Want to really get involved with the community? That’s easy — join your local chamber of commerce.
“Chambers,” said Fran Camarano Jr. “We get involved in a nonprofit organization, support our communities and businesses. Why do we do this? Well, we’re part of the community, right?’
Camarano is quite active in the East Meadow Chamber of Commerce. But at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury on Oct. 28, Camarano was filling a different role — president of the Nassau Council of Chambers of Commerce. The group — which represents more than 40 chambers from across the county — gathered once again to honor its businesspersons of the year.
Those winners included Manny Alvarez, president of Kolstein’s in Baldwin, who continues to open the world of stringed instruments to so many musicians. And Sharon Davis-Edwards, founder and chief executive of S.J. Edwards Inc., in Merrick, who has provided financial and employee benefits services to businesses for more than 30 years. And Iyna Bort Caruso, who leads Sweet Lime Ink Content Studio, bringing her Emmy Award-winning writing and content creation work to Rockville Centre and beyond.
But it’s more than simply running a business, Camarano said. True success comes with being active in the community. Like Nicole Eliopoulos. She fulfilled her dream to run her own State Farm Insurance Agency in Valley Stream, yet she still finds time to not only raise four children with her husband, but stay active in their lives — from their school PTAs, to even coaching some of their sport teams.
“The idea of grassroots efforts from the ground up being the best way to support communities — and businesses supporting their communities — is the way to go,” Camarano said. “But the truth is, the commitment we make is not just to the chamber. What you want to do to support the businesses is to support each other.”
Other winners include Lauren Maslov, the third-generation owner of Pietro’s restaurant in East Meadow. Dale Davids, a home solar dealer — and Afghanistan veteran — in Elmont. Patricia McColley, a program manager for the community and population health team at Northwell Health out of Franklin Square. And Jorge Martinez, vice president of the J&A Group — which provides commercial maintenance out of Freeport.
Then there’s Luis Lopez, an immigrant from El Salvador who now runs Morgan Delicatessen in Glen Cove with his wife. Steve Adler, who came out of retirement to take on marketing and sales for Servpro of Garden City and Hempstead. And Christine Sweeney, branch manager and director for Webster Bank Levittown Banking Center.
Leah Tozer might be known for her appearances on HGTV’s “Island Life,” but she remains one of Long Beach’s top real estate practitioners. Mike Govinda has helped companies grow their IT and health care services through his company, Arista Careers, while David Silva spends his day as a financial advisor for Janney, but then goes home and does everything from coach youth basketball, to helping shape young minds.
Denise Sclafani Daniels continues her family’s successful jewelry business in Lynbrook, while Dr. Evelyn Heredia has changed lives as the owner of Phoenix Family Chiropractic in Malverne. Victoria Van De Ven runs her own State Farm Insurance Agency in Seaford, while Margo Cargill focuses on corporate and government strategy through her Uniondale-based Titanium Linx Consulting, and Rosemarie DeMaio makes Wantagh smile as chief custom cookie designer at Mama’s Custom Cookies.
And businesses were winners as well — like Stellina Ristorante, run by renowned chef Fabrizio Facchini and the Milana family in Oyster Bay.
“Nassau County is back, and we’re open for business,” County Executive Bruce Blakeman told the crowd at Crest Hollow. “Nassau County is committed to partnering with each and every one of the chambers so that every community can thrive, and every downtown business district can do well with no community left behind.”
To learn more about the Nassau Council of Chambers of Commerce, visit NCChambers.org.