President’s Message – March 2021

Dear Merchants, Business Owners, and Fellow Members:

The expression “March comes in like a Lion and goes out like a Lamb” has been true to form this year, as we had enough snow and rain for the Winter – now, we all look forward to the Spring and the great feeling that sunshine and longer days can give us!

The Chamber has been busy during the last month. We had our February General Meeting via Zoom which we projected from Allstate: The Zabbia Insurance Agency office. I thank our First Vice President Robert Zabbia for hosting the meeting and facilitating the Zoom call. We had over 20 members on the call, and I appreciate all who participated and made our meeting interesting.

Our Executive Board recently met to interview prospective candidates for a Board Vacancy. I would like to welcome The Transfiguration Project owner, Tim Ryan, to our Board. Tim will be a great addition and we look forward to good things from him.

Our next General Meeting will be Thursday March 25th, once again via Zoom. We are planning to have the April General Meeting in-person at one of our local restaurants as a luncheon, as we always used to do. Like everybody, we are trying to get back to some normalcy for the Chamber.

My thanks go to Past President Jamie Bogenshutz, who has retired from our Board after many years of service. We wish her well in her retirement from YES Community Counseling Center, and we look forward to attending her retirement party in June.

Our recent Board Meeting netted some great fundraising ideas. We are looking at a Wine Tasting event to be chaired by J.P. Scarisbrick, as well as a Fall Holiday Fair to be chaired by Robin Hepworth, and finally a Trade Expo to be chaired by Robert Zabbia. These events will assist us in getting through the next few months with needed funding. Past President Anthony Ventiera also informed us that we may be able to have our Street Festival this year, and we look forward to good news with that as we get closer to our aimed timeframe of August.

We now have two published authors in the Chamber. Gary Slavin recently published his crime-thriller novel Four Pebbles on a Bench, and Isabelle Rapacciuolo illustrated the children’s book The Adventures of Granny and Lexi Loo. Both are currently available for all to purchase and enjoy, and the Chamber will also soon have these great books for sale at a luncheon meeting. Kudos to both Gary and Isabelle on their wonderful achievements.

The Nominating Committee will soon be meeting, and will put forth the new slate for 2021-2022 at the April General Meeting. If you are interested in applying for any Board seat that may be open or available, please contact Patty Orzano at We look forward to a great year with our new Board working all together as one!

Carol Leff and Karen Gawrych are also gearing up for our Scholarship Program. The Chamber will award the Peter Schmitt Memorial Scholarship Award, the Joseph Basile Memorial Scholarship Award, the Chamber Member’s Child / Grandchild Scholarship Award, and the Plainedge High School Scholarship Award. Please contact the office at (516) 541 – 1443 for details on how to apply. Winners will be selected by late Spring.

The Board Members that I am highlighting this month are Sal Polito and Tony Ventiera.

Sal Polito has been a Real Estate Broker in Massapequa for many years. As many of you know, Sal and I have worked together for the past 28 years in the industry. He is a retired Daily News union delegate, and has been on our Board for a long time working on behalf of the Chamber. Sal is always there to assist, and I value him being on the Board with all of his institutional knowledge.

Tony Ventiera is a Past President of the Chamber, and he served us well at a time when we needed a calming force for the Chamber Presidency. Tony has been in the Music Industry for a long time, and his bands have entertained us for many years in the Massapequas, especially at our Feasts and Festivals. He is a retired Realtor and TOBAY employee, and his wise counsel is good and valuable to have on the Chamber Board.

Please call me at (516) 633 – 1435 for any needs that you may have. That’s it for now…more to come in April. Happy Spring!!

Keith Wilson, President
Massapequa Chamber of Commerce