President’s Message – July 2022

July 2022

Massapequa is a very special place that I have been a part of for over 25 years now.  I am honored to have become the President of the Chamber of Commerce of the Massapequas, and plan on continuing the great work of my many predecessors.  When I first opened my agency here in North Massapequa, the first thing I did was join the chamber. I made lifetime friendships with past President Tony Ventiera and our current 3rd Vice President Sal Polito at my first meeting. The immediate greeting from the two of them made me realize I made the right decision.

The Chamber is responsible for many things that small businesses may not realize. Many of the beautification projects, the welcome signs, the Toys for Tots drive and countless charitable organizations we support, and the scholarships for our high schools are just the tip of the iceberg.  There is mentorship and mutual assistance among members of the Chamber. We don’t see each other as competition- even when my biggest competitor joined, we became friends and valuable resources to each other.

The Chamber is made up of local businesses, just like yours. Some new, with great ideas, and with a firm grasp on technology and social media know how, and many seasoned business owners, who have been through many things, including gas shortages, hyperinflation, and the Covid shutdowns that put many of our friends out of business.

Many business owners ask me this question: “Why should I join? I’m too busy, I have a business to run.” I get it!  I didn’t attend every meeting over the past 25 years. There were many years that I didn’t make any. But I did get to a point where I put it on my calendar, made a commitment to get involved, and grew my business to a level that I did not think I could reach.

Our board is stacked with knowledge, and I want to congratulate each board member for stepping up and volunteering their time to help the community. Our 1st VP Robin Hepworth, of Robin Joy Photography, is a talented networker; our 2nd VP Linda Rowse, branch manager of First National Bank LI, is a wealth of knowledge; our 3rd VP Sal Polito, of Better Homes & Gardens Realty, is one of our experts in real estate, the chairman of our Veteran’s Committee, and a proud Veteran; our Recording Secretary Karen Gawrych, of Mary Kay Cosmetics, has a broad business background, and is an excellent organizer; and our Treasurer Janice Talento, head of Drug Free Long Island, is a financial whiz with many contacts in the local government.

Past President Keith Wilson, of Better Homes & Gardens Realty, will remain on the board with our other past Presidents: Bob Barrett, Nappa Realty; Patricia Orzano, P.R.O. Consultants; Gary Slavin, MassMutual; Denis Monette, Top Shelf Property Maintenance; and Tony Ventiera, Tony V. Productions.

Our board is rounded out with more great talent, including our newest member Maria Romer-Guzzetta, Lock & Key Therapy; Stephen Parmiter, The Parmiter Group at Morgan Stanley; Tim Ryan, The Transfiguration Project; Isabelle Rapacciuolo, The Tiny Artist Studio; Lucrezia Falacara, Apple Bank; Chris Merz, CenterPoint Church; and of course, Howard Ritzer, Long Island Media Group.

Each of our board members deserves their own bio for their hard work and dedication to our community, and I am proud to work with them to help our local businesses.  The economy we are experiencing will provide additional challenges, and during our next two years, our goal is made up of two things: To bring the community to our members through events and promotions, and to provide our local business owners with the knowledge to thrive during the most challenging of times.

Robert Zabbia, President
Massapequa Chamber of Commerce