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Middle Country Public Library

From left to right: Elizabeth Malafi, Sal DiVincenzo, Maryellen Ferretti and Sophia Serlis-McPhillips. Photo from MCPL

TD Bank has provided a generous grant of $5,000 to  the Middle Country Library Foundation in support of a new series focused on business and personal finance and the annual Women’s EXPO, the library’s educational and supportive venue where local women entrepreneurs and artists gain valuable tradeshow experience.

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Photo from MCPL

Amongst the Middle Country Public Library’s many historical artifacts are a few that explain just how far the area has come from its pastoral roots. The picture and story below comes courtesy of a collaborative effort among the librarian staff.

The Centereach Chamber of Commerce in the 1960s was very much involved in bringing business and people to Centereach. 

Photo from MCPL

Its members were active in meeting with state, county and town officials on a variety of issues including rezoning property for businesses, the building of newly proposed garden apartments in Lake Grove and statistics of Suffolk County labor. 

In 1966, the Chamber also was instrumental in appealing to state officials to place a Centereach sign on the Long Island Expressway to promote the community as “The Hub of Suffolk County.” They prepared a brochure that was distributed at that year’s Travel and Trade Exposition which sought to highlight the advantages of doing business in Centereach. 

This 1962 picture shows newly installed officers of the Centereach Chamber of Commerce checking over reports of the previous year’s activities with new president, Nicholas Guzzone seated at right. 

The installation took place at Centereach Bowling Lanes on Horseblock Road. 

Along with promoting the economic growth of the area, Chamber members were very active in the
community. They sponsored a cocktail party and dance which took place annually in the Island Room at
Centereach Lanes. The Oct. 31, 1963, The Long Island Advance published photographs of the winners and
judges of a Halloween Costume Contest sponsored by the Chamber. Bags of candy were distributed to all
children present, and the Saxon Drum and Bugle Corps supplied the entertainment.

The Chamber of Commerce also took part in the annual parade and fair as seen in this 1962 picture of
Chamber officials posing in a convertible parade car.

Pictured left to right are William Regan of Regan Funeral Home, Robert Jones of Tinker National Bank, Mrs. Theresa Hansen and Charles Hansen, both of Centereach Fabrics, and Michael Dundon of Dundon Roofing Company. The Centereach Chamber of Commerce banner shown draped over the windshield of the parade car is a part of the Middle Country Public Library’s Heritage Collection. Plans are underway to have it conserved and displayed in the library’s Miller Business Center. Today, the Greater Middle Country Chamber of Commerce seeks to help businesses prosper in Centereach, Selden, Lake Grove and surrounding areas.

Photo from MCPL

The Miller Business Center at the Middle Country Public Library invited businesses back for in-person networking at the Strictly Business trade show on June 8. 

A heat wave did not stop the 10-plus attendees who connected with 30 local businesses and business organizations.The partnership between the library’s Miller Business Center, the Greater Middle Country Chamber of Commerce and the Brookhaven Chambers of Commerce Coalition was created more than a decade ago to promote local businesses and boost economic development in the region. Proceeds help to support these organizations. Sponsors include Flushing Bank, Synergy Wealth Strategies and Pure Mammography.

Photo from MCPL

Strictly Business. Photo by Miranda Gatewood

Business people know the power of networking; the power of connecting face-to-face with potential clients, partners, and mentors. While the Miller Center at the Middle Country Public Library has been offering virtual networking for the business community since the pandemic began, nothing beats connecting face to face. Which is why they are excited to be hosting Strictly Business: Back to Business outdoors and in person on Tuesday, June 8. 

Strictly Business. Photo by Miranda Gatewood

Sal DiVincenzo of the Miller Business Center acknowledges the struggles of the local small business community. “Networking is the lifeblood of small businesses. The opportunity to personally interact with potential customers is something every salesperson knows is fundamental to building business and relationships. The pandemic literally put barriers between customers and businesses.” 

The Director of the library, Sophia Serlis-McPhillips continued this sentiment. “The mission of the library’s Miller Business Center has always been to promote economic development on Long Island. This mission has been continuing virtually for more than a year. We are happy to bring business owners and professionals together again at the in-person Strictly Business.” 

An initiative of the Middle Country Library Foundation and held in partnership with the Greater Middle Country Chamber of Commerce and the Brookhaven Chambers of Commerce Coalition (BCCC), Strictly Business is a vehicle to promote economic development and encourage chamber of commerce participation in Brookhaven and the surrounding areas.  

“More than ten years ago the BCCC wanted to give back more to the small businesses they represented in the Town of Brookhaven. With this initiative, they collaborated with the Miller Business Center to create Strictly Business. Over time this annual event has grown with more vendors and networking opportunities for our business partners,” says Barbara Ransome, BCCC President. 

Participants missed having this opportunity last year and response to the announcement of an in-person event has been overwhelmingly positive.  Many of the businesses that signed up to exhibit in 2020 were eager to be a part of the event and there is even a waitlist to exhibit. 

Lenore Paprocky, president of the Greater Middle Country Chamber of Commerce noted, “I know a lot of business owners are excited about meeting in person.” She continued that they are looking most forward to “re-connecting and networking with other local businesses and the community.”

Attendees to this free event will have the opportunity to meet and network with 50 exhibitors made up of a wide-array of local businesses and entrepreneurs. While primarily a business-to-business networking opportunity, the community is encouraged to attend and shop local as a way to support the small business community. There will be photo ops throughout the day and a chance to win a raffle prize. 

“The BCCC is grateful to support the Miller Center, that acts as an essential resource for our most important commodity … small businesses,” said Ransome.  

Discover local businesses at the Strictly Business: Back to Business event at the Middle Country Public Library, 101 Eastwood Blvd, Centereach on June 8 (rain date June 15) from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. For further information, call 631-585-9393

Participating exhibitors:
Strictly Business.  Photo by Miranda Gatewood

Venture Sponsor

Flushing Bank

Entrepreneur Sponsor

Synergy Wealth Strategies

Mentor Sponsor

Pure Mammography

Partner Sponsors

Campolo, Middleton & McCormick, LLP

Holiday Inn Express – Stony Brook

SafeGuard Print & Promo

Media Sponsor

Times Beacon Record News Media

 

Anchor Business Group, LLC

Bay Harbour Insurance Agency

BESTech Education

Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Co.

Brookhaven Chamber of Commerce Coalition

Burner Law Group, P.C.

CardHop Inc.

Caring People Home Health Care

CBMS Consulting Services

Central Staff Services

Conference Associates Inc.

Emics Elder Care

Greater Middle Country Chamber of Commerce

Independent Business Women’s Circle

Insight Healing and Wellness

Integrity Expediting

iRUN…

Island Federal

LeTip Port Jefferson

LI Tech Advisors

Lisa Albinowski, Realtor, Coldwell Banker 

Manantial Cleaning Services, Inc.

Miller Business Center

Moxxie

My Mom Knows Best, Inc.

North Isle Wellness Center of Hope

OB Davis Funeral Home

Peconic Landing

People’s Alliance Federal Credit Union 

Pete Marcano – New York Life

ProSysCon Computers

Rocket Juiced Studio

Ronkonkoma Chamber of Commerce

Soundview Pregnancy Services

Stay Clean Long Island

Suffolk County Women’s Business Enterprise Coalition

Synack Technology Services, Inc.

TAB – The Alternative Board

The Bristal Assisted Living

Three Village Chamber of Commerce

Times Beacon Record News Media

 

Edna J. White

The pandemic has affected absolutely everyone and no one more so than small business owners and entrepreneurs. They have never worked harder to stay afloat than in the past year.

Elizabeth Malafi, Coordinator of the Miller Business Center acknowledges their hard work. “Small businesses and entrepreneurs have had such a hard time, especially those who rely heavily on in-person events, shows and markets,” she said. 

Because of the limits on these types of events, the Middle Country Public Library’s annual Women’s EXPO went virtual last year. And, now, for the first time in its history, this traditionally fall event will be held virtually in the spring. 

An initiative of the Middle Country Library Foundation, the Women’s EXPO is a vehicle to promote economic development for Long Island women entrepreneurs.  “Offering a virtual marketplace during this time gives women an opportunity to promote themselves in a new way,” said Malafi. “It also pushes them to create or expand their digital presence. With support from Bank of America and our other sponsors, we are able to offer workshops that help them continue to grow their businesses virtually.” 

Recent workshops focused on expanding a small business’s social media footprint.  

“The mission of the Library’s Miller Business Center has always been to promote economic development on Long Island. The overwhelmingly positive feedback we received from the exhibitors about our first virtual EXPO led us to make the decision to offer the event for the first time in the spring. Now more than ever, we needed to give Long Island’s women entrepreneurs every opportunity to get back on their feet,” said Sophia Serlis-McPhillips, Director of Middle Country Public Library.

Support local businesses and shop for spring events at the Women’s EXPO on Thursday, April 15 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Register at www.womensEXPOli.org. Virtual attendees will be entered to win one of several door prizes. Computers for browsing will be available at the Middle Country Public Library’s Centereach branch at 101 Eastwood Blvd, Centereach on the day of the event. For more information, please call 631-585-9393, ext. 296.

And now, meet some of the participating entrepreneurs!

Edna J. White

Edna J. White

An author and life purpose coach, Edna J. White was looking for a way to revive her business during the pandemic. When she saw the EXPO was going virtual last fall, she thought it would be a good way to promote her books and coaching business. 

“At first it was a little confusing because it was my first encounter with this innovative idea but after getting much-needed direction from the EXPO team, I was off and running!” she said. “The online EXPO was a great experience with a lot of engagement.” 

White is hoping for even more success this spring. 

Mary Ann Butera

Mary Ann Butera

Mary Ann Butera, of Crafty Butterfly, was intrigued by the idea of a virtual EXPO but didn’t think it was really for her … until she visited the online event last December and saw how great it looked and how easy the platform was to use. 

“This event could well become a new trend as an addition to in-person fairs. Middle Country Library offers such excellent events and programs, this new approach is just so logical and creative — it fits perfectly into the growing acceptance and use of social media … and gives me another outlet for my hand knit creations.” 

Butera will be selling felted hats, shawls, wraps, unique accessories and more during the online event.

Sherry Davis

Sherry Davis, of Davis Fiber Arts, had just decided to start selling her artwork as the pandemic hit. She quickly detoured into mask making, taking advantage of both her treasure trove of reclaimed fabrics and her fiber art skills.

 Now that things are slowly returning to some semblance of normal, Davis says she is “back on track and ready to offer my handwoven upcycled rugs to the public.” After being referred to the virtual EXPO by another woman entrepreneur, Davis decided it was “just the right time for me to debut my work.”

Tiana Le

Tiana Le, owner of Le Fusion, an artisan spring roll company, has participated in the EXPO for many years and always loved the comradery of the day but was skeptical about the event going virtual last fall. 

“When I heard they were doing the EXPO as a virtual market I wasn’t sure how it was going to work but it was AMAZING!!!” said Le, adding that she had customers asking questions throughout the day, like they would in person.

“They brought e-commerce to a different level. The platform was live and interactive. It was a successful and amazing experience!!” Le believes she will be just as successful at the April 15 event.

 

Amongst the Middle Country Public Library’s many historical artifacts are a few that explain just how far the area has come from its pastoral roots. The picture and story below a courtesy of a collaborative effort among the librarian staff. 

Baseball is considered America’s pastime, and no more so than in our own backyards. 

A search of local newspapers shows that baseball was played throughout Long Island at least as early as the 1930s. 

Most town fire departments, the Police Athletic League and many local businesses formed teams for fun and friendly competition. The news from the time was filled with the results of these games. 

A June 1, 1934 article in the Suffolk County News noted that the team representing Centereach Fire Department played a home game against Sayville on Decoration Day (now known as Memorial Day), losing a double-header. 

Major support for these games was frequently provided by fundraisers like the dance held on the evening of April 21, 1951 by Centereach’s Tordik-Diederich-Duffield VFW Post 4927. Over 200 people attended to support the backstop fund.

Beyond organized games, popup games would arise. A chance encounter between the team from Centereach and a group of U.S. soldiers who were stationed here for the day was held on the grounds behind Carl’s Tavern. 

The July 26, 1939 edition of The Mid-Island Mail reported that the soldiers defeated Centereach, 6-2.

Carl’s Tavern was located on Middle Country Road in Centereach. In 1939 it was purchased and renamed the Mid Island Tavern, known to locals as the MIT well into the 1908s. It was owned and operated by the Boyle family for over four decades.

In 1940, the Centereach team got off to a great start by defeating Coram 13-1. 

The team consisted of catcher, Lou Corey; first baseman, Bernard Williams; second baseman, Walt Presner; third baseman, Tony Bush; shortstop, Lou Coucinello; leftfielder, Larry Martin; centerfielder, Lou Stohr; rightfielder, Andy Schmidt and Arthur Dhuy. 

The team’s manager was Centereach resident, Arthur Murray, who served as Brookhaven Town Highway Superintendent and the purchasing agent for WPA construction materials. 

The date of this picture and the team name are unknown, but it most likely depicts the Centereach Fire Department Team. 

Do you recognize any of the team members? 

If you can identify any of these players, please reach out to the local history team at Middle Country Public Library at [email protected] 

We would love to be able to fill in the blanks!

This article was updated on April 7 to correct misinformation

Kellly Wong of Lai Life Products

If we had to pick one word for 2020 it might be pivot. We’ve all been pivoting our lives to accommodate changes due to a global pandemic. Perhaps no one has pivoted more than small business owners and entrepreneurs, especially local micro entrepreneurs who rely on sales from weekend markets throughout the holiday season.

The annual Women’s EXPO, an initiative of the Middle Country Library Foundation and Miller Business Center, has also pivoted and will be held virtually this year on Dec. 10.

“The mission of the Library’s Miller Business Center has always been to promote economic development on Long Island and we felt that more than ever, we needed to support Long Island’s women entrepreneurs,” said Sophia Serlis-McPhillips, Director of the library. “With support from Bank of America and our other sponsors, we are able to offer workshops that would help provide the necessary tools to succeed in this virtual marketplace,” she said. The programs, focusing on social media, selling online, marketing, and photography, helped entrepreneurs with the online environment.

“Bank of America is committed to supporting economic mobility for those within the communities we serve,” said Bob Isaksen, Long Island market president for Bank of America. “Women entrepreneurs play an important role in driving economic growth here on Long Island, and this year more than ever, it is important to support and advance their businesses. We’re grateful to have a strong, long standing partnership with the Middle Country Library Foundation for this event and encourage everyone who is able to virtually shop the EXPO this holiday season.”

Here are just a few of the women you will “meet” at this year’s virtual event:

Kelly Wong: Lai Life Products

Kellly Wong of Lai Life Products

After seeing how hard it was for some people to kneel on their thin yoga mats, Kelly Wong created a high quality knee pad to alleviate pressure on knees, wrists, or tailbone. She never expected that her passion project, Lai Life, would be so successful. Feedback from those customers showed Wong that the implications for her product reached far beyond the yoga studio. Now she markets the pad with its many other uses including for gardening and game day.

With in-person events being canceled, Kelly turned to her ecommerce site.  Targeted online ads and a move towards exercising at home has helped and Kelly has even sold out a few times. The move to more online sales has forced her to learn a lot more but overall it has helped with the business. Interestingly, she’s been developing more relationships with her customers in this new virtual world. This year will be Kelly’s first as an exhibitor at the EXPO and she is “very excited to join this elite group of small businesses.”

Lori Rosenberg: Red Gems

Lori Rosenberg of Red Gems

Primarily a pop-up shop, Lori Rosenberg’s Red Gems, was not prepared for all the event cancellations. “I have always told my children to play to their strengths, one of my strengths is building a strong rapport and trust with my customers,” said Lori.

This rapport has brought her many repeat customers and word-of-mouth referrals who reach out to purchase the jewelry, rain ponchos, and other accessories she sells. But not seeing new and loyal customers at events has been a challenge. While Lori knows she has to build her online shopping presence, she is also the first to admit that tech does not come easily to her.

Like most of us, she’s had to learn a lot of new skills in 2020. Lori is looking forward to learning what she needs to create a virtual booth for the EXPO. “I signed up for the virtual EXPO because I was honored to have been an exhibitor for the last two years and from start to finish it was a true pleasure as well as profitable. The staff could not have been more professional, supportive or accommodating and it was inspiring to be in the company of other Long Island entrepreneurs.”

Tamar Perry: Creative Treasures

Tamar Perry of Creative Treasures

Tamar Perry has been creating since her first art class at age 12. Her hobby turned into a side business in 2011, when she began making paper jewelry and selling at local shows.

This year has been a challenge — the pandemic caused her employer to close its New York office — but Tamar is an optimist and saw an opportunity to invest in her own company, Creative Treasures which focuses on vintage, romantic, steampunk and old country style paper crafting and mixed media art.

While her main focus is creating scrapbooking albums and mixed media art, she has partnered with Plasterkraze in Selden to offer make-and-take events and online classes.

As a first time exhibitor, Tamar is looking forward to using the virtual EXPO to interact with the local community and introduce them to her art. “The virtual EXPO gives me the ability to invite you to my studio, share my techniques and show you hands on how I make these crafts.”

Dana Porciello: The Soothery

Dana Porciello of The Soothery

Like many other small businesses without a storefront, Dana Porciello, of The Soothery, has been seeking ways to get in front of customers. In these times especially, finding markets for her handmade soaps, lotion bars, lip balms, and face masks has been a big challenge, but one Dana knew she wanted to take on. She’s been working on her website – thesoothery.com – to get her business in front of a wider audience. Dana has also joined any safe, in-person markets. “I met amazing people and customers who wanted to support local makers which was inspiring and made me love what I do even more.” She has learned a lot about her business and sees this year overall as a tremendous learning experience.

Dana’s excited about the opportunities a virtual EXPO brings. “I love the Women’s EXPO because every woman here started with an idea and made it a reality. I find this so powerful and love to be around that energy. The library and its community does an amazing job supporting the EXPO and women in business and I love being a part of it.”

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Support local businesses and finish your holiday shopping at the 20th annual (and first VIRTUAL) Women’s EXPO on Thursday, December 10, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at www.womensEXPOli.org. Virtual attendees will be entered to win one of many door prizes. Computers for browsing will be available at the Middle Country Public Library, 101 Eastwood Blvd, Centereach on the day of the event. For more information, please call 631-585-9393, ext. 296.

 

 

 

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Amongst the Middle Country Public Library’s many historical artifacts are a few that explain just how far the area has come from its pastoral routes.

The pictures and story below comes courtesy of a collaborative effort among the librarian staff.

If you’ve driven down today’s Bicycle Path in Selden, you’ll be quite surprised to see how it used to look. Originally constructed in the 1890s for bicycle enthusiasts, the 14-mile path ran across Long Island from Patchogue to Port Jefferson and was a popular destination for tourists. One of the greatest contributors to the path, Selden resident Albert R. Norton, donated the right-of-way for it in front of his extensive property between Selden and Port Jefferson.

Norton ran the Wheelmen’s Rest, located midway along the route, serving refreshments to the hungry cyclists. Its visitor’s log recorded over 6,000 names, including bicyclists from all parts of the U.S. as well as England, France, Denmark and other countries. Perhaps of more interest are the entries of many Centereach, Selden and Lake Grove neighbors and ancestors whose signatures recall their lives in the communities. The original register of visitors to the Wheelmen’s Rest can be viewed at the Town of Brookhaven Historian’s office.

Bicycle Path was a busy spot during the summertime. The 1899 League of American Wheelmen’s Midsummer Festival program shows the elaborate events held from Thursday to Saturday. The Cyclists’ Carnival began in Patchogue and featured sailing, swimming, fishing and a clambake on the Great South Bay. Friday featured a ride to Babylon, where Charley Murphey cycled a pacing mile alongside a locomotive. On Saturday, members rode the “Cross Island Cycle Path” through Selden to Port Jefferson, where a parade, cycle races and Fire Department contests capped off the
carnival’s events.

Middle Country Public Library in Centereach hosted the 19th annual Women’s EXPO on Oct. 3. Thousands came out to kick off their holiday shopping at the one-day event presented by the Middle Country Library Foundation and the library’s Miller Business Center.

More than 80 women entrepreneurs were given the opportunity to introduce their products, which included jewelry, children’s books, soaps, candles, chocolate, fall crafts, clothing and much more. Fifth Season restaurant offered lunch in the EXPO Café. 

This year’s lead sponsor was Bank of America. The event was also sponsored by Campolo, Middleton & McCormick, LLP of Ronkonkoma; People’s Alliance Federal Credit Union; BankUnited; TD Bank; Jefferson’s Ferry; and the Greater Middle Country Chamber of Commerce. Vendors interested in participating in next year’s event are encouraged to visit www.womensExpoli.org. See more photos of the event at www.tbrnewsmedia.com.

Photos by Heidi Sutton

Holly Hunt

Gloria Vanderbilt said, “I always believed that one woman’s success can only help another woman’s success.”

We see this in action every year at the annual Women’s EXPO at the Middle Country Public Library in Centereach. This year’s event will be held on Thursday, Oct. 3 and will feature 82 exhibitors.

Not just a craft show, the Women’s EXPO brings together some of Long Island’s great women entrepreneurs and business professionals to network, collaborate … and SHOP!

While only one day, the work of the EXPO continues all year at the Miller Business Center. Bank of America has been the EXPO’s Signature Sponsor since its inception 19 years ago.

“We’re proud to be back this year as the presenting sponsor of the Women’s EXPO, which provides women entrepreneurs the power to grow their business, attract new customers and showcase their talent,” said Bob Isaksen, Bank of America Long Island market president. “Collaborating with the library in support of these local women-owned small businesses fosters a healthy economy and creates opportunity for all.”

“Seeing the women talking with each other and connecting” is Miller Business Center coordinator Elizabeth Malafi’s favorite part of the event. With items such as soaps, candles, food, jewelry, pottery and home decor, there is something for everyone.

“All are welcome to soak in the excitement of the day,” says library director Sophia Serlis-McPhillips. “The energy at the library on EXPO day is wonderful for everyone who visits.”

Below are just a few of the women entrepreneurs you will meet at this year’s event:

Alegna Soap

Angela Carillo

Angela Carillo really loves soap. Her love for soaps started in childhood when she would look forward to vacations, so she could visit gift shops to see what kinds of soap they carried. Carillo has been making soap for 20 years and once she put her kids and husband through college she turned her hobby into a successful business. Alegna Soap was born 10 years go with three focuses — retail, private label and workshops/conferences. Carillo says that having a diverse focus allows the business to always be steady.

The lasting connections and collaborations of the EXPO have been invaluable to Carillo. “It’s a totally different event than any other I do,” she says. Over the many years she has been participating, Carillo has communicated and collaborated with several of the other women entrepreneurs, including other soap vendors. In addition to the EXPO, Carillo takes advantage of the offerings of the Miller Business Center. Most recently attending Instagram for Business where she learned about using the story feature and promptly began using it on her business Instagram account.

Simply Nicki Supreme Nut Butters

Nicki Gohorel

Nicki Gohorel moved to Istanbul with her husband and was surprised that, while there were plenty of delicious nuts, there were no nut butters. In 2013, she started making her own and gave some as gifts. They were so delicious, friends encouraged her to sell them and Simply Nicki was born.

Gohorel creates nut butters with a focus on high-quality ingredients. Her most popular flavor is Peanut Butter Supreme, which includes amino acids to help the body process the protein in the peanuts more efficiently. What makes Simply Nicki stand out from other nut butters is the variety of flavors and customization capabilities. A traveler, Gohorel has “a mental Rolodex of flavors” that she loves to combine in what some may think are strange ways. Another popular flavor, Almond Supreme, contains almonds, goji berries, nutmeg and sea salt. Not your average nut butter!

But she is not just passionate about flavors and nut butters. Simply Nicki nut butters are packaged with as little paper or plastic as possible at the Made Conscious Kitchen in Cutchogue. This eco-friendly, cooperative kitchen allows small, local entrepreneurs to work together and as Gohorel put it,”lift each other up.”

Holly Hunt Photography

Holly Hunt

Holly Hunt grew up surrounded by photos taken by her grandfather, a professional who photographed the likes of Kennedy and the Beatles. It’s no surprise that his work inspired her to pick up a camera and take up photography. Hunt didn’t intend for her explorations of abandoned places to go past the walls of her own home, but after gifting photos to friends and family, she received encouragement to share them. And it’s no wonder, as her haunting works of art create a beautiful story of forgotten places.

“I was a patron of the EXPO for many years but I never expected to be an exhibitor. I never thought I was good enough,” she said. Thankfully, that didn’t stop her from applying in 2018. Hunt sold most of the inventory she brought to that first EXPO. More importantly were the connections she made with other women. She met so many other entrepreneurs and business professionals. The EXPO even helped organically grow her social media platforms, a hard thing to do these days. She’s looking forward to showing her new work at this year’s event.

From the Page

Callie Meaney

Callie Meaney’s mom loves candles. Growing up, they were always in her house. They became a hobby for Meaney and then a business. With all the candles available on the market she knew hers would need a unique twist. Since she loves to read, Meaney gravitated toward book-themed candles and From the Page was born. With a permanent collection of about 20, each season she introduces new scents. Top sellers right now are Magic Pumpkin Patch and Sleepy Hollow. Each natural soy candle comes in a reusable jar and each label has a picture that has been hand-drawn by Meaney herself.

She is looking forward to her first EXPO so she can meet other women entrepreneurs and business professionals. Before starting in 2013, Meaney had no business experience and hopes to hear other’s stories. As she’s hoping to expand to wholesale as well as a retail location, the knowledge she gains at the event will be invaluable.

Precise Gluten Free Foods

Mayra Robayo

We’ve all heard the proverb, “Necessity is the mother of invention,” but how many of us actually put it to practice? Mayra Robayo does. After her daughter was diagnosed with an allergy to gluten, Robayo began making everything from scratch. But her son wanted good pancakes and the gluten-free ones she was making weren’t cutting it. After a lot of experimentation with different mixes, she created a pancake her son liked. Knowing how hard it is for families dealing with food allergies, she started Precise Gluten Free Foods in 2018 to share the mix with others. Robayo is off and running. In spring 2019, she added an oatmeal cookie mix to the line. Her mixes are gluten, nut, allergy and chemical free and can be found at local stores.

Even though this is Robayo’s first time exhibiting at the EXPO, she has been utilizing the resources available at the Miller Business Center for the past several months. Recently, she attended Grow Your Business with Google and learned that even without a retail location she could create a Google business page. Robayo says this doubled traffic to her website.

Kick off your holiday shopping at the 19th annual Women’s EXPO at the Middle Country Public Library, 101 Eastwood Blvd, Centereach on Thursday, Oct. 3, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free and there is ample parking. Lunch from the Fifth Season Restaurant will be available for purchase in the EXPO Café. For further information, call the library at 631-585-9393, ext. 296, or visit www.womensEXPOli.org.

All photos by Elizabeth Malafi