“We wanted to change the dynamic,” Lentol said, who emphasized the importance of meeting the needs of neighborhood businesses.
Originally established in 1930, the organization was involved in the community until its activity tapered off in the 1980’s. Lentol said that through the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, Greenpoint Chamber members could participate in HealthWorks, a low-cost health insurance program for small businesses.
And in its early stages, the Brooklyn Chamber will represent the Greenpoint Chamber of Commerce through an independent non-profit organization throughout the borough.
“Brooklyn is a large borough and we can’t do it alone,” said Carlo Scissura, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. “It is important for the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce to have satellite organizations so that our reach can stretch to every part of this diverse borough. Greenpoint is thriving and an area growing with new businesses.”
The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce has not ruled out adding other satellite groups in the future.
The Greenpoint Chamber hosted their first mixer last Wednesday at the Red Star Bar with Lentol, Scissura and Jeff Mann, the organization’s executive director, to raise awareness about the group’s benefits and increase membership.
“We’re just getting the word out right now,” said Mann, who expressed his excitement to lead the group in its infancy. “Brooklyn is such a broad borough.”
As for the chamber’s disappearance in the 80’s, Mann admitted that “there’s always that fear,” but added that the group’s recent mixer to raise awareness and increase membership helped people to recognize the credibility of the organization.
Mann said approximately 70 people came out to the event, with 10 businesses signing up for membership. For the next eight to 12 months, Mann said his goal is to hopefully have 200 businesses in the organization.
As for now, Lentol said this would be the first of several events that the organization would be hosting to increase membership, which costs $300 annually.