Written by Jackie Pierangelo Friday, 25 September 2009 07:52
Since its inception in 1930, the chamber has taken an active and visible role in promoting Port Washington and its business community, which continually gives back to the community by supporting the various organizations in town.
With over 300 members, the chamber is actively involved in the issues, events and challenges of the 21st century. They have two websites for Port that are both user-friendly and comprehensive. You can visit these exciting and inviting websites at www.pwguide.com and www.pwcoc.org for information on shopping, restaurants, local attractions, special events, weather, links to local businesses and organizations and so much more.
According to co-presidents of the chamber Warren Schein and Richard Strautman improving and enhancing Port’s waterfront areas have been a priority for the chamber and one in which they continue to have a major impact. One of the chamber’s largest efforts to date has been the creation of HarborFest held in late spring. The co-presidents say that the goal of HarborFest is to focus attention on our waterfront, its beauty, history and current environmental concerns.
To support and promote the businesses and community, the chamber helped create the Greater Port Washington Business Improvement District (BID), which assists the business areas in obtaining grants and overall planning, among other things.
The chamber’s HarborSafe program, which started at HarborFest, includes educational projects to teach schoolchildren how they can help to conserve and protect our water.
On the fun side, HarborFest brings families to lower Main Street and the town dock for a day at our magnificient bay. HarborFest offers cruises on Manhasset Bay, a craft fair, music, an enviro-expo, a fun park with children’s games and activities, a talent show and free family entertainment, free stage coach rides, pirates, a model boat regatta for children, local vendors, a fabulous food court and more.
For 30 years, chamber volunteers have given away 3,000 flags to people who came to the Memorial Day Parade. Every year at holiday time, they decorate the lampposts with garland, red bows and lights. Combined with electric snowflakes installed by the Greater Port Washington Business Improvement District, the decorations make Port’s streets among the most festive on Long Island.
The chamber also runs a successful annual holiday food and toy drive.
Following the holidays a real beat-the-blahs event is the chamber’s well-attended SOUPer Bowl, soup contest, in which local restaurants cook up their favorite soups, which can be sampled by attendees and then judged by a panel of community members.
Our hardworking chamber has also established a permanent, year-round nautical museum on the town dock. The “Pride of Cow Bay” is actually the pilothouse of an old Moran tug boat that has been renovated by local volunteers and businesses. Exhibits can be viewed through portholes and Port Hole Pete is always at the helm to delight the children.
The current exhibit is “The Villages of Manhasset Bay: Manorhaven.”
Another major undertaking of the chamber is the biannual publication and distribution of Try Port First, a complete business and service guide to Port Washington. This free, 100-page publication is mailed to all homes in Port Washington and is distributed throughout the year by the chamber, real estate agencies, the Port Washington Public Library and others.
The chamber meets at 8 a.m. on the second Tuesday of the month at Ayhan’s Shish Kebab Restaurant and often has guest speakers discussing interesting and timely topics. The public is welcome to attend the meetings and all business people, members of other organizations and residents.
Simply stated, the Port Washington Chamber of Commerce matches the vibrancy of the town it represents, and is an important component in enhancing our quality of life here. We all wish them continued success.