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port jeff chamber of commerce

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Photo from Barbara Ransome

Port Jefferson may be cold, but it’s already getting ready for spring. 

“The Port Jeff chamber, with the support of a grant for beautification from PSEG for $2,000, was able to purchase 5,000 Dutch Master daffodil bulbs,” said Barbara Ransome, director of operations of Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce.

The grant she mentioned comes from PSEG Long Island as part of the company’s Main Street Revitalization Program that has been helping small businesses during these tough pandemic times. 

Funds for the Plant Port Yellow program came from a new concept that was introduced by PSEGLI earlier this year. 

Photo from Barbara Ransome

John Keating, manager of economic development with PSEGLI, previously told TBR that the company added a new category to their revitalization program to help beautify local villages and towns. They were awarded up to $5,000 for items like outdoor lighting, seating and heating, but for 2021 the company added an extra $2,000 to spruce things up even more. 

“We added the beautification piece of it,” Keating said. “So, anything else that they might have wanted to do, like landscaping or planters and things like that, they could do a separate application and be eligible for another $2,000 — a total of $7,000.”

Port Jefferson Village was one of the several areas whose chamber took advantage of the opportunity. 

Ransome added that just last weekend, volunteers gathered together to plant those 5,000 bulbs, specifically thanking Rich Degnan and his staff from Central Outdoor Services who helped plant 750 of the bulbs Saturday.

According to the Long Island Association, roughly 90% of the Long Island economy comes from small businesses, so the pandemic caused stress for the smaller shops. Keating said that between 2020-21, PSEGLI has provided about 36 chamber of commerce grants — some $80,000 in total. 

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Stu Vincent was named by the Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce as Member of the Year. Photo from Stu Vincent

Someone who’s usually behind the scenes within the community finally has his chance to be spotlighted. 

Stuart Vincent, who is the director of public affairs and public relations at Mather Hospital, was recently recognized by the Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce as the chamber’s Member of the Year. 

Vincent, who has been at Mather for 10 years, worked in public affairs at Hofstra University and Newsday, where he started as a reporter. 

As part of his responsibilities of working at the hospital, he was asked to sit on the chamber’s board about eight years ago. While sitting as vice president, he began helping out with different events the chamber, village and BID hosted, including chairing the Health & Wellness Fest over the last four years. 

Photo from Stu Vincent

“Just like the other members of the chamber, I help out at different events,” he said. “So, I was very surprised when Barbara told me I was being recognized.”

Barbara Ransome, director of operations at the chamber, said the award was well-deserved.

“It is always nice to honor one of our own,” she said. “Stu’s loyalty to our chamber has been self-evident, as actions always speak louder than words.”

Vincent said the award goes to someone who has been with the chamber every year, who contributes to the chamber and promotes the Village of Port Jefferson. 

And one of his favorite events is the Health & Wellness Fest, which was unfortunately canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

A former resident of Sound Beach, Vincent now resides in Brentwood. Although the commute to the North Shore may be a little long, he said it’s worth it.

“The Port Jefferson Chamber is by far the most active chamber around here,” he said. “Every year we come up with something new … We do a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff, and basically help the promote the business districts.”

“The chamber is lucky to have such a dedicated director who has answered the call of selfless volunteerism,” Ransome added. “We pay tribute and gratitude for his steadfast support.”