a valuable service to other companies in the community.”
With social media/marketing outlets, like Facebook and Twitter, being all the rage, Sokenis of Creative Contacting made a powerful presentation about e-mail marketing. With “snail mail” becoming a relic in today’s technologically advanced world, Sokenis described how e-mail marketing through Creative Contacting can help businesses build stronger relationships with customers, generate new and/or repeat business and most importantly, maintain a connection with customers and clients in order to develop trust, confidence and loyalty. Sokenis also announced that both the Hicksville and Plainview-Old Bethpage Chambers of Commerce were jointly sponsoring a free workshop on Creative Contacting on Feb. 17 at the Plainview Holiday Inn.
The meeting ended with the raffling off of two wonderful prizes a gift certificate to Boulder Creek, which was won by Gretchen Browne, director of the Plainview-Old Bethpage library. Browne was pleased with her luck, especially as she said, “I never win anything!” The premier prize was a four-day, three-night stay at an oceanfront condominium in Florida donated by chamber president Gary Epstein. That prize was won by Kathy Sheck of Beechwood Homes.
Sheck was happy about her good fortune, but later told Epstein that she couldn’t use the prize and said that, “There are so many hardworking business owners that could use the vacation.” Sheck graciously suggested that the prize be raffled again at a future chamber event.
The chamber’s next meeting is on Feb. 16 at Atria Plainview and will feature three members who will make presentations about their companies and the work that they do.
The chamber is connecting to its members and the community and offers a wide array of benefits for its members and opportunities for members to give back to the Plainview-Old Bethpage Community. The chamber invites all community residents and businesses to join and participate. Joining will be a boon to new members and enable everyone to work together to improve the quality of life in the community.
Visit the chamber’s website at www.pobcoc.com to learn more information about this important organization.