Terence Kenniff of COCO Confections & Coffee is the new president for Gold Coast Business Assocation


Terence Kenniff has been named the new president of the Gold Coast Business Association, succeeding Ed Lieberman in the role. Kenniff is the owner of COCO Confections & Coffee, an artisanal café and chocolatier in Sea Cliff, and has been a member of the Business Association since he opened his store in 2019.

Kenniff moved to Glen Head seven years ago with his family, after having lived in Brooklyn for most of his life. He began his career in the catering industry over 25 years ago, working first as part of a Disney World Fellowship at the Grand Floridian Hotel.

This led to a lifelong love of all things delicious, and Kenniff continued to work in catering at the Brooklyn restaurant El Caribe, where he worked with thousands of customers over the years celebrate everything from birthdays to communions and weddings.

Kenniff said that it was his own wedding which made him interested in getting into the sweets industry, and encouraged him to open his own confectionary in Sea Cliff. When he and his then-fiancee, Vlada, were picking wedding favors, he had his “eureka” moment.

“We went to a local chocolatier, he handcrafted some amazing truffles for us, and as we were going through the process, I jokingly said to him ‘I’m going to be your partner one day’,” Kenniff reminisced. “Finally catering and I had had enough of each other, and I had to move on, so I said to myself, ‘Open a chocolate shop’.”

Since COCO’s opening in 2019, which took place on his wedding anniversary, Kenniff has been an active participant in the business of supporting businesses in the local community. Shortly after opening his doors, he was approached by members of the Business Association. Kenniff said he was intrigued by the prospect, and quickly became one of their most active members, according to former president Lieberman.

The Business Association, previously known as the Glen Head/Glenwood Business Association, has been an important part of the North Shore’s economic life for over 40 years. Kenniff said that when he heard about the organization, he was immediately supportive of their efforts.

“Obviously I thought joining was a good idea,” Kenniff said. “A strong business association makes for better business and makes for a stronger community.”

The focus of the Business Association is to connect local small businesses with each other and local consumers, supporting better business practices among their members by providing education and resources for business development. They also work closely with other community organizations to promote economic growth and events throughout the communities which the Business Association operates in.

In less than a year after joining Kenniff was made a member of the association’s board, “where he made many positive contributions to the organization,” according to Lieberman. Lieberman was chosen president in 2021, and although he had met Kenniff at the ribbon cutting for COCO during his tenure as mayor of Sea Cliff, Lieberman said he really got to know Kenniff after the latter was made an officer of the Business Association.

“He really took on the role of a retail business who was contributing mightily to the association and its daily workings,” Lieberman said. “In his short tenure as president he has developed new websites and new contacts as well as promoting the business map that will be distributed in the fall.”

When Lieberman decided to step down as president at the end of 2022, he said that there was no doubt amongst the board who should replace him. Lieberman will continue to serve as a member of the organization’s Board of Directors, but adds that under Kenniff’s leadership, “the Business Association is in great hands.”