Approaching a seminal anniversary of 75 years serving the Village, the Chamber’s history is colorful and enduring.
Even well before it incorporated, some businesses were already serving the community including McGrath’s which will be celebrating its 100th Anniversary.
Mrs. Morgan’s Flower Shop, owned by Chamber dynamo Bob Krause aka not Mr. Morgan, has been an active member dating back to records from 1943. Nick at Continental recently celebrated fifty years of beautifying Bronxville at his Pondfield Road location.
For a very modest yearly dues of $225 and only $125 for non-profits, the Chamber is remarkably creative in enlivening the Village streets and promoting our loyal merchants. Not limited to just merchants, current membership in the Chamber includes service industries, physicians, restaurants, and not for profits and local community organizations that are active community boosters. As example, both colleges – Concordia and Sarah Lawrence – are supportive and engaged partners with the Chamber.
As to ideas and staffing, any event downtown is entirely the brainchild of Chamber members and staffed entirely with sweat equity.
I apologize in advance for not recognizing by name legions of volunteers who have shaped the Chamber since its inception.
The Bronxville Farmers Market, used as a template throughout the County was organized by then Executive Director of the Chamber, Mary Liz Mulligan, in 2001. It has been successful from the minute it opened.
Bob Krause of Mrs. Morgan’s was the brainchild of our Halloween festival on the West Side and he continues as an active Board Member. The Halloween Parade, though kindly sponsored by the Bronxville School’s Youth Council, our merchants are willing partners as they invite the youngsters to trick or treat at all their businesses on the way home.
The highly success – with local band, Plan B a top drawer – concerts in the street were started by Village resident and former Chamber Director, Michele Mac Millian, again still a Chamber Board Member. Bob Krause also teamed with Wayne Chesler of Park123 Restaurant to launch the Village Car Show.
Most recently, John Lugano of Pete’s Park Place collaborated with Chamber for a first ever and highly Oktoberfest.
Other yearly events, again done on a successful financial and manpower shoestring, include Spring and Fall Sidewalk Sales, Small Business Saturday, the Merchants’ Ugly Sweater Contest and of course the Tree and Menorah lighting .
Without the generosity of corporate sponsors including most notably Columbia Presbyterian/Lawrence Hospital, many events would be cost prohibitive to undertake.
Pepe Auto Group is also a great friend to the Chamber. Often very quietly, our landlords, building owners and even individual merchants give generously to allow events to proceed.
The Chamber’s list of former directors reads like a who’s who of involvement and energy in the Village. The first Executive Director was Villager Robert Rabsey’s mom.
Peggy Theiss, Mary Liz Mulligan, Michele Mac Millian, Peggy Conway, Ruth Wood, Susan Miele and Barbara Amar, now owner of the Village mainstay Silver Spoon, followed so ably, each with their own distinct style.
Currently, at the helm is Nicole Tuck, a Sagamore Road resident and the mom of a daughter in each of Bronxville’s three schools.
If you would like to lend a hand and see even more events in the Village, the Chamber would be most appreciative of any support. Their office location is 51 Pondfield Road, Suite 6. You can now follow the Chamber on Instagram @bronxvillechamber to sign up for current Bronxville deals, steals and meals!
In closing, in the realm of, “the more things change, the more they remain the same”, former Executive Director Mary Liz Mulligan relayed a wonderful memory. On her first day on the job and a bit at sea, she though, “I’ll educate myself by reading the files.” Literally, what she first happened upon was an old Review Press article from the early 1950’s lamenting the lack of parking and resulting headaches in the Village!
# # #
Mary C. Marvin is the mayor of the Village of Bronxville, New York. Share your thoughts by directing email to firstname.lastname@example.org