The 87th Annual Chamber Installation Celebration held by the Oyster Bay-East Norwich Chamber of Commerce at Oyster Bay Brewing Company on Feb. 15 began with pomp and circumstance, when members of the Quentin Roosevelt Post #4 American Legion provided a color guard. Afterward, they led everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance. Reggie Butt, the past commander, said it was an honor to be participating. Even President Theodore Roosevelt was there, portrayed by Jim Foote. Roosevelt is important to the chamber, so much so that one of his famous sayings, ”Everybody deserves a square deal” is part of its mission statement.
But prior to the sharing of committee reports, the installation itself and the accolades for certain business leaders, the evening offered an opportunity to network. It was also a chance to catch up with friends and make new ones. And Spinnakers Restaurant provided a bountiful spread of food.
“The key to success is one of the topics that keeps coming up for the chamber,” said its president, Alex Gallego. “Making the community you work in to be a pleasant place to do business is the answer.”
Elected leaders, including new Oyster Bay Supervisor Joseph Saladino, County Legislator Donald MacKenzie and State Assemblyman Michael Montasano also attended, and assured business owners that they were committed to maintaining the vitality of Oyster Bay and East Norwich commerce.
“It is a pleasure to be home with you in this beautiful community full of people who make a difference,” said Saladino. “I understand the needs of business, and know it’s not easy to run a business. You do it because it is your dream and passion.”
Gallego said that members are committed to helping each other. “We ask ourselves, ‘How can I help this person? Who can I introduce them to?’” he said, “because it all comes back around. The strength of our chamber is our members.”
John Yenchko, the pastor of North Shore Community Church, said he was proud to be a member of the chamber. “The first thing I did when I came here to open my church was to join the chamber,” said Yenchko, who later shared what he believes is a foreshadowing of the importance of forming a chamber in the Bible.
Gallego said that the chamber is working to improve its presence on social media, and added that there are many committees members can join to move the organization forward. The Restaurant Committee was formed recently to strategize ways to get the word out that Oyster Bay has many new eateries to experience.
“Alex has skills to lead this organization and make the Oyster Bay-East Norwich Chamber the best, not only in Oyster Bay, but in the state,” Saladino said of Gallego. “And you can come to me to make sure it’s a lot easier to do business in town hall. If you’re having a hard time, say, ‘I need to speak to the supervisor’ and we’ll turn it around.”