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Christopher Roberts L-R Kevin Thompson, Varga, Ricco, Elaine Brodsky, Roberts, Mann, Holstein, Lentol, Hall, Zelvin, Ryan and Schaefer Christopher Roberts

Greenpoint Chamber of Commerce Announces Growth, Refines Mission

The Greenpoint Chamber of Commerce took a major step forward last week, unveiling its Board, mission statement and 2013 agenda. The organization, which formed in 1930 and relaunched in October 2012, also announced that it was nearing 40 members, eclipsing its goal for its first three months of operations.

On Thursday, January 24th, an audience of around 60 neighborhood business owners, community leaders and elected officials met at North 11th Street’s CitiStorage, for the Chamber’s monthly mixer, where the announcements were made. The event itself was reflective of the broad mission of the organization: to provide its members with networking, education and assistance. President Jeff Mann (awkwardly writing in the third person here) clarified those three goals, stressing that the ultimate responsibility of the Chamber is to help neighborhood businesses improve their bottom lines.

“Our mission really came to life at this month’s mixer,” Mann said. “We matched up North Brooklyn’s producers with its consumers, giving them a better opportunity to do business. We also provided our members with practical advice for growing their businesses.”

That educational component was provided by entrepreneur and author Norm Brodsky, whose advice on networking and building effective business relationships included challenging the attendees to meet every person in the room, which they took to heart at a spirited session.

Several assistance initiatives, including plans to bring solar powered, trash compacting Big Bellies to the neighborhood, add new signage around the community and clean up graffiti, will all be part of the Chamber’s mission to help make North Brooklyn a better place to do business. The graffiti clean-up will be spearheaded by Williamsburg High School for Architecture & Design Assistant Principal Giovanni D’Amato and will employ eco-friendly cleansers exclusively.

Mann also introduced the Greenpoint Chamber’s first Board and Officers, consisting of Gina Argento (Broadway Stages), Martha Holstein (Strategic Urban Solutions), Dave Lombino (Wythe Hotel / Two Trees Development), Carolina Roberts, Charley Ryan (Brooklyn Bowl), Tom Schaefer (Chase), Kevin Thompson (ExxonMobil) and Diana Zelvin (PS 84 Greenhouse Project). The Board will be chaired by Elaine Brodsky of CitiStorage. Officers include Kara Dusenbury (Corcoran), Eric Hall (Red Star Bar), John Ricco (Grandma Rose’s) and Ken Varga (NY Grant Company).

“This team is unbelievable,” said Elaine Brodsky. “I can’t get over the excitement of the board and officers. The enthusiasm of the members is equally inspiring. Everyone is so excited to be involved and they’re already seeing positive results.” The new Chairperson emphasized that her leadership will be defined by the members. “It’s their organization, and we need to do whatever we can to make it work for them.”

“Just in the past couple of months the momentum behind the Greenpoint Chamber of Commerce has really taken off,” said Assemblyman Joe Lentol, who has led the revitalization of the Chamber from its beginning. “The first Board of Directors and Officers is made up of an incredibly dedicated group of business owners and residents of the community that are committed to strengthening the landscape of business in Greenpoint. I have seen firsthand how the business community is genuinely excited to have a merchants association that can provide them with services and education, while ultimately putting more money in their pockets.”

The next Greenpoint Chamber of Commerce mixer will take place at Awakening NY (607 Manhattan Avenue) at 6:30PM on March 7th. To RSVP, join the Chamber. For more information, e-mail info@greenpointchamber.com.

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