When Matilde Tysz, of Stewart Manor, opened her fitness center, the Max Challenge of Glen Cove, in September 2018, she wanted to immerse herself in the community. Tysz (pronounced tize) explained that it was the philosophy of the Max Challenge’s founder, Bryan Klein, that franchisees get involved in and give back to their communities.
Although she was new to the city, Tysz found strong support in the Glen Cove Chamber of Commerce. With its guidance, the Max Challenge of Glen Cove organized a number of fundraisers in the community, supporting local fixtures like the Downtown Sounds Summer Concert Series, the Tiegerman Schools and the Glen Cove Child Day Care Center. Tysz got so involved that she joined the chamber’s board in July.
As the organization celebrated its 99th anniversary last Saturday night, Tysz was among several honorees, presented with the chamber’s 2019 Leadership Award. It honors individuals who serve as role models in the community and set the standards of what a local business should be. “I was so happy to hear that we won because we’re new to town,” Tysz said, “and this means we’re having an impact that’s being noticed.”
The chamber also honored the Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Laffey International Realty, the Med Station, Rising Tide Natural Market and the Glen Cove Salt Cave. Chamber President Lisa Cohn explained that the businesses were nominated by chamber members and voted on by the board of directors.
The chamber’s longevity, Cohn said, is a testament to the importance of keeping businesses connected to the community. But it hasn’t always been so active. Chiropractor Maxine Mayreis said that when she joined the organization in 2000, it never asked anything more of her than to pay her monthly dues. That all changed, however, when fellow Glen Cove native Mary Stanco, a real estate agent, became a board member.
“When she came on the board, everything started picking up steam,” Mayreis said of Stanco. “She’s so immersed in this community, and got everyone involved in the chamber and in the city.”
Mayreis, who is now a board member, described Stanco, who served as president from 2010 to 2015, as a fearsome networker and promoter who acted as a matchmaker among businesses and local civic groups. Mayreis said that because Stanco knew so many people in the city, she helped get the chamber involved in nearly every community event. This year the chamber nominated her for the New York State Senate Empire Award, which recognizes local business leaders for their accomplishments. State Sen. Jim Gaughran presented Stanco with the award at the anniversary gala.
“The purpose of the award is to recognize and honor those who go above and beyond in our communities,” Gaughran said. “It’s for someone who becomes a community leader.”
Along with her work in the chamber, Stanco has served on the planning board for Glen Cove’s annual Senior Day, National Night Out, Golf Outing, Car Show and Christmas Party celebrations for years. She is also an active volunteer at the Youth Exchange Committee at St. Patrick’s Church, Deasy Elementary School, Glen Cove Cares, the senior center and the Regency of Glen Cove. Tysz recalled that Stanco was one of the first people who helped her get to know the city, telling her what she needed to do to make a difference.
“I’m always looking to network with new people,” Stanco said. “I’ve lived in the city my whole life, and I just love talking and connecting with people.”
Cohn said that it was the focus on connection that has helped the chamber last for so long. She explained that in the age of online shopping, local businesses can compete only if they establish links with their customers, which is easier to do when they’re part of an organization like the chamber. “It’s so easy to buy online,” Cohn said, “but people choose to shop locally because of the relationships they’ve built with that store.”
The chamber will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2020.