The Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce named a new president last week whose main focus is on recruiting new members as a means to boost local business.
Rebecca Barker, a financial advisor with MetLife Financial, was elected to lead the Chamber last week at a time when the association has 138 members, the highest it’s ever been. She succeeded Ira Greenberg, a local attorney.
Barker said that her goal was to increase membership and to let residents know that they too can join. “Individual members (residents) add new vibrant ideas,” Barker said.
Individuals are able to join the chamber for $25 per year and be listed on the Chamber website. She said that they, like the business owners (who pay $125 yearly), would be able to tap into the association’s resources. Individual members may be active participants in all the business meetings, such as when experts speak or when networking events occur.
To join, individuals/businesses should go the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce website and sign up.
Barker said that the chamber, a volunteer association which is primarily funded by membership dues and fundraisers, has several plans in the pipeline. They include:
- Historical tours of the Sunnyside and Woodside district
- Hosting a street fair on Skillman Avenue on Sept. 23
- Holding a restaurant/food sample night on Sept.13
- Sponsor local art events
- Erecting holiday lights on Skillman Avenue
The group is also trying to reach out to commercial landlords to discuss the toll that high rents are having on the local businesses.
However, she said it is difficult to reach many of the building owners, since they often have large real estate holdings that are left in the hands of management companies.
In the short term, however, Barker said, “the most helpful and immediate action a local resident can take is to go to http://www.zagat.com/vote and vote for their favorite local restaurants before May 7.”