Massapequa Plan I
The Chamber of Commerce of the Massapequas, Inc.
Community Business Revitalization: More Than Just Our
Does the following sound familiar?
"Something has to be done to help our community attract
business back into all those empty stores." Well if it does,
and unfortunately for far too many communities on Long
Island it will, read on. The Chamber of Commerce of the
Massapequas have watched and waited for something to be done
about the seemingly ever increasing number of "empty stores"
that can be found throughout our community. After watching
and waiting for longer than we cared to, we have decided to
do something ourselves -- and therein lies this story.
The Massapequas have experienced an empty-store-front rate
that has increased 50% in recent years. Two years ago we had
over 40 empty stores. Today, we have over 60 empty stores
with no apparent reduction in the number of unoccupied
businesses in sight. Our merchants have identified the three
major causes of local business failures as high-priced
rents, expensive utilities and costly taxes. In addition,
the Chamber questions the level of support the local
residents provide our community's small businesses. Without
strong community support the utilization of our community's
store fronts by local small businesses will only continue to
For us a simple objective exists. We want our community to
provided local business with an environment that is
appealing, in order to increase the utilization of available
business space, and with the goal of 100% occupancy a
We have identified an approach that while not simple, is not
that difficult to understand. Through the interaction with
government, regulated authorities, local service providers
and civic organizations, we can identify possible business
cost reductions or incentives, and, can identify those
businesses that will either draw maximum local community
support or which will not be adversely affected by the lack
of same. The importance of this last point cannot be over
stated. If we can't change the local business environment,
then let's find those businesses that find the existing
We do not think our community is that much different from
many other Long Island Communities. The Massapequas include
20 separate business areas, varying in size from small store
fronts comprised of several businesses, to one of Long
Island's largest malls.
Why have we decided at this time to take action on our own.
Well, other business organizations claim to be taking
action, without any obvious results and without any cohesive
plan that includes positive participation by local
government, business and civic organizations. Simply put,
much is written with little seemingly being accomplished.
As already mentioned, there is agreement among existing
businesses that rents, utilities and taxes are all too high
in relation to the profits that can be enjoyed by a local
small business. There also seems to be agreement among our
community residents that they desire their Long Island main
street to remain as it has, for the last forty plus years.
Yet no concerted efforts have resulted in the reduction of
the aforementioned costs. And, our community residence do
not seem prone to support their local businesses at the
level necessary to allow these merchants to afford the high
cost of doing business on Long Island.
In addition to making local business affordable, and
identifying the type of business that will prosper locally
and help take our community successfully into the 21st
century, areas that need to be addressed include the
availability of local, state and federal revitalization
related funding; our community identity and its effect on
the types business to attract; crime prevention;
establishing a centralized business information clearing
house; potential business diversification; and, last but in
no way least, our community image.
So what have we done so far. We held our first Chamber
Economic Development Meeting in January of this year. This
meeting was attended by Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor Lewis
J. Yevoli, Deputy Town Supervisor Chuck Johnson,
representatives from LILCO, the Massapequa Joint Council
Civic Association (JCCA) President Gary Slavin, and our
Chamber officers and its board of directors. All attending
agreed that our ideas merited further action, with
Supervisor Yevoli suggesting we get together in March for a
breakfast meeting. At that time the development of an action
plan will be the main topic.
Also in January of this year, the Chamber was a guest at the
Nassau Council of Chambers of Commerce, (NCCC) weekly WGBB
evening radio program where we discussed our Community
Business Revitalization ideas.
Every year the Chamber hosts an Annual Massapequa Town Hall
Meeting, at which representatives of the local community,
the Town of Oyster Bay and Nassau County government, and,
various civic and service activities [e.g. local police
The Chamber continues to take an active roll in the civic
activities of the Massapequa's. This includes representation
on the Massapequa JCCA, and the dual membership with other
local organizations many Chamber members enjoy. Recently
these activities have resulted in the Chamber's position on
the Massapequa Flea Market Issue, and our joint efforts with
the Seaford Knights of Columbus in providing our community
with a Nativity Creche.
The Chamber regularly sends delegates to various Long Island
Association and NCCC committee, board and member meetings.
In addition, certain New York State Conference of Mayors
(NYCOM) and Nassau County Village Official Association
events are attended. The most recent event was the January
1995, NYCOM "Trends In Economic Development" Workshop, held
in Garden City.
Going forward and in the immediate future, the Chamber will
host the aforementioned March Economic Development Breakfast
to be attended by Supervisor Yevoli, among others. This
Breakfast is still in the planning stages as we are awaiting
a date from Supervisor Yevoli on which he is available.
The Chamber continues its dialog with the Long Island Power
Authority and its Chairman Richard Kessel, who has
previously spoken before the Chamber membership, concerning
the Rothschild analysis of the proposed LIPA acquisition of
LILCO. This included recent attendance at a NCCC President's
Breakfast at which Chairman Kessel spoke.
In summary, the Chamber has developed its Community Business
Revitalization Action List used by us as a basis for
discussion and as a way to quickly acquaint interested
parties with where we think we need to go from here. This
list includes three separate sections as follows:
Necessary Cost Reductions: rents,
utilities and taxes.
Potential Types of Business to
Attract: single owner, light manufacturing and service
And Related Concerns: available
local, state and federal revitalization related funding;
Community identity and its effect on the types of
business to attract; crime prevention; establishing a
centralized community business information clearing
house; potential business diversification; and our
Perhaps The Chamber of Commerce of The
Massapequas, in concert with our local government, can
achieve what larger groups have not...