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Three Village Chamber of Commerce

By Heidi Sutton

The Three Village Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon cutting and grand opening celebration for Pedego Electric Bikes Stony Brook in Setauket on May 24. The event was attended by New York State Assemblyman Steve Englebright, Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn, Town of Brookhaven Councilman Jonathan Kornreich and Pedego Director of Business Development Cynthia Newcombe along with members of the chamber and community. 

Owned by Trisha and Martin Larsen, the shop is located at 690 Route 25A at the corner of Bennetts Road in Setauket and is the first Pedego Electric Bike store on Long Island. 

“Our community loves to get outdoors — we have so many parks and cultural locations and art institutions … and there’s a lot of history here and a lot of beauty and there is no better way to experience all that than on a bicycle. We are so excited for you — we are thrilled as a business community and a community to have you here and we are looking forward to all you are able to do,” said Leg. Hahn.

“With everyone’s help, we are going to make Pedego Stony Brook successful and hopefully bring a lot of tourism and awareness to this area,” said Trisha Larsen. “We have self-guided tours, group rides, rentals and site sales. Please stop in.”

“At Pedego, we’re committed to inspiring connection and adventure within each of our communities,” said Cynthia Newcomb, Director of Business Development at Pedego. “We’re a people-oriented, fun-focused company, which is why [this store] is the perfect addition to our Pedego family. We look forward to not only providing Pedego Stony Brook with the best e-bikes in the world, but also cultivating a community that brings out the best in each other.”

Pedego Stony Brook joins the over 160 locally-owned Pedego stores throughout the United States. Hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sundays, closed Mondays. For more information, call 631-201-4283 or visit pedegoelectricbikes.com/east-setauket.

Photos by Heidi Sutton

 

The Three Village Chamber of Commerce welcomed Koeppel Dental Group (A Dental 365 Company), Druthers Coffee and Jersey Mike’s Subs to the community with a celebratory ribbon cutting on April 5. All three businesses are located in Stony Brook Square at 1113 North Country Road in Stony Brook. 

The event was attended by New York State Assemblyman Steve Englebright, Kim Bryant from Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn’s office,  Town of Brookhaven Councilman Jonathan Kornreich and members of the chamber. 

“The Three Village Chamber of Commerce is working to beat back the economic impact of COVID-19 by helping new businesses open and existing businesses safely reopen. As someone who knows just how difficult it is to start a small business, I applaud the entrepreneurs behind Druthers Coffee, Koeppel Dental Group, and Jersey Mike’s Subs for opening their doors here in Three Village,” said Councilman Kornreich in a statement. 

“Main Street America’s Small Business Day took place on April 13, and I’m optimistic that we will see more growth and opportunity across the First Council District,” he added.

State Assemblyman Steve Englebright, Gloria Rocchio, Kara Hahn, Michael Ardolino, Charlie Lefkowitz and Town of Brookhaven Councilwoman Valerie Cartright at the Three Village Chamber of Commerce awards dinner. Photo from Three Village Chamber of Commerce

At its recent awards dinner, the Three Village Chamber of Commerce honored a familiar face in the community and the real estate world.

Charlie Lefkowitz, chamber president, and Ardolino with his Member of the Year award. Photo from Three Village Chamber of Commerce

The chamber’s Member of the Year award was given to Michael Ardolino, founder and owner of Team Ardolino/Realty Connect USA. The award is given to members who “go above and beyond to support the chamber and its mission,” according to a press release from the TVCC.

“The Three Village Chamber of Commerce and the community are truly appreciative for everything that Michael continues to do to make Stony Brook, Setauket and Old Field a great place to live and work,” the chamber said in the release.

Ardolino, who lives in Setauket with his wife, said he was surprised and honored to receive the award.

“Being in the chamber as long as I have, enjoying everything I’ve been doing with the chamber for many years, to get that award was really special,” he said.

Ardolino said he remembers when he decided to join the chamber more than 20 years ago and was interviewed by Harold Pryor. The organization’s first president asked him why he should be accepted.

“I remember sitting down and saying, ‘Well, because I’m going to help you make it better than you have already started it to be,’” he said.

Through the years, Ardolino has served as the chamber’s president, president emeritus and is currently assisting secretary. He is the chair of the chamber Special Events Committee, a member of its Program and Membership Committee and the cofounder and current chair of the 3V Chamber Family BBQ. The event has been held for 20 years but this year was canceled due to the pandemic.

He is also the founder of the Three Village Electric Holiday Parade and sits on the boards of Gallery North and The Jazz Loft. For the last couple of years, he has been the co-chair of Three Village Industry Advisory Board, which works with the school district to provide job opportunities for Ward Melville High School students. Recently, he has been serving on the Town of Brookhaven Small Business Recovery Task Force.

“Being in the chamber as long as I have, enjoying everything I’ve been doing with the chamber for many years, to get that award was really special.”

— Michael Ardolino

During the pandemic, Ardolino organized a sign campaign with other local chamber businesses which raised funds to feed workers on the frontlines. The real estate agent said he appreciates his time with the chamber.

“The chamber is one of the strongest foundations of the Three Village area,” he said. “It’s a very special place we live, and the Three Village chamber here all these years helped it grow and be what it is today.”

On the same night that Ardolino won the Member of the Year award, Gloria Rocchio, president of The Ward Melville Heritage Organization, was presented with The Roy Dragotta Award, named after a past president.

“Rocchio exemplified the characteristics that Roy embodied,” the chamber press release read. “These include an outstanding commitment to and participation in the chamber, working tirelessly to recruit business and doing whatever she could support or advocate for local businesses.”

Rocchio said, like Ardolino, she was surprised to hear she was an award winner. She was proud to work with the chamber board members who she said are passionate when it comes to helping the business community.

Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket) won The Harold Pryor Award for her “commitment to the Three Village community through faithful service,” according to the press release.

“I was incredibly humbled and honored to be presented with The Harold Pryor Award by the Three Village Chamber of Commerce,” Hahn said in an email. “Growing up in this community, and now raising my own family here, it is a true privilege to be able to support and serve its residents.”

Hahn also congratulated Ardolino and Rocchio for their awards and thanked the chamber “for all of the work that they have been doing to support our local businesses.”

On June 13, members of the Three Village Chamber of Commerce let the community know that the area is open for business. Photo by Julianne Mosher

By Julianne Mosher

Members from the Three Village Chamber of Commerce want the community to know that they are open and ready to serve.

Last week, with Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) giving the green light for shops on Long Island to open their doors during Phase 2, the chamber wants to assure everyone that these small businesses are taking the extra precautions in the wake of the pandemic.

“They are providing gloves to customers and employees, taking temperatures, wearing masks and making sure masks are enforced,” said Jane Taylor, executive director of the chamber. “They’re being careful about social distancing and encouraging sidewalk sales or outdoor dining where available.”

Overseeing small businesses in Setauket, Stony Brook, East Setauket and Old Field, Taylor said that supporting local establishments during these trying times is beneficial to everyone.

“These businesses are our neighbors and friends,” she said. “They’re the ones who are the backbone of our communities.”

Charlie Lefkowitz, president of the chamber, said that shopping small businesses benefits the economic growth of Long Island.

“It supports our local economy and keeps our great community vibrant,” he said.

Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the New York State Department of Health have a new set of guidelines that do not allow more than a designated number of customers in at a time, as well as no indoor dining as of yet, Lefkowitz is encouraging people to partake in what the Three Village area has to offer.

“If it’s done in a safe, social distanced manner by both the owner and the public, I support it strongly,” he said.

His favorite spot? The Three Village Inn’s outdoor seating section.

“It was outstanding,” he said. “We’re supporting our neighbors and the service was unparalleled.”

Ed Romaine. Photo by Kyle Barr

Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) is optimistic about the financial future of the town despite the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has presented. He said he is already thinking of ideas to help small businesses in the future.

Romaine called into a phone conference with members of the Three Village Chamber of Commerce April 6.

He told participants the town board is meeting virtually every day, and he is also connecting with Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) and other town supervisors on a regular basis.

On the agenda for town board April 6 was whether to keep town beaches open, he said, as health experts were saying the current week could be the worst so far for new coronavirus cases. Later that day the decision was made to close Brookhaven beaches.

Romaine said a few Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department deputies have been working with the town to deliver meals to more than 200 seniors in Brookhaven.

Charlie Lefkowitz, chamber president, asked if the town foresees any financial problems due to the pandemic.

Romaine said while landfill revenues are going down and a shortfall is anticipated, he said the town will not need to raise taxes.

“The town will continue to function,” he said.  “We have reserves. We will make it through this. And we do not anticipate … it’s a problem but it’s not going to be a big problem. It’s resolvable, and we’re not going to take it out on the taxpayers.”

The town board voted at a special meeting April 7 to create a post-COVID-19 task force for economic recovery that will aim to revitalize the downtown areas and help small businesses affected by the pandemic, many of which are receiving no income at all during this time.

“Many of these small businesses are mom and pop businesses,” the supervisor said.

Lisa Mulligan, the town director of economic development has been appointed chairwoman. Three individuals will be appointed by the supervisor, and each councilperson will be able to appoint two more. As of press time, no other persons have yet to be nominated to the task force.

On Monday, Lefkowitz said the chamber is willing to be part of a task force, and Romaine said he will take recommendations from the chamber seriously.

“Believe me we will work shoulder to shoulder with you to bring back our local businesses and do everything that we can do legally to help you guys out,” he said. “I know what this means. This is something that no one could have predicted in their lifetime.”

Romaine said business owners and residents can find updates on COVID-19 related issues on the town’s website, www.brookhavenny.gov.

The Three Village Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon-cutting and grand-opening celebration for Gypsy Hair Lounge on Feb. 27. Established in 2015, the salon recently moved from its Port Jefferson Station location on Nesconset Highway to the Three Village Shopping Center at 1389 Route 25A in East Setauket. The salon specializes in creative coloring, highlights, blowouts, extensions and event styling. 

Chamber members Michael Ardolino, Jane Taylor and Charlie Lefkowitz presented a Certificate of Congratulations to owner Nicole Digilio and welcomed her and her staff to the community. 

Hours of operation are noon to 8 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays. For more information, call 631-374-6397.

From left, chamber members Jane Taylor, Carmine Inserra and John Tsunis; owners Kevin Ma and Tim Cheung; Councilwoman Valerie Cartright; and chamber members Jamie Ladone and Rob Taylor. Photo from TV Chamber of Commerce

Grand opening 

Members of the Three Village Chamber of Commerce and Councilwoman Valerie Cartright welcomed owners Tim Cheung and Kevin Ma of Sei Ramen to the community during a grand-opening celebration on Feb. 12. Located in the Wild by Nature Plaza at 244 Route 25A in Setauket, the Japanese restaurant is known for its traditional Ramen authentic recipes. For more information, call 631-675-0808 or visit www.seiramen.com.

 

 

David Prestia, third from right, at the 2019 Three Village Community Trust annual gala. Photo from David Prestia

By Leah Chiappino

For David Prestia, the owner of Bagel Express in Setauket, being part of the Three Village area is more than being a business owner, he also gets involved in the community.

He consistently takes time out of his schedule to give back to the area in the form of donations, volunteerism and community engagement. He’s the machine behind the hot chocolate at the Three Village Electric Holiday Parade and the cook at the annual Three Village Chamber of Commerce Barbecue at West Meadow Beach.

Having grown up with a family who owned an Italian deli, Prestia says he was the only one of four brothers who didn’t work in the deli when he was growing up. However, after receiving his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from St. John’s University in Queens, he began working with his father and fell in love with the food business. He then opened Fratelli’s Market Place in Astoria, Queens, and expanded it to locations in Roslyn, Forest Hills, Manhattan and Stony Brook village.

“David brings a businessperson’s perspective to trust operations along with his good humor and enthusiasm for our preservation mission.”

– Robert Reuter

When he first moved to Setauket 30 years ago, he jumped on the opportunity to open a bagel store. He has owned Bagel Express in Setauket, along with his partner Eric Keller and brother Michael Prestia, ever since. Having sold Fratelli’s Market Place, his focus is running the Setauket location, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, and supplying Bagel Express in Smithtown and Sayville.

While running his business, he manages to contribute to the community and is on the board of the Three Village Community Trust, a not-for-profit land trust. Vice President Robert Reuter said Prestia has been instrumental in the business aspect of the organization.

“David brings a businessperson’s perspective to trust operations along with his good humor and enthusiasm for our preservation mission,” he said. “He shares that interest with his considerable network of friends and associates who know his dedication to our community and the result has been many new supporters.”

Having been a history major in college, Prestia said the rich history is one of his favorite things about the Three Village area, which inspired him to get involved in the Three Village Historical Society. He has donated food for the annual Candlelight House Tour for the past several years.

“Usually, if you ask, [Prestia] will donate, ” said Steve Healy, the president of the historical society. “People like Dave are not just in the community; they are the community. He is always willing to roll up his sleeves and help out.”

Prestia is also on the board of the Three Village Chamber of Commerce and involved with Seawolves United at Stony Brook University. He has sponsored Staller Center for the Arts receptions and the food concession at university basketball games. For the local business owner, getting involved was simply not a question.

“I’m very lucky,” Prestia said. “We’ve been successful with the business. It’s so important to give back to the community. There are so many things going on all the time. It’s a great place to raise a family, and the schools are wonderful. We’re so lucky to live here.”

 

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Rain may have postponed some fun Aug. 7, but the next day, more than 400 attendees at the Three Village Chamber of Commerce Community Family BBQ made up for it on the Aug. 8 rain date.

It was the chamber’s 19th barbecue held at West Meadow Beach where members and residents played games, had the chance to win raffle prizes donated by local businesses and enjoyed music as well as catering from David Prestia of Bagel Express. Children also had the chance to get their face painted. All proceeds from the raffle tickets sold at the barbecue went to Ronald McDonald House at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital.

Michael Ardolino, president emeritus, said the barbecue ended with a beautiful sunset that was created by a storm coming over the Sound as the sun was going down. Fortunately, the barbecue was over before another rain event hit the area.

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Members of Three Village Chamber of Commerce.

The Three Village Chamber of Commerce is working with local businesses to ensure owners and employees are up to date when it comes to a new state law.

In October of 2018, New York State passed a law that requires all businesses, including churches and nonprofits, even if there is only one employee, to have a written sexual harassment policy and post it in a highly visible area, as well as provide each employee with a copy of the policy. All employees must be trained once a year and new employees soon after their start date, according to Christine Malafi, a senior partner with Ronkonkoma-based law firm Campolo, Middleton and McCormick.

Recently, Malafi led a discussion at the chamber’s March meeting titled “What the Sexual Harassment Law Means for Business.” The attorney shared insight into the new laws with local business owners and how they impact workplace policies and culture.

The discussion kicked off a new service where the chamber will sponsor two sexual harassment training workshops for employees of member and nonmember companies led by Malafi. The workshop will discuss what sexual harassment is, what one is allowed and not allowed to do and what to look for if harassment is suspected.

Malafi said she has found that many businesses aren’t up to date when it comes to their sexual harassment policies.

“It’s very important because it’s the MeToo era, and if someone makes a complaint against you or an employee, if you can’t check the boxes — yes, complied with this, yes, complied with that — you may find yourself facing liability,” she said.

Andy Polan, the Three Village chamber president, said the goal is to make the mandated training more accessible and affordable for members. An alternative for business owners, he said, would be to work directly with an attorney or insurance carrier who specializes in the law or take an online course. He said he has heard such services could cost $1,500 or more per business or practice, which he said can be a big hit for a small business or nonprofit.

“We want to help our members, and it’s adding value to their membership,” Polan said.

Malafi said the new law now covers independent contractors and other contracted workers.

In the last few years, Malafi said she has seen an increase in sexual harassment cases.

“The number of cases filed with the EEOC [Equal Employment Opportunity Commission] and similar agencies have doubled in the past few years,” she said, adding she doesn’t think actual occurrences have doubled, but people are more likely to report offensive language or action.

Workshops are scheduled for May 10 at 9 a.m. at the Ward Melville Heritage Organization’s Educational & Cultural Center and May 21 at 6 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Express at Stony Brook. Rates for chamber members are $15 per employee and $25 per person for nonmembers.

Preregistration is required and can be made online at www.3vchamber.com or by check to Three Village Chamber, P.O. Box 6, East Setauket, NY 11733.